Posts Tagged ‘words’

Recently I was in the area east of Danforth and Main when I had one of those moments where I stop and say to myself “I’ve been here before”.   I recognized some of the street art in the lane  (see Alleyway of Dreams, 2016).  For this blog post, I have started with the artwork that I didn’t remember on the assumption that it is newer.   The murals that remain from 2016 all seem to be in good shape.

below: A collage of pictures called “Against All Odds” in the shape of a map.

collage of pictures and images on an exterior cement wall

below: On the same wall as the above is this mural of a swan.  My apolgies to Alika, Angela, Dylan, Molly, Serval, Bandi, Ludo and Weal (?) whose names I chopped off.  To the right of the swan, and behind a parked car is a piece by Mediah.

mural of a swan with a list of names to the left and a piece by mediah to the right

below: A hummingbird with a red hibiscus flower.

mural of a hummingbird with a red hibiscus flower

garages in an alley with garage doors that have been painted with street art, the garage in front has a light greens side door with two birds sitting on a braanch painted on it

Love birds of a different colour

street art painting of two birds sitting on a branch, a yellow bird and a blue bird with a white head.

below: There had been a fire in the back of a furniture store not long before I walked the alley this summer.

rubble, the result of a fire, sits in a pile behind a store in an alley, part of a chair sits on top

below: A black cat in the moonlight, sitting on some very curly branches.  This row of fences was painted in 2016.

mural on a fence in an alley, a black sitting on a tree branch with curly branches, moonlight behind the cat

below: This blue pug was here previously but the rabbit that was once beside it seems to have disappeared.

mural in mostly blue of a pug's face, dog with red tongue and brownish eyes, on wood
mural of a tiger's face on a garage door

below: The blue rhinoceros with the whimsical horn hasn’t moved either.

mural of rhino head and horn on a garage door in an alley, rhinoceros

below: Stay Out is still sprayed on the old wood door but now it has a new lock.  The blue 666 is also an addition.

old wood door beside metal garage door, outside, in an alley, large words spray painted on door that say stay out 666

large green plastic bag on the ground filled with wood palletts, in an alley, in front of a garage door with street art on it

below: “Bee Haven” from 2014.  One of the earliest bee/pollinator murals in the city.

mural of a hand holding a plant growing in a flower pot, plus bees,

bee with blue body and bum in a mural

hand holding a flower pot that is cracked because the root of the plant is growing, in a mural

below: Signatures.  The mural was painted by Elie J. Saad, Sarah Van Dusen, and Curtia Wright with help from Community Centre 55 kids.

back of a store on Danforth with apartments above

Just a small collection of some of the graffiti, and related, that I have seen lately.

part of a mural on a wall, words that say the walls won't know what hit them.

below: A on top and B below.  A = Alvin the Chipmunk as Aladdin.  B = Bugs Bunny as Bullwinkle eating a banana.

two coloured posters on a box on the street, both torn. On top, on red background is bugs bunny. on bottom on orange background is bugs bunny eating a banana

below: Street art by Mike Salisbury, “Out of Time” red emergency phone.

out of time, red emergency phone, street art, in old wall phone booth

below: Between the Madness Festival and the Hitler poster, a four line poem from “The Hawaiian healing program Ho’oponopono”.  It’s a real thing apparently and perhaps I’m forgiven, thanked and loved.

on a bulletin board, three 8 and one inch by 11 inch papers, posters in black ink,

below: Some friendly ghostly figures in time for Christmas.

ghostly white paper slaps on a met box, ghost faced bat, also bear in overalls,

below: Some black on white faces and a streetadventures sticker

stickers on a pole

below: Danger due to resisting.

red and white danger due to sign, altered to say Danger due to resisting

below: Life jackets required because of a water hazard danger.

red and white danger due to sign, altered to say danger due to water hazard, life jackets required

cat graffiti on cardboard, tied to Toronto circular bike stand

Parler23 is actually Parler Sneaker Company so this is probably part of an ad campaign.

