Street art has been a widely controversial issue in many cities, straddling the fine line between art and vandalism; legal and illegal. And because of this, many talented street artists have had to hide in the shadows. Thanks to shifting perceptions, devoted public spaces, and brilliant (and brave) local artists, Toronto’s street art scene is growing.
Take a look at a few of Toronto’s great displays of street art.
Elicser Elliot is a Toronto street art staple. He’s had such a huge influence on the downtown graffiti landscape, it’s hard to imagine the city without his work. Elicser’s aerosol art of distorted portraits and jumbled skylines can not only be seen on buildings throughout the city, but it’s also been hung at the ROM and AGO.
Outside the Box
In an effort to stop graffiti (and make our streetscape infinitely more beautiful), the City of Toronto introduced “Outside the Box”, hiring local artists to have their way with traffic-signal cabinets around town. Artists can still submit proposals to be a part of this great street art initiative.
ANSER’s trademark iconic face known as the “Mysterious Date” is unmistakable. Fusing graffiti bombing with modern art, ANSER’s pieces can be spotted from the street to the gallery, he even had a debut solo show this year. If you’re a fan, make sure to follow ANSER on Instagram as he’s been known to leave gifts of art around the holidays.
You might recognize Toronto’s Graffiti Alley as the backdrop for Rick Mercer’s famous rants. The alley runs south of Queen between Spadina and Portland streets and features an ever-changing gallery of some of the city’s best street art. There’s also the Ossington Laneway, organized by the Well and Good arts collective and local property owners, running just west of Ossington between Queen and Humbert. Additionally “The Reclamation Project” near Queen W. and Dufferin Streets. in West Queen West, along a GO rail corridor, offers up the largest graffiti wall in Canada.
How effective are those Neighbourhood Watch signs with the red Cyclops houses anyway? Well thanks to Toronto artist/designer DCMism there’re new heroes in town. We can feel safe knowing that Spiderman, Voltron, The Care Bears, Wonderwoman, and many others are watching over us.
The Love Invasion in Toronto is the concrete brainchild of local artist/designer Matthew Del Degan. Lovebots aim to disrupt Torontonians’ daily routines to remind them that there is magic in this city and love around every corner. 2-foot tall concrete love robots live find special homes on the city streets, all connected to a story about love, kindness or compassion. Check out a map and read about their stories here.