I have accumulated a small collection of slaps, stickers, and small paste-ups, that I have seen around the city over the past couple of months.  This collection has grown large enough to warrant its own blog post.  So here they are….

below: He’s stepping out of the bunny suit in a little paper paste up by sketch nate (aka Nate Galbraith) 

on a blue metal box, a sticker slap graffiti of a man in yellow shirt coming out of a large blue rabbit suit

below: Looking a bit weathered on this piece of plywood is a paste up by sketchrat, (aka srats) Now Hiring Circus Rats.

old weathered pasteups on a piece of plywood

below: Two stickers on a pole, the top by drible_drible and the bottom by daughtcalm

two stickers on a pole with crumbling concrete or plaster behind, top sticker is by drible_drible and the bottom is by daughtcalm

two stickers on metal, the lower one is by drible drible

below: This old orange stikman has lost his head.  In its place is a sticker for eddaviel aka Edison Montero

on a wood utility pole in graffiti alley, on top is a sticker with word eddoviel and on the bottom is the bottom part of an old orange stikman

below: A solemn (depressed?) man with baby.

paste up in window of a man with depressed look on face, from waist up, holding a baby in his arms, in green tones

below: Wires, and more wires, on old wood utility pole.

sticker of a large wood utility pole with 3 horizontal pieces, lots of wires, top part of pole only

below: Covered.

many stickers on a metal sign on a wall covered in street art.

below: Contributions from Paranoid, Cherry Whine, and feelings boi. This is the oldest photo in this post; it dates back to TIFF in September.  The rabbit poster was a promotion for one of the TIFF movies, Resin.

paste ups and posters on a wall

below: A bunch of words.  Honest.  Question authority over and over again.  Wants to be healthy and happy? Money first. Capitalism.   Put them altogether and what do you have?

paste ups and stickers on a wood utility pole, all with words. one is honest, another is question authority written 5 times, and the third is about capitalism

below: Nice to see that there are still some Rob Ford faces around.  He shares this sign with many others including a lovebot, a deluxo xyz, and a blue skull.

many stickers on a traffic sign, including rob ford's face and a blue skull

below: Time may be a human construct but I’m still tired – sitting in the bottom corner with a head full of flowers, by Sketch Nate.

stickers and paste ups on a black box including a brown & red chicken head, a blue cat head

below: Fake Canada postage stamps as graffiti.  An interesting idea.  Each of the little red maple leaves on the stamps has a letter in it, P A W.  Is this the artist’s initials?

graffiti, or street art, in the shape of 4 Canada postage stamps, each one with a different nature scene

below: Many slaps here – On the bottom tight is one from Pestilencia Worldwide with two of their characters, Ratanic and Scumby.   Bottom left – an Urban Ninja Squadron tbonez turned barber.  Nixon, lines and shapes by The Forge Fury, and freewill are in the center, and a person hides behind a cute cat mask by Sketch Nate.

stickers and slaps on a grey metal box

below: Another Urban Ninja Squadron, this time with The Forge Fury (aka David Baron) and screaming ‘Your Mom’.  Also, Fascism shall be destroyed.

stickers on a pole, an urban ninja squadron and one that says fascism shall be destroyed

stickers and slaps on a pole

below: These faces, either with eyes missing, or eyes added on top, or some variation on that theme, have sprung up all over the place.  These are two of the small ones that I have seen.   You can see more of Jeremy’s work on instagram.

below: Lots of silly faces with Urban Ninja Squadron loser, and a cat on its 9th life by Sketch Nate.    As for the top poster, so much for Sketch Rat.

stickers and slaps on a pole

below: Urban Ninja Squadron with a playing card Lovebot, the lovebot of hearts.

stickers and slaps on a pole

below: Tbonez with dunzo on top -more of TCF, The Chosen Few.    The Forge Fury on the bottom.

stickers and slaps on a brown railing of an exterior staircase

below: And now Urban Ninja with Ratanic from Pestilencia Worldwide.  I am getting the sense that this a rather incestuous group in that they all know each other and cross pollinate each other’s work.

sticker, urban ninja squadron breaking out of jail with ratanic

below: And last but not least, a very small sticker on a pole, xmarks

small sticker graffiti on a metal pole, street art on the wall behind. Word on sticker is xmarks

