The Strathcona Map Project: Interview with Artbedo

When Shira from The Flourist reached out to us with the idea of creating an illustrated guide of the 800 block of East Hastings, we were excited to learn more.

Shira had just the artist to lead the map project — Mikayla of Artbedo. Mikayla has combined her passion for Vancouver with her self-taught illustration talent to create a portfolio of work that is vibrant, often nostalgic, and always infused with a love of the city.

Mikayla worked on the 800 block of East Hastings project in 2022 and the guide is now on display in the participating businesses.

We sat down with Mikayla to learn more about her work and how this biomedical engineering student started her art business.

LTP: Tell us a bit about Artbedo and how it became what it is today.
“Growing up, I’ve always been an artistic person. However, once I started university, I didn’t have much time for art. In May 2020, I graduated with my undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering and began my Masters of Engineering in Biomedical Engineering in the fall. At the same time, the world was in the midst of a global pandemic — which meant, for me, all classes were online. I was in a position of privilege to have some additional time on my hands, which led me to create art again.

In October 2020, I drew a local Vancouver business called “Federal Store” and to my surprise, they re-posted it on their account. I received such kind and positive feedback on this illustration, I decided to draw more of my favourite local spots around the city such as Livia on Commercial Dr. and Chinatown BBQ. From here, my Instagram following started to grow and it’s all been a whirlwind since then!”

LTP: What is one of your favourite illustrations you have worked on?
“It is so hard to choose a favourite! Other than the Strathcona map, I have a lot of fun working with local Vancouver businesses (such as Anh and Chi and 49th Parallel) to create merchandise artwork for them.”

LTP: Where do you get your inspiration for projects?
“I draw most of my inspiration from everyday life and love to create work that evokes nostalgia.”

LTP: How did this Strathcona map project start?
“One of the lovely co-owners of Flourist reached out to me via email on behalf of a group of businesses on the 800 block of East Hastings. They found my business on Instagram when I drew their Commercial St location, so it was an incredible full-circle moment for me! From there, with help from Low Tide Properties, we were able to create the illustrated neighbourhood guide.”

LTP: What do you love most about the Strathcona project and this neighbourhood in particular?
“Prior to this project, I did not know much about this area of Strathcona. I came to the neighbourhood to take reference photos of the businesses included in the guide. Although I grew up in the city, I love that I was able to explore this part of Vancouver, visit new places, and support local. I hope that the illustration will encourage others to do the same!”

LTP: Where can people find your art for purchase or connect with you?
“People can find my art for purchase at and connect with me on Instagram @artbedo.”