An underwire affair

Cast-off bras used to create original art and raise funds in cancer fight

A Fort Langley artist is busting out the big guns in an effort to help find a cure for breast cancer.

Brent Ray Fraser, a performance artist, who makes painting a canvas an event in its own right, has collected 500 bras — many from women he’s never even met — and will use them as part of a Sept. 5 show/performance in downtown Vancouver.

After his own mother twice battled and conquered breast cancer, Fraser (who himself was diagnosed eight years ago with kidney disease) decided to use his “one shot at life” to try to make a difference.

“Needless to say, when my mom was diagnosed it was a tough battle,” said Fraser.

“It gave me an insight into what many women go through so I thought I’d do what I could to help. I’ve donated many works of art to the Breast Cancer Foundation over the past three years.

“This project is a tribute to my mom’s battle.”

Fraser will construct a massive painting made out of donated bras. Each bra will be adhered to two seven foot by seven foot custom wood panels.

They will all be painted white to create a blank surface. During the event he will paint live directly on top of the bras. Both works will represent a woman’s battle. Before and after a mastectomy.

It’s one thing to see a collection of finished paintings hanging in a gallery; but it’s quite another when the creation of those paintings is the show.

A video of Fraser posted on YouTube, shows the often shirtless artist whipping or wiping the paint onto large canvases with hands or a towel. There are scenes where the artist, dressed head to toe in white, is only slightly less paint-covered than his canvas.

Originally, Fraser had planned to paint the bra canvas in October to commemorate breast cancer month, but he was asked to partake in this event (create+commemorate) on Sept. 5.

Working with a limited time frame, he “frantically began to ask every woman I know for bras. Posting Facebook events, tweeting three times a day, phone calls, emails etc. I even started asking local businesses and people I don’t know. It’s a lot of work for a man to get women to donate their bras.

“I slowly reached my goal of 500, one bra at a time.”

The event on Sept. 5 will take place at 437 West Hastings, beside Beat Street Records. Doors open at 7 p.m., live painting will begin at 9 p.m.