There are two new colourful murals on Mt Pleasant.  The first, all pretty in pink, is on the northeast corner of Mt Pleasant and Manor Rd.  It happens to be the location of a new Piano Piano restaurant that hasn’t opened yet.    This is the second Piano Piano location and the first, on Harbord St., is also painted pink with large flowers (sorry but I don’t have a picture of it).

looking diagonally across the intersection at new Piano Piano restaurant on the corner of Mt. Pleasant and Manor Rd painted pink with large flowers, windows still papered over, rose, peony,

These flowers were painted by street artist Bacon aka Alexander Bacon.

new Piano Piano restaurant on the corner of Mt. Pleasant and Manor Rd painted pink with large flowers, windows still papered over, painted by street artist bacon

painted on exterior wall, a larege orange rose and a pink peony frame a window, other smaller flowers on top

Just down the street there is another flower mural. This time its blue flowers, chicory, and it too was painted by Bacon.

large blue flowers, mural, on a white wall, on the side of stores on Mt Pleasant Rd

close up of blue flowers in the mural

I like the camera part but I’m willing to prove the “no fun” part wrong.  The other day I went meandering with a friend.  We started near Christie station (at a coffee shop of course) with no particular destination in mind.  Generally south was the consensus… and with a pinch of playfulness (forget that no fun nonsense!) and a dash of distraction that’s more or less what we did.

sticker on a yellow pole, camera with legs and arms, also a sticker below it that says no fun

below: As you may know, Bloor Street east of Christie is Koreatown with lots of Korean restauants and tea shops.

below: … including cheese tea.  This seems to be a new trend, or at least new to me!  Apparently it is black or green tea with a foamy topping made from cream cheese, sugar, and whipping cream (or variations thereof).  Next time I may indulge.

below: “Imagine your Korea” mural on the side of P.A.T. Central, a large Korean store.

below: A fire breathing dragon and many scared people trying to run away. It’s a pity about the garbage though.

large mural on the side of abuilding, a large green dragon is breathing fire and scaring people out of their homes and stores and into the streets,

below: By Bathurst street the Korean restaurants have disappeared.  Once upon a time (it seems so long ago!) Honest Ed’s dominated the SW corner of Bloor and Bathurst.  Now there is just hole there, and a very big hole at that.

below: This picture is just a small part of “Utopic Isles, Neon Nights, a Flowery Future”, which consists of three panels of images by grade 11 and 12 visual arts students from Central Tech high school.  They are part of the hoardings around the construction site here.

picture on construction hoardings on Bloor St near Bathurst, an owl in a tree, a cat sitting below the tree, trees are weird shapes

below: Another section of hoardings feature collages of old pictures of Honest Eds – a project by Jessica Thalmann called “To Dwell is to Leave Traces”

hoardings on Bloor Street near Bathurst, a series of collages featuring old pictures of Honest Eds and the area, in many colours, by Jessica Thalmann

below: To try gluing pictures on hoardings is also to leave traces!  Its’ another “no fun” find.   All rather cool until you learn that no fun is a branding thingy.  Stickers as promos for businesses are now very common, posters like this on, not so much.

two posters that were glued to construction hoardings but that have been largely torn off

below: Construction makes room for the two buildings on Bathurst that refused to sell to the developers.  You can still see the ghost sign on one of the buildings – baby carriages repaired

below: Looking west from Bathurst Street across the big hole to the backs of the houses on Markham Street that are empty and boarded up.  Some of them will be retained in the new development.

below: A concrete lovebot hides in the corner.  He’s missing an arm and has three bricks instead of a leg.

an old concrete lovebot with an arm and a leg missing. on two bricks instead of the leg, in a pile of leaves, beside a rust coloured wall

below: Near lovebot is another ghost sign – Coca Cola, sold everywhere (Bathurst Street)

large ghost sign on a brick wall, coca cola sold everywhere, Bathurst Street

below: This frog has four points on his crown and lips made of plaster.   Looks like he’s found a home on top of the garbage pin.

below: ‘Keep hustlin!”  Don’t linger and watch out for cars.  I was going to make some comment about Toronto becoming increasingly dangerous for pedestrians but I decided that I needed some documentation to back me up.  I learned the acronym KSI (killed or seriously injured).  Toronto has the research on the KSI stats for 2005-2018 as part of their Vision Zero plan and the results are “mixed”, i.e. the trend isn’t upwards.  In fact, I don’t think there is a trend of any sort.

below: [Can we stand two social issues in a row?  LOL.]  What I didn’t realize was there was a “worldwide “Nobody Pays” call to action on November 29 for fare evasions” (source).  Chile in the poster is a reference to Chilean high school students protesting transit fare increases with a series of mass evasions starting on the 7th of October.    I don’t recommend burning your Presto card just yet.

below: The very small print at the bottom of the poster gives references to two documents (from 2012 and 2014) that outline the funding of the TTC and where the money comes from.

below: Well it is December after all…..

