Posts Tagged ‘street art’

Follow the pointy fingers!

4 black and white stencils of hand and fingers pointing, on the sidewalk, pointing towards a mural on a wall

In a Kensington alley just north of Dundas there are several new faces.

two large faces painted side by side in an alley

below: A very bright face by Curtia Wright

large face mural on an exterior wall in an alley, in bright fluorescent oranges and blues, wearing a large floppy hat

below: An up close look at ‘Lovely’ by ahayahisone (aka Philip A. Saunders, or P.S.)

close up of a face in a mosaic like style with shapes of different colours making up the skin, green eyes, red lips, by Philip A. Saunders, called Lovely

below: A portrait of Philip Saunders by luvsumone (aka Moises Frank)

portrait of a man in shades of brown, orange and purple, with a hat, by luvsomone, a mural in an alley

A Poser bunny face and a companion mini happy face too

a black on silver poser bunny painting on a wood fence in an alley, a little happy face is in the top left corner of the picture

Bonjour from the future

black woman's head in space helmet of clear glass, futuristic clothing around her neck, Jamaican flag painted on her collar, purple lips

This one looks very much like it’s another P.S. painting.

male head in many different colours

Not as bright, but still surviving in the lane, are a couple of older faces

faded, on an old wood fence is a profile picture of a woman that is faded, the wood grain comes through very clearly, some peeling paint on the edges

on a fence that is vertical slats of wood, a portrait of a woman in blue

Mario sticks his head above text graffiti that says flyguy

head of Mario from the Nintendo game peaks over the text graffiti

“Keep yo head out the clouds” to which someone has responded.  At first I thought the response was “Nah, Rock that cloud.” but on closer inspection I see that I am wrong.  I like my answer better!

wood fence painted red with yellow words that say Keep yo head out the clouds, with a couple of white clouds, one with green eyes and a nose and mouth

on a wood fence, a drawing in white pencil of a man in a tie, beside him are the words cloudy daze.  above him are two clouds

506 is the number of the Carlton streetcar which runs from High Park in the west to Main Street subway station in the east.  The older cars still run on this route and one advantage of these older streetcars is that they have windows that open.  This makes it easy to take pictures while travelling; yesterday I went eastward from Yonge as far as Coxwell, sometimes on the streetcar and sometimes on foot.

below: Pointing the camera out the window, D & J Mart Convenience store at the corner of Gerrard & Sackville.

picture taken out the window of a streetcar on Gerrard, an older 2 storey brick building with retail on the lower level, two large old wood hydro poles

below: A new curvy building rises up on the corner of Carlton and Church.  The older building on the left with the R U on the top is the old Maple Leaf Gardens, now part of Ryerson University as well as a large Loblaws.

new highrise building under construction beside the old brick building that was Maple Leaf Gardens on Carlton street.

below: People, striped hoardings, and closed sidewalks.

people walking past painted hoardings in front of a construction site, painted in stripes

below: Waiting outside Jenny’s at the corner of Parliament and Gerrard where the streetcar makes another turn.

a young man stands beside a stroller outside Jenny's Convenience store on Parliament street, large red and white sign with kit kat logo on it twice - once at each end

below: Another convenience store on a corner on Gerrard.  This time there is also a construction site in the picture!  Are there more construction sites than variety stores or vice versa in this city?

from the streetcar window, a food mart on the corner and construction across the street from it.

people sitting on a TTC street car, three people, two women and a man.

below: Looking south on Broadview at Gerrard.

