Jamie Law talks graffiti with BT

Jamie Law, owner of MINBID Art Gallery and local graffiti artist, stops by to chat with Breakfast Television (BT) about his gallery and the strides that have been made in removing the stigma attached to graffiti and street art in general.


Winning the Graffiti Fight

MINBID Co-Founder, Jamie Law, Talks to Metro News about Graffiti in YEG


City officials say the amount of graffiti is down in Edmonton, but one former street artist says efforts to wipe it out are futile.

“The war on graffiti will never be won,” said Jamie Law, who’s now a tattoo artist. “As long as human beings have been able to mark the walls that surround them or their bodies, they have, since the beginning of time and it will never end.”

The city’s Capital City Clean Up group’s 2015 audit recorded 977 ‘incidents’ of graffiti, down from 1,071 in 2014 and down 50 per cent since 2010.

But Law said he expects those numbers to go up next year due to the discontinuation of two free graffiti walls.

The city installed the walls in 2014 as part of the Open Source Street Art Pilot Project, but officials argued they were expensive to maintain and took them down at the end of March, saying they did not decrease graffiti in the surrounding areas as intended.

“It’s a place for people to do it and a place for the youth to learn in a safe environment under mentorship programs. I don’t know why a city wouldn’t embrace that,” Law said.

“Especially a city like Edmonton that can get down in the dumps about being pretty square and beige and dirty half the year, and frozen half the year. Come on man, let us be colourful.”

More than half the city’s graffiti was found in the neighbourhoods of Strathcona,downtown and McCauley – the latter of which actually saw a 159 per cent increase.

The audit blames 10 graffiti artists, known only by their aliases, for 20 per cent of all graffiti.

Capital City Clean Up manager Don Belanger said numbers are down thanks in part to better reporting by property owners and citizens, as well as city programs reaching out to young people in schools and community groups with anti-graffiti messaging.



81: Percentage of graffiti created on private property, versus 17 per cent on city assets and 2 per cent on government assets

93.3: Percentage of all graffiti found in the audit that was text only, with no picture

The audit observed 418 different taggers, compared to 400 in 2014


Da es (accounted for 4.9% of all tags in 2015)
Rush (3.6%)
Case (2.8%)
Sem (1.9%)
Cake (1.6%)


The Art of Admission

MINBID Co-Founder Jamie Law talks to Metro news on how he loves the ETS and is collecting ETS tickets to create an art piece that will be donated to the Donate a Ride Program.


Every day that artist Jamie Law rides the LRT from Central Station to NAIT to his job at a tattoo studio he accumulates used bus tickets.

Now, he’s using the tickets to create a six-foot by two-foot collage that he’ll auction off and donate proceeds to the ETS ‘Donate a Ride’ program, which gives transit tickets to low-income Edmontonians.

“We had a really mild winter but still, one thing that really bugs me is when you see homeless people being tossed out of the station on the coldest day [because they didn’t have a ticket],” he said.

“It’s the least I could do.”

Law, who has previously made headlines for his graffiti work, said the piece is also a tribute to a transit system that he relies on every day — but also one that has taken a lot of heat lately over construction delays.

“When people say, ‘Ah, that train,’ and complain because it interrupts traffic, I don’t have much to complain about because I’m on that train,” he said. “I’m waving to people at the intersection, like, ‘Sorry guys.’”

He’s not totally sure what the final piece will look like, but said he’s going for a raw but modern look. As a medium however, he said bus tickets leave a little something to be desired.

“As you’re applying them, it’s a bit tricky, you can smear them,” he said, noting that each one is stamped with a date and time.

“But when you see all the colours, the blues and the teals, it resonates. It’s Edmonton transit — those are our game colours.”

The finished piece will eventually be displayed and auctioned off at MINBID One, Law’s new art space in the Mercer Building downtown, which officially launches March 12. The starting bid will be about $1,600, to reflect the actual retail cost of the 500 or so tickets he’ll need.

Law says anyone who’d like to donate used tickets to be added to the piece can drop them off at the art gallery which is usually open between noon and 7.