Christmas decorations in a store window, little tree ornaments of Santa, one with him holding onto a little parachute and one with him on a bike

below: Well it is December after all…..

a sticker of a black faceless man in grey suit, black tie, and black gloves, with arms raised with two hands in peace symbol, words that say destruction, despair, death

blue outline simple drawing of a persons head and shoulders

looking down a path between houses, green chainlink fence with sagging wood fence immediately behind it

below: Conversation on a garage door.

a garage door with the words, are you happy?

a car parked in a backyard of a house that has been gutted and is now being rebuilt

empty backyard of an older two storey building, with brick buildings on either side of it, seen from the laneway

an old car is parked under a tree and beside a house with graffiti on it

below: Sometimes Mother Nature endures.  There was no stopping this tree and it seems to have thrived even with the metal of the fence embedded in it.

a tree has grown up around a chainlink fence so the fence is embedded in the tree

below: The omnipotent metal fence strikes again.  This time flamingos in love and an Al Runt mural are in danger.

chain link construction fence in front of a mural of dancing pink flamingoes

below: Continuation of the mural by Al Runt around the corner of the building

part of a mural by al runt on a wall and on a metal fence

below: This mural has suffered a different fate, that of the creeping billboard posters.  As much fun as “procaffeinating” is fun to read about, I’ve seen more than enough of them around the city.  I’m not sure that it was someone’s sense of humour that resulted in Holt Renfrew posters being displayed beside those for  Pathways to Education that play on poverty and lack of education.

poster put up on a wall covering a mural that was there

below: But….  [one day I will do a post where only the words in the photos do the talking.  There are some great stories out there]

below: I especially like this one, Just Keep Going.

below: A white horse in an alley

splotch of white spray paint on a rusty part of a garage in a laneway looks a bit like a horse

below: As well as two little astronauts.

green garage door with a white square, on the square are two black stencils of an astronaut

below: Blood and bandages barber shop. Wonderful name!

blood and bandages barber shop from the outside, lights in window, bike parked outside

When you walk across College Street in this area you can’t help but notice that you’re in Little Italy.

below: As we walked westward along College Street, we saw three of these blue areas painted on the NW corners (of Roxton, Ossington & Dovercourt)

part of a lower storey of a building, as well as part of the sidewalk directly in front of it, are painted bright light blue

These are the Blue Room, by Stanislav Jurkovic and they were supported by the College Promenade BIA.   From the website: “Similar to a 3 dimensional ‘green screen’ in film production, the space becomes stage and canvas.”  It has also won a Toronto Urban Design Award.   Some photos that people have taken of these spaces can be seen on instagram by searching on #blueroomcollege (although the same photos are fed to the Blue Room website that I linked to in the first sentence).

two people waiting in a TTC bus shelter, part of a lower storey of a building, as well as part of the sidewlk directly in front ot it, are painted bright light blue

below:  In the entrance way to a store that sells a lot of things including DVD’s in Little Italy.  The 4 moschettieri – the 4 muskateers! A film from 1962 with Georges Riviere as d’Artagnan (the wonder of Google!).  At the bottom of the photo is the name Salvatore Samperi; I am not sure which film it is for but Samperi  (1943-2009) was an Italian film director & writer.   I find it intriguing that these old posters are still on this wall, torn and discoloured as they are.

wall in a doorway with old posters for Italian movies, some on top of others

below: Same store.  Italian movies on DVD’s for sale.  ‘Maruzzella’ (in English, ‘The Mermaid of Naples’) came out in 1956.  If you are an aficionado of old Italian movies, be quick, as I think this store is having a going out of business sale.

old Italian movies on DVD for sale in a store window

I’ll leave you with an image that I found online, a full copy of the poster that is partially covered up above – for the R rated film Malicious/Malizia in 1973. (photo source)  That’s 40+ years ago.  You see, when you start wandering you start finding all kinds of strange and fascinating things – no fun? indeed not.

copy of an old film poster for the Italian film malizia from the 1970s

 

Now at MOCA (Museum of Contemporary Art) is the exhibit “Age of You”. Part of the show is “The Extreme Self” based on a forthcoming book by Shuman Basar, Douglas Coupland, and Hans Ulrich Obrist, of the same name.   Large panels covering two floors of MOCA, lead the viewer through the storyline using graphics, pictures, and a lot of words.  Other works by other artists can be seen among the panels but the panels definitely dominate the space.