Broadview looking south from Gerrard with utility poles and lots of wires, people crossing the street, some traffic, the clears with the sign with a red cross on it

below:  The 506 streetcar passes through Chinatown East (the area around Broadview & Gerrard) where many of the old houses are also businesses.

older houses turned into businesses on the ground floor, two semis with Chinese businesses, one is Ly Ly beauty salon

below: The southeast corner of Broadview and Gerrard now has an A & W restaurant which seems like an intruder in an otherwise Chinese/Asian section of town.

looking at the southeast corner of Broadview and Gerrard with a large A and W restaurant on the corner. Beyond that, the other stores and restaurants are Chinese

below: At the intersection of Gerrard and Carlaw, where the railway passes over the roads, the walls have been freshly painted.  The north wall is a series of abstract shapes and colours like this.

a person in an electric wheelchair, or motorized scooter, passes by a wall that is covered with street art, traveling on the sidewalk

below: The new painting incorporates the older art that was there. In the center of the newly painted rectangles are two grey shapes, these are originals.  They are part of a 1996 installation by Dereck Revington called ‘Blue Fire’.  There is still a plaque that describes these aluminum pieces as “a constellation of five paired aluminum fragments etched with traces of a poem by Robin Blaser and suspended from the entrances to the underpass”.   Strange grey shapes (flames?) on dirty white concrete.  Regardless of what you think of the concept, the reality is that it was drab.

part of a railway overpass has been painted with street art

below: Lead artist Kirsten McCrea (also known as Hello Kirsten) and her assistants, Victoria Day & Julian Palma, have certainly brightened up the space!  The south wall is a series of frames pictures of hands holding flowers.   As seen from across the street ….

railway underpass street art, seen throughthe supporting concrete arches, paintings of hands holding flowers, framed

below: … and from close up

a dark brown hand holding a sprig of small light purple flowers

below: And lastly, the end support wall of the overpass where the flowers and the stylized shapes come together.

painting on a concrete pillar of a railway overpass, a rose with leaves, stem, and thornes, a collage of abstract shapes and

below: Store signs near Pape including the bilingual Italy Hair Design – but not in Italian!

store fronts on Gerrard including one that is painted bright green, signs over the doors including the Italy hair design store with sign in English and Chinese

below: With remnants of the past such as string of pennants faded to grey….

old three storey brick building with big bay windows on the upper two floors. Ground floor is a store or restaurant with bright red door and yellow metal bars over the windows

below: … or an old street sign still attached to the building.

side of an old brick building with stone features, an old street sign on the building Gerrard Street, now a law office with signs in the windows

below: After Greenwood, the 506 streetcar passes through Little India before it turns north on Coxwell.

food and containers on a table outside a store, with pink and green floral table cloth

below:  In the late afternoon and evening, Little India is much more lively.  Many shops sell food on the street – roasted corn on the cob (a pile is ready to cook on the green table here) as well as south Asian foods.   To the right of the corn is a bundle of sugar cane.

Mumbai Paan shop on Gerrard Street in Little India with a barbeque on the sidewalk, a bucket of corn and a pile of sugar cane

These few kilometres on a streetcar route have opened a small but fairly typical cross section of the city starting with the newer, taller, shinier center.  There’s quite a bit of multiculturalism, some history, and some colourful new art.   It’s a story that plays out all over the city in many similar yet different forms.  Familiar but unique.

 

below: Searching for a story? 😇

three people looking into the sun. Two are shielding their eyes with their hands, wearing sunglases, looking slightly upwards as if searching for something.

 

Slaps, stickers and paste-ups in Kensington.

below: Stickers on a pole

slaps on a pole in Kensington, people on bikes in the background.

below: Ohhhh, Portland is burning

slaps stickers on a pole, top one is Portland is burning with man pasting sign to wall, another has a man with a fat chin and mouth open in O shape.

below: Feelings boi hanging out on a wall with a morose pot belly poop

feelings boi pasteup beside a pot belly pop pasteup on a wall

below: Riding zebras in pairs

two copies of a small pasteup of a yellow figure riding a zebra

below: The words flow. “She clasped my face in her bones and kissed silence into my mouth” a quote by Amiri Bakara

pasteup on a wall, of a skull looking down at a man's head, who is looking up at skull, Letters are between the two mouths. words written below the man

below: Four urban ninja squadrons and a couple arguing

5 black and white paste ups on a wall in Kensington, four are urban ninja squadron and the the fifth is of a couple arguing, him on the left and her on the right, in the middle between them dark angry figures come nose to nose

below:  Even aliens check their phones.