happy cat waving sticker, holding gold coin that says get the money

happy cat sticker on a wall

Most of these pictures were taken on a walk within the area bounded by Dundas East, Broadview, Queen East, and Carlaw.

below: All or nothing

red brick wall with graffiti words that say all or nothing

below: Same same but different.

two old Bell telephone booths

below: “We miss you” at Queen Alexandra Middle School.  An older school, built in 1904/5, used to be on this site.  It was named after the Queen of England at the time, the wife of King Edward VII, Queen Alexandra.

on the fence by a high school, words in white attached to the fence that say we miss you

below: Also at Queen Alexandra Middle School, about 200 large black and white portraits of staff and students were on display on the exterior wall of the school.  This installation is part of the global ‘Inside Out’ project.  To date, Inside Out has appeared in 129 countries and has involved more than 260,000 people.  In fact, they were in Toronto for Nuit Blanche back in 2015.

inside Out project large black and white pictures of students mounted on the exterior wall of a school

below: Public art at Carlaw and Dundas.  I had mentioned this structure by Pierre Poussin back in March of this year.   Not a lot has been done on it in the meantime except for the preparations for some sort of pattern at ground level.

new obelisk structure, public art, rusted metal, at Carlaw and Dundas, still being installed, port a pottie in the background

push button at intersection for pedestrian crossing, with a rusted sign above it

below: The railway tracks cross Dundas Street just west of Carlaw. The tracks run on a NE – SW diagonal as they travel south from Gerrard.

a cyclist on Dundas street about to go under the railway track bridge

below: Save Jimmie Simpson park poster.   The Ontario Line, or the Relief Line of the subway/LRT may or may not come this way.   The Relief Line was once planned as an underground line under Pape to almost Eastern before swinging west towards downtown.  Someone then said why not run it above ground where the tracks already exist between Gerrard & Pape and the south end of the Don Valley Parkway at Corktown Common- and we can have a Leslieville stop.   Has any decision been made?  Is Toronto going to leave it all in limbo, or in the discussion/planning stage, forever and ever… and ever….

posters on a wood utility pole, bottom is to protest Ontario Line (subway) and to keep it underground and not run it through Jimmie Simpson parl. upper poster is for a lost cat

below: The north part of Jimmie Simpson Park.  The park is a right angle triangle with a peak at Dundas East and a base along Queen East.  The long side of the triangle is railway tracks which run behind the trees.

Jimmie Simpson park, people and dogs

a sign that says slow down on a fence above a concrete wall with paintings of plants and flowers on it

below: Once upon a time there was a railway station here, on Queen East at De Grassi that is.  It was operational between 1896 and 1932 and demolished in 1974.  In the beginning there was a level crossing here but after a number of accidents, including a collision between a freight train and a street car in 1904, the railway corridor was elevated.

historic plaque for Riverdale Railway station

below: Old black and white photo from the City of Toronto Archives, found online at “Old Time Trains”

old black and white photo from 1915, City of Toronto Archives, of building of the railway bridge over Queen East at Riverdale station

below: Aged and peeling painting of a Canada goose that was on the railway underpass.

top part of a Canada Goose painting on an underpass, bottom part has been painted over with pale grey paint

below: Eat the rich – and a picnic table is provided for your convenience. Don’t worry about the trains, they’re long gone. This was once a spur line and it hasn’t existed for years .  You can still find small sections of track but most of it has been paved over. (near Carlaw and Dundas)

a wood picnic table at the edge of a small parking lot and beside an old railway crossing sign

street sign, Riverside District, Strange street, with a a no passing sign beside it

store window, two mannequins in summer attire, woman in bikini and man in shorts and long sleeve t-shirt, also a black lives matter poster

below: Looking west, towards downtown, along Dundas East.  The old red brick building is on the northeast corner of Dundas and Broadview.

intersection of Broadview and Dundas East, looking west along Dundas towards Broadview. Large old red brick building on the north east corner
below: Flipped around and now looking east from Broadview in 1954.  The red brick building from the above photo appears to be Dennis House and it seems that they are advertising the fact that they have televisions.   On the south side of Dundas is a drug store.  That building is still there but now it is a variety store whose windows are often covered with Lotto649 and LottoMax ads.   In fact, the picture of the Bell telephone boxes near the beginning of this post was taken here.

