Artist's "We Don't Back the Juice Man" campaign launched today

Post by Daniel Fontaine in


Local artists are sending a message to Mayor Robertson through a new campaign

About a week ago a small group of artists launched a Vision Vancouver funded campaign called "We Back the Juiceman". It was meant to show voters that Mayor Gregor and his Vision team had the backing of Vancouver's artistic community. Well...not so fast.

We've now received a news release from another group of artists who have just launched "We Don't Back the Juice Man". What follows is a copy of the news release they sent out to the media:


Artists Do Not Support Gregor Robertson, Launch ‘We Don’t Back the Juice Man’

Not all artists support Gregor Robertson for Mayor and Vision for city council.

Recently, a campaign website funded by Vision Vancouver was launched, designed to generate support for Vision amongst the arts community. The We-Back-the-Juiceman campaign has no broad basis of support in Vancouver’s arts community. Although some artists might support Gregor Robertson and Vision Vancouver, many more do not.

Over the past three years, rents in Vancouver have skyrocketed and affordable spaces have continued to disappear, making it increasingly difficult to produce art in the city. At present, cultural spaces and artists are forced to rent from slumlords at unaffordable rates in exchange for substandard safety and maintenance standards. Rather than creating affordable studios, let alone much-needed subsidized rental, the city would rather bombard artist-run spaces with “Cease and Desist” letters at the behest of new businesses catering to a wealthy condo clientele.

Let’s make this clear: artists are not the ones boarding up buildings. Every day artists are being evicted from their homes and studios without the slightest support from city hall.

In particular, cultural spaces in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside are disappearing at an alarming rate. The phenomenon is city-wide, but in particular, Vision has used new policies to encourage the aggressive redevelopment of the Downtown Eastside, where so many artists have their studios. By encouraging developers to move eastward, the working poor are being pushed out. By forcing artists to bend to the needs of real-estate speculation, new alliances are being created between artists, poor and working-poor Vancouverites who are undergoing the same process of gentrification, displacement and resortification.

We have launched an independent, non-funded website to highlight how the interests of the 1% are being represented by the two developer parties: NPA and Vision Vancouver. counters the art-washing that Vision Vancouver is using to cover up their three-year track record.


Something tells me this is not the last tit-for-tat online campaign we're going to see over the coming weeks. I suspect the major parties and advocacy groups in Vancouver are going to pull out the stops trying to get their message out to voters through social media.

As for whether silly campaigns like "We Back the Juiceman" will sway thousands of voters - well,  I'm not convinced.

- Post by Daniel. You can follow us on on Twitter @CityCaucus or you can "like" us on Facebook at


The Thought Of The Night

"Glissando Remmy does not back the Juiceman® either... since 2008"

Aren't they always good for a laugh?
Hiring artists to carry on a pro-campaign in their favor. Typical, Tides Canada/ Renewal 'Padners' type of paid campaign, hiding the truth and shouting the lies.
Good thing that someone in the arts community, called their BS bluff.
Three years of Vision hiding their Vancouver Art trash under the carpet, raised the rug to eye level height.
This is a girl called... Karma.

Young juiceman stop trappin' like a fool...
... ok!

We live in Vancouver and this keeps us busy.

"Although some artists might support Gregor Robertson and Vision Vancouver, many more do not." I wish people would stop making claims they cannot support. There is no generally accepted definition of an artist and no way to know if artists (whoever they may be) back one group or another. The same goes for cyclists, developers, social workers, ... This is just dumb.

But I agree that high housing costs and lack of studio space are real issuse, and a vibrant diverse arts community is an essential part of a knowledge economy. Vancouver is at risk of losing its edge here. The best comment I have read on this is Timothy Taylor's article Chaos and Planning in the Fall 2011 issue of Vancouver Review. Worth searching out.

Busy and lazy people would like you to provide a link :-)

Robertson bribes Granville Island's Institutional artists in exchange for support. Yah, he uses our money for a private benefit. Breach of Trust?

"I just wanna be world class"

This made me LOL :)

Interesting that the Webackthejuiceman website features the names and faces of many real Vancouver artists and art spaces, whereas the weDONTbackthejuiceman website is completely anonymous...

Try as hard as I might, I couldn't find a single artist featured anywhere on the site.

Remind me again which website is supposed to be the product of shady backroom support?

Artists? What artists? features the names, faces, and artworks of real Vancouver artists willing to publicly voice their political preferences - appears to be completely anonymous.

Tell me again which of these websites is the product of shady backroom support? The whole thing smacks of Kitties for Christie type dirty tricks to me.

Simon Little - you do realize that Vision has paid for that website, don't you?

Simon, you ask 'what artists?'

Take another look at the website.

The artists featured on the wedontbackthejuiceman.tumblr are making work about Gregor and what he's done to artist-run centres. If you take a closer look, they haven't made these pieces in the last couple of days but during the last couple of years.

Have you even looked at the website?

I think you've also missed the point.

The wedontbackthejuiceman.tumblr goes to lengths to show how artist-run spaces are disappearing in this city. Artists are not politically organized and that is to a detriment to their practice.

Vision Vancouver is organized, that's for sure, and they'll pay whoever to "sing +dance" for their cause.

I read the Timothy Taylor piece Chaos and Planning in print. Here is a link to the Vancouver Review and to Timothy Taylor's website which may work.

Filtering out the political chatter, the basic question is "What can and should the city do to help artists live and work in Vancouver?" This matters to me as I believe that cities with a vibrant and critical art community are more interesting to live in, attract other creative people, and are a better place to build companies. And artists play an important role in helping us question are assumptions about what is real, what could be real, and why it might matter. I am glad to have both of these sites up. But let's remember, no one can or should pretend they can speak for all or most artists.

OK, I meant "question our assumptions about the world" as people like to point out, I am functionally dyslexic. And generally enjoy being so.

Art is subjective, VV is not so.

Aha, finally the correct link to Timothy Taylor's article. Lots of good stuff on this blog.

Check out!

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