Toronto’s Endless Street Art

There are all sorts of reasons to visit Toronto — the food, the walkable neighborhoods, the museums — but one of the most remarkable is the street art.

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I know nothing about any of this — I don’t know where tagging stops and public art begins — I just know that I find it beautiful. And it’s everywhere you look in Toronto, down alleys and above storefronts, in underpasses and right out in public view. There’s a lot of traditional tagging on the sides of buildings …

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… but people have brought cans of spray paint to every possible nook and cranny, from fence boards …

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… to siding shingles …

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… to garage doors …

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… to utility boxes …

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… to fence covers …

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… to entire housefronts:

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We got to see several different street artists in action, both near City Hall …

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… and in a collaborative project at Harbourfront Centre:

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All of my very limited knowledge about street art in the city comes from a brief visit that we paid to an art fair booth run by StreetARToronto.

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This city project aims to reduce “graffiti-based vandalism” by sponsoring “community-engaged street art.” They work with artists to develop large-scale pieces, but first they have the artists prove their abilities by creating miniature murals on smaller things like utility boxes:

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I love that there’s a practice space …

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… and that they artists use them in such different ways:fullsizeoutput_49d8

StreetARToronto’s website has a great interactive map for finding a variety of the pieces they’ve sponsored; you can also learn more about their artists. I discovered that I’d come across pieces by several of their painters, including MEDIAH …

fullsizeoutput_486b.jpeg… Nick Sweetman (I’m a fan) …

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… and Christiano de Araujo:

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Work by the artist known as Uber5000 seems to be everywhere — he does chickens in boats …

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… on ice …

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… en plein air …

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… and riding lobsters!

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Oh, and he also does dogs:

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I really love elaborate tagging — the shapes and the colors make me happy.

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Here is my friend Jodee in front of one of my favorites:

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While most tagging eludes me, you can sometimes read actual words on the walls…

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… and while I’m not one for hearts and sappy sentiments, I had to smile at “love’s in the hair”:

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I enjoyed this use of tagging set against representational work:

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Representational art comes in a wide range of forms, from highly realistic …

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… to cartoony …

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… to fantasized …

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… to delightfully absurd:

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Some stores have even started to use public art as advertising; this scene invites you to a Thai restaurant …

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… while this incredible series lures you to a Japanese market:

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One of the best places to go to see a wide range of street art is Kensington Market, a funky neighborhood just northwest of downtown; while there is public art all over the city, it is densely concentrated here:

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And if you go to Kensington Market, you can also see sculptural public art right in this person’s front yard!

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There’s a lot to take in, but it’s entirely worth it!

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One response to “Toronto’s Endless Street Art

  1. Pingback: 10 Fun Things to Do in Toronto | Traveler Tina·

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