photo credit: City of Toronto Archives, found online on a Blog TO page

below: This jumble of colours and lines can be found just east of Broadview and they are just visible in the background of the above picture.   I love the little white door that probably leads to a basement apartment (or a secret garden in the front yard?!)

houses on dundas east near broadview

below: If you walk farther east on Dundas from Broadview you will see a collection of old two storey houses with their slate mansard roofs and dormer windows.  This roof style is typical of “Second Empire” houses built in the late 1800s.   I’ve always been intrigued by this group of houses but I have never been able to find out much about their history.

semi divided house from the 1800's, mansard roof of slate, dormer windows

below: The end houses, at Boulton, have already been replaced.

row houses, old mansard roof style from the 1800's with a new 4 storey apartment complex at the end

below: And there are houses with similar architecture on nearby side streets.

corer houses

looking down a dead end street that ends at a school yard, summer time, large trees and cars line the street

Last but not least, a little bit of graffiti to close off this post.

below: Urban ninja squadron

red angle blob street art graffiti on a black wall

 

stencil graffiti of a yellow bee

Yesterday’s meandering walk around a neighbourhood was a loop from Bathurst subway station.

below: So happy to see this pair yesterday! When I was walking down Yonge street a few days ago, they passed me and I didn’t notice until they were out of camera range.

large shaggy brown dog sitting in a motorcycle sidecar, wearing sunglasses

You can’t talk about Bloor and Bathurst without mentioning the redevelopment of Mirvish Village.

construction site

two cranes at a construction site

below: Purple door

purple door in an alley, between two garage doors

below: Pale blue door

light blue door with peeling paint, beside wall with old red tar paper shingles

below: Pink, well probably faded red, door – and yes, it became a game of how many different coloured doors could I find.   It looks too small doesn’t it?

faded red, now pink, door on a white house, dirty and greyish stucco on the exterior, small bit of grass in front, one way sign on the utility pole in front of the house.

below: Dobgoblin and drawings on the greenish door.

seafoam green colour garage door with graffiti drawings of people, dobgoblin,

below: Anchored vs held down?

graffiti on a brown garage door, picture of an anchor along with words don't hold me down

below: Chalk heart

graffiti on a brown garage door, chalk heart in pink and yellow with orange word hello written beside it

below: Chalkboard philosophy, I think, I can’t be certain though. Maybe the gnomes know.

two small gnomes stand beside a chalkboard on a porch with words on it that say

below: It’s still Covid-19 time, still line-ups in the grocery store

Fiesta Foods grocery store on Christie Street, with line up of people waiting to get in

below: The Green Beanery coffee shop at Bloor and Bathurst is now permanently closed.  What I have missed most these past few weeks is discovering little coffee shops to stop at as I walk.

looking in window of Green Bean coffee shop that is now empty, reflections of photographer as well as people walking on the street

below: A riot of magnolia blossoms just about to be in full bloom

magnolia tree in front of some houses with magnolias about to be in full blossom

below: The sign has become not a running stop

stop sign in front a large tree just beginning to bud in spring, words added to stop sign so it now says not a running stop

below: Christie and Garnet

Christie street, looking north at Garnet Ave.,

below: Perly Family Lane with its painted garage doors.  For more pictures of the garages, see my blog post from 2016.

alley, PerlyFamilyLane, with painted garage doors.

below: Old and new side by side

back of a semi divided house, older asphalt shingles on exterior of the one on the left while on right has been renovated in light grey with new large window on ground floor

below: And nearby, short and tall

a semi divided house where the one on the right has added a third floor

below: Small house, large yard

very small beige house with one window in the front, large grassy front yard, between two largeer houses that are closer to the street

below: A large and impressive sycamore tree reaching up to grab the sky.