Why the title “Age of You”?  What is that all about?  As we increase are use of technology and our dependence on it, our data seems to have become important.   Information about our habits, likes & dislikes, online behaviour, etc. is now a valuable resource.  Our profiles and data can be used to create a model of  ‘you’.   Google knows where you’ve been if you have a smartphone.  They also have an advertising profile for you ostensibly so they can target their ads.  (Check the ads that they insert into these blog posts).  This technology advances faster than our ability to adapt to both it and its consequences.

below: “You’re now becoming your extreme self… and it’s happening to you as you read these words.

large panels hanging in an art gallery, MOCA, three panels. In the miiddle is a large picture of a woman's face with a single tear. Also some words. On the right is Too stupid to fail. On the left

Technology and its effects on people, individually and collectively, has been discussed since the advent of technology.  Often it is the negative effects that are discussed the most.  Today, we use the word “disruptive” to describe companies such as Amazon and Uber, companies that use technology to change the way we do business, and the way we interact with other people, and the way we go about our daily lives.

As I was thinking about technology and its effects, I remembered the Marshall McLuhan quote, “Every technology necessitates a new war”. When I looked up that quote (to make sure my memory was correct), I found this as well: “‘Any form of continued and accelerated innovation is, in effect, a declaration of war on one’s own civilian population.”

below: “We’re now deep into the terminal phase of democracy.  This phase involves voting in leaders whose primary goal is to dismantle democracy.”

large panels hanging in an art gallery, MOCA, Too stupid to fail,

below: Four panels. Four ideas in words in pictures.  “Groups of people make dreadful decisions.” “The majority can no longer be trusted.” “Democracy needs morning after pills.” and finally, on the right, a few sentences on the breakdown of reality-based consensus.

large panels hanging in an art gallery, MOCA, four in black and white

The exhibit references a quote by Isaac Asimov : “Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.’   But, can’t this be extended to ‘my scribbles are just as good as your fine art?’ And then along comes social media with its anonymity and global reach …. 

So what does all this mean for the future?

Is it art?

One can’t deny that it is thought provoking but part of the reason I asked, “Is it art?” is because of the heavy reliance on words and text.  It’s a book hung from the ceiling.  It also relies on quotes and ideas that originated elsewhere, words that that the artists have collected, not created.

Text is considered to be a design element but words have the added quality of conveying meaning.  Some images carry symbolism but only words can be manipulated into phrases and sentences with different meanings.   There seems to be a trend that involves the use of more text in art.  Art is now a “teaching moment”, like an essay (or book) laid out in a format that suits a gallery.  It’s not enough to be just looked at but it has to be educational too.

The next few pictures are from Vincent Meessen’s exhibit “Blues Klair” now on the Power Plant gallery.  It doesn’t deal with future like Coupland et al. above, instead it’s more a link to the past; it’s a history project.   This is the first paragraph of the words on the wall at the entrance to the exhibit:

words on the wall accompanying an exhibit by Vincent Meessen

A plea to all writers of such words:  Please stop. We’re not stupid but we’re also not ‘experts’ in the latest jargon and this just goes over our heads. …. I found a video on youtube of Vincent Meessen talking about this exhibit – and now it makes more sense.  It’s still a history project though.  It’s also a case, again, of the artist turning a collection of other people’s work into ‘art’.

two people looking at framed pictures and pages of text on a wall that has been painted in blue and white squares

blue and white papers strewn over the floor, discarded, with a framed picture on the wall, and a blue desk in the middle

Jumping back to the future – jumping to Hito Steyerl’s exhibit “This is the future” at the AGO to be more specific.   She too uses words.  And multimedia.  And she too pushes the limits of what art is.  (Or can you argue that those limits are long gone?)

below: Two parallel stories, one on top and the other below.   The upper story is about a community where windows are purposely broken, “people are smashing windows tirelessly to generate power”. The other story tells the opposite, windows are left alone and “police with big wooden horses are guarding every window”.  It turns what we believe about society upside down – the ‘good’ people who don’t break windows are living in a gloomy police state.  The ‘vandals’ have sunshine and art.