sticker on a grey box on sidewalk, little figure, martian alien like, with head mostly one eyeball, human shape,

below: An ad, a drawing, and some knowledge

parts of a few different posters and drawings on a wall, a man in a red shirt on blue background which is part of an ad is on the left, a drawing of three naked women is in the middle (but is faint and hard to see), and a drawing on yellow labelled knowledge

below:  Black and white photos of people’s faces with the eyes missing.

black and white photos of faces, cut and manipulated to remove the eyes, i.e. forehead lowered to cover eyes

below:  More missing eyes, but this time some of the faces have eyes.   For the latter, the faces are composites

black and white photos of peoples faces. Some have eyes from a different person inserted, others have eyes removed by lowering of forehead

below:  One is blind and one is the merging of three.  I’ll leave it to you to figure out if it’s three different people, or the same person photographed three times.

large black and white faces on grey metal box on sidewalk, one side has person with eyes missing and the other side is a face made of a composite of at least three different faces

below: Urban ninja with Grey Owl and its large (and very sharp looking) talons

urban ninja squadron sticker with hooded ninja character with arm up, and owl on forearm, owl has face of Donald Trump

below: Go vegan for her. A pig’s eye?

sticker on a pole that says go vegan for her, shows one eye of a pig, on pole near drawings of other eyes

Those are what I saw today.  You could probably walk Kensington and see others.   Many are hard to miss but keep your eyes open for the little things in unusual places!

On the east side of 1533 Dundas West there is a large mural, partially obscured by trees but easily visible from the street. It was painted last year by Jieun June Kim, Pablo West and Giovanni Zamora as part of a cultural exchange between (Toronto) Canada and (Valparaiso) Chile.

large mural on the side of a building beside green space, with a couple of trees in front

It can also be seen at the new Dundas West Museum. This is an open air museum that features the murals and street art in the area  bounded by Lansdowne Avenue on the west, College Street on the north, Bathurst Street on the east and the Union Pearson Express railway tracks on the south.  They are brand new – their official launch was just this past week.   Check their website for more information about the murals and the artists who created them.

part of a mural by Jieun June Kim, Pablo West, and Giovanni Zamora, a male guitar player, with large brim hat, on background made of multicoloured cubes on point

part of a mural, two women musicians, a trumpet player and a violin player

violin player in mural along with woman playing a drum with her eys closed and head bent forward

a red and white Canadian flag printed on a sticker that says Toronto Canada that someone has added their tag to, stuck on a utility pole in an alley

Today’s wander down Graffiti Alley yielded more than just a few new paintings and bits of graffiti.  I also came across a group of students from da Vinci school who were there doing an assignment that involved filming each other giving rants in the alley.

one woman is filming another woman who is talking in graffiti alley

two girls checking a video on a phone, other people nearby, in graffiti alley

below: Nipsey Hussle memorial mural by Sum Artist

black and white mural portrait of a young man in a toque, signed sum artist

one boy is filming another as he talks in the alley, in front of a colourful mural

woman in red dress and red shoes, graffiti on an alley, on a wood fence that has been painted white

two stickers on a graffit covered metal utiity pole. one sticker is a black drone in a grey circle

one woman is filming another woman who is talking in graffiti alley - in front of Uber 5000's mural

one woman is filming another woman who is talking in graffiti alley in main part of alley

below: Smile!

graffiti, word smile

three girls working on a video in a corner of an alley, on is filming with a phone and one is talking and one is holding the paper with the words on it.

a poorly done blue faced woman with red hair, beside a doorway with a black, white, and red, geometric face

a boy in shorts and a baseball cap is filming another boy in blue fleece and camo pants as he is talking in front of a mural in graffiti alley

mural of a pink praying mantis on the right and some students in graffiti alley on the left

teacher, students, and other people in graffiti alley

black and white painting of a man's face, very large, part of a mural in an alley

Today’s encounter reminded me that I once encountered Rick Mercer in the alley as he filmed a rant for his TV program – photo from October 2011.

photo from 2011, Rick Mercer and film crew walking down Graffiti Alley as he filmed a rant for his TV program.