semi divided house with large sycamore tree in front of it

below: Basketball in the alley

alley, laneway with a basketball net ready

below: An old Pontiac Parisienne with its rear bumper on the ground.  It seems to have its own lot.   Parisiennes were produced through the 1960s and 1970s ans then well into the 1980s.   Would a car maker today call a car model a Parisienne?

old blue car, Pontiac Parisienne, with its back bumper on the ground, parked off the street between two houses

below: A white picket fence.  Is there something nostalgic or sentimental about a white picket fence?  Or is that only if you’re “of a certain age”?  Why did it become a symbol of middle class suburbia?

white picket fence along the side of a beige house with two large trees in yard, a door with newer wood porch and steps

below: Keeping an eye on the street

a ceramic ornament on top of a red tiled roof, animal, Chinese,

I came across the garage belonging to Albino Carreira that I saw, and blogged about, back in 2016.  He has added more shells, beads, and small objects.

front of decorated garage, shells, wood pieces, found objects,

below: Side of the garage

red side wall of garage decorated
a collection of shells used in decorating the exterior surface of a garage, also a small blue toy bear and some silver beads with a picture of the Greek flag

objects attached to a red wall, the exterior of a garage, plastic butterflies, beads, shells, and a small grey metal artwork that looks like a man emerging from a grey wall

below: As a bonus, there was a brief encounter with this van – complete with a wave.

side of van covered with shells and small toys, driver is waving from partially lowered window

back of van covered with shells and small toys

below: Before I go, one last door.  This time it’s mottled brown as there is some creamy orangey colour being revealed as the brown peels away.

back of a house, silver car parked, patio stone walkway to back door. screen door as well as old mottled brown and beige door, small stairs to back porchwhere there is a white chair

I went walking on Monday, keeping my distance from others, to “collect” bits and pieces of evidence of what we’re doing and how we’re coping with this virus thing.  Some of this is a bit ghoulish (and has nothing to do with the virus) but hopefully some with make you smile.  Also,  I hope that in the days and weeks ahead we can look back on this as just a little blip in our lives.

below: A little sticker from sketch nate has been edited to say that only all of Toronto can judge me.  There were quite a few “don’t worry” stickers.

two stickers, one says don't worry, the other is a pair of praying hands and the words only gosh can judge me, by sketch nate. Someone has crossed out gosh and written all of T O

below: The Princess of Wales Theatre has shut down like all theatres in the city, no shows happening.  Keep Calm and Carry On – we’ll see how all this pans out.

sign outside the Princess of Wales theatre on King St in Toronto that says Keep Calm and Carry on

below: Another “stay safe” wish for the city.

people walking past the Rex on Queen Street, has sign over door that says

drawing on chalkboard outside, man asking magic ball am I stupid, then he realizes ball is really a bowling ball

below: They have no reason to panic.

mannequins dressed in outside clothing, long pants, hats, jackets, in orange and blue tones,

below: “Don’t argue with it” could pertain to many things including this social distancing that we’re all becoming experts at.

on a street art painting of a skate, someone has written the words

street art on a sidewalk box that says what will remain of us

below: Bugs is ready to fight the good fight.

part of a street art mural of Bugs Bunny with his fists up and ready to fight

painting on a box of a ghoulish figure

street art black and white pasteup of a face with eye still showing, torn a bit, sticker of a red octopus on top of the head

poster sign on door of Lush store explaining why they are closing

sign on a hand sanitizer dispenser explaingint why its empty and what to do about it

Wash your hands.

Stay healthy!

graffiti on a wall including the words Life's exit

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.

Twice in two days at two different galleries I have encountered white, or almost totally white pieces of art.

This is “Untitled (Basel)”, 1969, by Robert Ryman (1930-2019) now on display at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO).  Yes it is 5 white panels on a white wall.   Before you scoff at this, one square similar to these sold in 2015 for more than 20 million dollars.