room at the Art Gallery of Ontario with words written around the walls, and a flat screen TV laying a video in the middle of the room

below: Hell Yeah.  Well okay then, if you say so.  It probably says a lot about me and/our times when my first impression is that it would make a great background for an instagram photo.   There are other blocks of words too (not in the picture) and the whole sequence is Hell, Yeah, We, Fuck, Die.  Why these words?  They are the “five words that have appeared most frequently in the titles of songs in English-language music charts over the past decade”.  And yes, I looked it up.

large blocks, lit from inside, put together to form the words the words hell yeah

And yes, I checked instagram….  The “L” does make a perfect seat!

composite of three photos of people that have been posted on instagram showing them at the Hito Steyerl exhibit hell yeah we fuck die at the Art Gallery of Ontario

Five words.  What do they mean? What five words would you use?

 

‘Age of You’ continues until 5th January 2020.

‘Blues Klair’ is at the Power Plant until 5th January 2020.

‘This is the future’ ends on 23 February 2020

paste up poetry

Posted: November 28, 2019 in graffiti and street art
Tags: , , , ,

Someone seems to be posting poetry, not on social media, but as pasteup graffiti.

a white piece of paper with typed words, a poem by S M, pasted onto a traffic box that was painted.

Look to the cornfields
Big stalks grow tall
Despite anyone around at all.

 

piece of white paper with typed words, a poem, pasted onto a silver coloured door


the sun could rise twice
but instead you came along
canaries dance on the wire and
sing a familiar tune
in the rain and in the snow
you’re just a little more

fish swim and birds fly
dogs howl and babies cry
your love for me I dare not ask why.

This incredibly intricate butterfly or moth by alfalfa faces Bathurst street.  The body of the butterfly makes the human face within the insect unmistakable .

a large street art piece of a butterfly with man's eyes on the wings, boy of butterfly looks like man's nose

On the south side of the same building is this captivating turquoise-skinnedcharacter painted by muisca.

character with turquoise face and yellow and orange hair and dress, by muisca, mural on the side of a building

On the north side of the building there is a driveway that leads to an alley.   There are murals on the side of the building as well as on other buildings and garages immediately adjacent.

 

below: This tiger by luvsumone (aka Moises Frank) is on a garage door in the alley.

partially abstract painting of a tiger by luvsumone, xyz

below: If you follow the sound of many pigeons cooing you’ll find yourself in front of one of the garages that must have a pigeon loft on the upper storey.  The same garage has two pigeon murals.  This stylized pigeon who seems quite happy with his can of spray paint is on one side while the pigeon in the next image is on the garage door.

a stylized pigeon, painted on the side of a building, with a spray paint can by it's head

below: Stay fly pigeon, luvsumone, painted in 2017

a large painting of a pigeon on a garage door in an alley

below: Another of the alley murals.

4 garbage bins lined up beside a small building with a mural of a young woman with blank eyes above the bin

below: The north side of the building has three murals of people.  These eyes are part of a larger man’s face.

part of mural of man's face, two eyes and a nose,

below: A woman’s face seems to float on the brick wall.

a large woman's face painted on the side of a brick building

close up of a pair of blue lips painted as part of a mural of a woman's face

below: This wall has also become a memorial wall.

mural of young woman's face, looking straight ahead, eyes partially closed, arms crossed in front of her,

words written under a group of street art pieces, deluxe the 6, names of street artists

a brick wall where the bricks have been painted different colours like a giant mosaic, windows, and doors in that wall are also painted, in an alley,

There’s a building near King and Strachan that is adjacent to an alley.  The alley side of that building has been painted in many, many, squares and rectangles of different colours and as a result, it looks like like a giant mosaic.

Although there is a certain sameness to these pictures, here’s a sample of the doors, windows, and wall in that alley.

a brick wall where the bricks have been painted different colours like a giant mosaic, windows, and doors in that wall are also painted, in an alley,

a brick wall where the bricks have been painted different colours like a giant mosaic, windows, and doors in that wall are also painted, in an alley,

a brick wall where the bricks have been painted different colours like a giant mosaic, windows, and doors in that wall are also painted, in an alley,

a brick wall where the bricks have been painted different colours like a giant mosaic, windows, and doors in that wall are also painted, in an alley,

a brick wall where the bricks have been painted different colours like a giant mosaic, windows, and doors in that wall are also painted, in an alley,