We drove 12,000km & got blown away!


Challenges are situations I engage happily. The storms of life that roll in and out I see as a chance to step up, get involved and succeed. And nothing feels better than true, deserving success.

2 nights ago 6 friends and myself hosted an underground art auction in Vancouver Canada. While being the first auction held in Vancouver, it was the 13th held in western Canada. A storm itself, MINBID has thundered in and stuck ground in three west coast and prairie cities. After hosting 10 auction events in Edmonton Alberta my friends and I set our sights on Calgary Alberta then Vancouver British Columbia. As challenges go MINBID has created many but with a big smile I can say they have all been a success. This of course depends on your definition of success. Did they all profit? No. Were they all well attended? Negative. Storms are unpredictable, that’s half the fun.

In 1996 a movie titles Twister was released. It tells the tale of a group of storm chasers riding the adrenalin rush of risking their lives in the effort to help save the lives of others. Weathering more than wind, water and debris the characters work together to protect each other and their dream project. The unpredictability of a storm is what makes them so dangerous, that and its strength.

It’s raining and rather windy on sat mourning as we set out to the venue. Set up, a few pick ups and hanging over 30 pieces of art at the 2nd floor, multi use, studio space just off Pender and Main in Vancouver’s china town is standard stuff for the MINBID crew. The rain out side is classic Van-Shitty except this year when it is a welcomed sight as BC has had its driest year on record since the mid-nineties. But it’s not the rain I am afraid of. It’s the wind warnings and as we leave the venue to run some errands signs of trouble are all around.

Like a scene out of the movie Big Trouble in Little China the piss scented alley is alive with debris. Cars honk as pedestrians dash to avoid them. Power lines at the end of the alley pop and hiss. The loud cracks, wires sparking against flag banners blown free by 80 km/hour winds. More signs of trouble for our artistic plans and ultimately for 500,000 BC residents. At the liquor store it’s a similar story. The power is out and the turning away customers. Talks of closing early can be heard from the loading dock. We pull up to warnings that the situation might not bode well for our libacious endeavors. But we work with pros and every thing has been pre-arranged. We load up our product with grins on our faces, as we will be the last, possibly only transaction this store does today. Luck continues for us as the power problems never reaches the venue and the lights only flicker once or twice. I don’t think any one even noticed. Cognac old fashioned’s, a standard cocktail at a MINBID Art auction, and the art party atmosphere have our attendees complete attention. But… a large chunk of Vancouver residents are without power, helping city workers by clearing storm drains, or getting hit by the same falling, car destroying, tree branches they are trying to warn their neighbors about. Our web site paints a similar picture. Traffic is crazy and hits to the site are equivalent to the number of fallen tree branches. An art storm is brewing but can it survive the Vancouver storm?

Team confidence is high as 8pm hits and the doors open. 3 team members and a bartender, the smallest work force for a show yet, stand ready for the 95+ guests pre-registered the first Vancouver MINBID Art Auction. Attendees start arriving and so do the stories of chaos, carnage and flooded streets. With 2 of the artists still stuck in the storm the few sections of white wall leave the crowd and team wanting. Wanting but understanding. Understanding that when you drive 12,000kms by car to the host the inaugural event for a budding art company in the ,midst of what was aptly titled “the great Vancouver storm of 2015” there might be a few empty promises. We promised a live DJ, he couldn’t make it. Our bar stock was lower than desired, Reps had bigger issues like insurance claims to attend to. And for the first time in MINBID history we had less art than the walls could handle. This definition of success, does it have a clause for once in a century storms? I sure hope so.

The strength of a storm can only be trumped by the strength of those who endure it. Over 60 people ventured out into the chaos that and returned better for it. For like me as a young boy watching Twister. They were watching art entrepreneurs ride the adrenaline rush of risking their reputations in the effort to save others from boring art and big box store replicated prints. The reward for their bravery will be our own. MINBID will be back to Vancouver in 2016 with more art, music and hype! But… next time in the spring… ya… that will be NICE.

ART PUNK Doc. Trailer

Street Art Doc. Featuring DAFTPUNK.