5 white squares arranged in a row on a gallery wall, an artwork by Robert Ryman

In the same room as the above is “The Rose”, 1964, by Canadian-born artist Agnes Martin (1912-2004).   There is a pale pink colour to this one.  The pink is made by a grid drawn by hand with red and black pencil, hundreds of red lines in all that “dissolve into a rose-coloured atmosphere”.

rose, a large canvas by Agnes Martin on a wall at the Art Gallery of Ontario, red pencil lines in a grid, it looks pink when viewed from a distance

This is the view that greets you when you walk into the Olga Korper Gallery.

art on the walls of a gallery, all frames are white, the artwork is all very pale

The art on the wall is an exhibit, “the laughter between two miles” by Ken Nicol.  The pale grey pieces on the far wall were made with hundreds of pencil lines.  Although the lines are in patterns of vertical and horizontal lines that aren’t quite a grid like the Agnes Martin piece above, the effect is the same.  The lines are too close together so the eye sees it as a single colour.

In the example below, green, blue, and red lines make a design over letters.  The letters are hand written (are you impressed?  Do you care?) and they are “Sentences on conceptual art” written by Sol LeWitt and first published in 1969.  LeWitt (1928-2007, American) is considered one of the founders of Conceptual Art.  Apparently he once created something similar where all the if’s, and’s & but’s were connected.  Here, the red lines connect all the art’s.

words in lines, sentences about conceptual art, overlaid with green, red, and blue lines

Text as a major element in a piece of art seems to be more prevalent these days, but that’s a subject for another day.

Instead, one last look at the Olga Korper Gallery before leaving – it’s a gorgeous gallery space.

walls of a gallery, white, with some all white artwork on the walls, also a large old double door that is the exit

 

below: He may be blue but he’s smiling.

below: Preening and posing or just walking past.  Saturday afternoon in Graffiti Alley.

people in graffiti alley, walking, posing for photos, murals, art,

a man spray paints a street art piece in an alley, small red step stool ladder with some cans of spray paint

mual in alley with skull with gold halo

back of a building, in an alley, covered with street art. On top is a large white orek in white, green garbage bins in front

below:  It comes with words, a quote from Al Capone: “You can get much farther with a kind word and a gun, then you can with a kind word alone”.   A mural by Madmaxxoner

mural in an alley doorway, portrait of Al Capone in shades of grey, wearing a fedora, accompanied by words

below: A series of urban ninja squadron stickers on a pole

urban ninja squadron stickers on a post

below: A grey face on a door, part of a mural by elicser

elicser mural on a wall including a door that is painted with a large face in grey tones

below: Square face with a four pointed crown, drawn on orange

on an orange background, a black line drawing of a square face with four point crown on head and 4 vertical lines as teeth

a bright orange mini cooper is parked with another car in a small parking lot with two murals, one by hello kirsten and a large portrait by janus

large text street art in silver with blue and red highlights

below: So we meet alley drinking in fact(?) at 2 pm on a Teusday (sic Tuesday) it’s cool(?) and I have a half size bottle of wine some of us are in love and some us can’t be.  We break off spinning in all directions and haven’t stopped since.  And on top of it all is a paranoid sticker in his pink briefs.  Make of it what you will.

a small sticker with paranoid written on it as well as a graffiti that is all words

below: Posing at the end of the alley

three people taking selfies at the Portland Street end of graffiti alley

below: Set-up for a selfie

a man has set up a tripod to take a selfie of him positioned between two large faces painted in an alley

below: More of someone else’s selfie, this one in the partial darkness.

side view, man posing in a doorway in graffiti alley, top part of him is in dark shadow

below: Smoke break

an older man in a fedora sits on a ledge covered with street art as he smokes a cigarette

below: An uber5000 painting of blue cat painting a yellow birdie with a predatory camera bearing down on them.

street art by uber5000, a yellow birdie, a blue cat and a characterization of a camera as a face with large mouth and sharp teeth, also with long tongue sticking out. words say gimme a break clik clik clik

below: We are all human by Kaun

below: More sharpie words, this time about the atomic power of prayer.   Oh dear, I googled it and it’s a thing.

words written in sharpie on green and yellow graffiti

below: Paper paste-up telling us to eat more or proclaiming the presence of eatmore?