One last thing that I want to address here – maybe you could call it a rant of my own.  Except that it will be in pictures not words.  There’s something new in Graffiti Alley; it’s not unexpected but that doesn’t make it any easier, or better.   The old Stephenson Rental building is on its way down.

demolition sign on a metal fence in front of a graffiti covered wall

In fact, it’s mostly down.

only one corner remaining, demolition of building in graffiti alley, covered with street art

demolition of building in graffiti alley

and mostly sad

demolition of building in graffiti alley, remaining buildings in the background

I’ve called them blobs for lack of a better word. It’s almost as if someone’s conceptual art project was released into the wild.

three black and white photo paste ups that look like ameobas or primitive life forms on a concrete wall, outdoors,

below: These two blobs look a like amoebas, or other single cell life forms. Can’t you picture them swimming in a pool of muddy water?

two black and white photo paste ups that look like ameobas or primitive life forms on a concrete wall, outdoors,

below: There is definitely a “life form” quality to them. With a little imagination, the middle one looks like a chicken embryo inside an egg. In fact, all three could be embryonic.

three black and white photo paste ups that look like ameobas or primitive life forms on a concrete wall, outdoors,

below: Now the life forms have evolved a bit and developed tentacles or little stringy bits like a jellyfish has. They seem to be interacting.

seven black and white photo paste ups that look like ameobas or primitive life forms on a concrete wall, outdoors,

Have fun with them!
I found them on a wall on Runnymede Road just south of the CPR tracks at St. Clair.

UPDATE: These blobs are water photograms produced by ‘J’ . A photogram is an image made without a camera; objects (in this case, water) are placed directly on light sensitive paper. When a light is shone onto the objects, different shades of grey are produced depending on how much light reaches that paper surface. The more light, the blacker that area of the image becomes. White areas are produced by objects that allow no light to pass through.

Every once in a while, but not as often as I should, I go through old files and folders of pictures that I have taken.  Pictures that I have meant to use but never got around to it.  Today I found a series of photos from mid-February, back when there was snow on the ground.   In amongst them were some graffiti and street art shots from somewhere between Chinatown and Kensington and those are the ones that I chose to show you here.

terra cotta coloured wall with a black door. graffiti and tags in the door including a pasteup poster of two men. A red stencil of a maple leaf is on the wall

below: A tribute to Prince on a utility pole

graffiti featuring face of Prince, on a utility pole

below: Mural by @emstroart (aka Rei Misiri) and @kuyaspirit

large mural on the side of a red brick house

below: It’s seen better days.  A grubby and dirty dog in the water.

old picture of a white dog in a pond, with yellow background, painted on a wood fence. One board is broken, paint is peeling, fence is dirty

snowy alley with two ruts for wheels of cars, garages with graffiti on left side, small church near the end of the alley, large condo and CN Tower in the distance

below: Two grominator creatures- one of them is an historic figure (!?) beside a cat

a grominator mural on a white garage door in a lane

below: …. and the other has a happy friend

a grominator piece of graffiti and a pink smiley face monster, both on a brown garage door in an alley

snow covered lane with garages

below: A few hearts and a little star in a whirlwind of colour.

three tiny yellow hearts and a tiny yellow star drawn on a wall with colourful spray paint graffiti

below: Even the pole was included.

text street art on the lower level of a building in a lane

workmen on the side of a street, windter, snow, alley with a mural on the right,

a bike locked to a tree on a sidewalk in front of a mural on a building, snow,