I’ve been digging through older photos of wall art, looking for something a bit cheery to blow away the winter blues. My mom often reads through Bitter Grounds, offering ideas and advice. Around Christmas she looked over her glasses at me (never a good thing) and told me to lighten up the content. I took that to mean my passion of construction sites was a bit too much. Not sure if the photo below will pass muster, but I love it so, sorry mom.
I forgot about a short trip I took to Budd Sugarman Park last summer. It’s a wee slice of green, squished between the Rosedale subway station, Aylmer Ave and Yonge. There really isn’t much to see down there, but Sugarman is a nice little spot to sit and relax. The park hosts an amazing piece Toronto wall art, or in this case, utility cover art.
On the south side of Aylmer is a utility box that showcases a stunning piece of art.
The colours are so vivid, the photo doesn’t do it justice. I’m not sure who the artist is, which is a shame. I’d like to see more.
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I wandered back down to Boxcar Social for an espresso fix and ended up sipping a Left Field Brewery Oatmeal Brown Ale. No idea why, but it seems to fit the lazy, warm Sunday. So here I sit, with a stack of photos to rifle through, a cold ale and my pen & notebook.
While sifting through the mass of shots I took Friday, I acquired a greater appreciation of Toronto’s street artistry. Queen St’s Graffiti Alley gets a lot of attention (and rightfully so), but many are not aware that Toronto is hopping with smaller urban canvases. One of my favourite areas to crawl around is south of Bloor and Bathurst. Aley ways snake through the area, filled with jaw dropping artwork & occasional witty graffiti tirades.
Friday’s walk (Catpaw finds her (photographic) groove) took me through a couple favourite hotspots. On Lennox St, beside the Randolph Centre for Arts, is a long lane worth checking. Some of the art is nothing more than mediocre scrawls, a few are pure whimsy or riotous explosions of colour and a few display an applaudable cynicism.
I keep returning to the old Honest Ed’s site to see what progress is being made. For those not familiar with Toronto icons, Honest Ed’s was the big, gaudy block long discount department store that sat on the south west corner of Bloor and Bathurst for … well for ever, it seemed. The store closed down a few years back and now the land is being redeveloped. When the big old warehouse style building was torn down, some stunning old wall adverts were revealed for the first time in decades. I posted this photo the wall on Instagram months ago:
I remember standing on the corner thinking grab the shot now, it won’t be there much longer. It’s an amazing combination of old commercial art & modern graffiti. It’s gone now – demolished with the rest of the building. There was something about that particular wall that captured my attention. The mix of structured commercial adverts with colours still sharp after so much time + the graffiti that thumbs it’s nose at the lines below. Ah, I loved that view and now it’s rubble.
Strolling along the alleyways of Toronto is always entertaining, Take the Great Canadian Flame Wars in the next photo:
There seems to be a slight disagreement over the philosophy. It cracks me up. No idea why, it just does.
The interesting thing about street art is, it’s never static.
Time flakes off one layer and someone fills the gap. It’s never static.
These 2 seem to be having issues:
Maybe some counselling might help R & S get over whatever issues they’re experiencing. A bit of anger management therapy? Let’s look down the lane for a consultant, ok?
Umm .. no. Just .. no. Dear god … no. Some graffiti is mundane, but once in awhile I stop for a bit and wonder what was the thinking behind a particular patch. This guy defines “I have issues”.
There is so much to see on this one lane, that I find different things to focus on each trip. Next post will look at some of the murals scattered along the walls and doors. (I’ve already written the article so you won’t have to wait so long this time.)
Oh .. and that ale from Left Field Brewery here in Toronto? Couldn’t ask for a more divine way to while away an afternoon than sipping it while writing.
Beautiful day to look at wall art & graffiti in Toronto. Finally, a few days of sustained warmth and sunshine. I’ve been lurking down around Queen and McCaul in the downtown area. Wonderful place to sit and enjoy the sideshow called humanity. Canadians can’t make up their minds about what to wear. But here’s a tip – if it’s warm enough to put on shorts, then leave the mukluks and parkas at home.
I was over at Above Ground Art Supplies for their Big Tent sale fondling the art supplies. It’s always fun. And yes, I do drool over pencils and paper stock. Didn’t pick anything up this time, seemed like an awful lot of effort would be needed to decide what to buy. Ended up wandering along the street taking random photos of random stuff. Just finished looking at them and well, let’s just say, it’s a good thing I don’t have to pay to develop pictures. I think for every 100 photos I take, about 3 are worth keeping.
A long read
Anyway, I like McCaul – it’s a bit grotty at times, but Above Ground is there. So is OCAD and the AGO on the corner. Just down the road is a quick step to good cafes on Queen. There is some fun wall art along McCaul, and some great graffiti. Like Moter at the top of the page. Found it pasted on a door frame. No idea what it’s about, but it looked poster-worthy to me.
The Apathy Issue
If you go down, you can linger along the Brinks Building (60 McCaul St.) and read the Apathy Issue magazine. Bit of a mad genius effect along the wall. Don’t forget to watch people as they walk along the wall. Some stop to look; others avert their eyes and rush along as if they don’t want to be caught looking at the wall. When you finish, slide down to Queen St for a crepe and sit and have a latte in the sun. Makes up a little for the crappy winter we had.