Retro Art: Laura Wallace

Published July 04, 2013

8610618THERE’S a saying that one person’s junk is another person’s treasure.

This couldn’t be more true than in the case of Laura Wallace, a North Shore resident who has found a way to transform recycled hollow core doors into masterful pieces of art that evoke fond memories among her followers. Wallace has always had a fascination with archival fonts and the vintage type.

Recently she has found a way to use screen painting, a process whereby ink is pushed through fabric, to create a series of paintings recalling the signs that once graced Vancouver landmarks such as The Cecil, The Ridge Theatre and The Aristocratic.

Armed with a background in commercial illustration, Wallace began exploring original work a few years ago. She was fascinated with the wood veneer surfaces of various doors that were typically discarded in renovation and demolition projects. These doors became the palette in which she was able to explore old typefaces and dig deeper into the stories of landmarks that are an important part of Vancouver’s rich past.

“I’ve always been fascinated and obsessed with geometry and what’s on trend at the moment,” remarked Wallace. “One of my favourite passions is to explore modernist themes and attempt to try new things,” she added.

The most recent series celebrates vintage typography and pays homage to the vanishing Vancouver signage. Much of her inspiration came from the Museum of Vancouver website which she highly recommends for all to visit (

Wallace also complements her hollow core doors with smaller “skinny panels” that she is able to convert into funky, retro signage pieces.

One of her favourite series is the chalkboards. Adding chalkboard paint brings a hit of black and an invitation to the homeowner to interact with the art on their walls. In some ways her art pieces are more than art, they are functional re-purposed pieces to one’s kitchen or living room.

Her retail space, Department of W.O’.W., an acronym for her partners’ surnames, Wallace, O’Gorman and Welch, is located in Chinatown and represents the respective departments of art, jewelry and clothing design. The paintings range in price from $400 to $800, are available in sizes 75 cm by 200 cm for the large doors, to 30 cm by 39 cm for the smaller, skinny panel bi-folds.

If this is something you may be interested in contact Laura at