Street Art, Streetscape, & Some Shameless Self-Promotion

16 March 2014 — Oh, what the heck. If I’m going to be shameless, I might as well go whole hog, and put myself first.

Shameless Self-Promotion

I’ve just published a new Blurb book! Last time, the city’s waterfront; this time, the art of our streets & lanes. Please — go to http://blur.by/1oY7e48 and take a look.

Blurb book by Penny Williams

Before deciding to make this book available to the public — after all, it’s full of other people’s art — I asked the opinion of someone who works with art professionally but also “paints” (does street art), and is familiar with that community’s mind-set . The answer: no problem, go ahead.

So I have. Walking the Streets & Lanes is a celebration of work that caught my eye in 2013, and in some cases a memorial as well, for pieces that have already disappeared.

And now for yesterday’s walk, for my latest round of …

Street Art & Streetscape

It’s another take-the-streetcar-out-&-walk-back adventure. I ride west to College & Lansdowne, jump off, & head east on College.

Not immediately east. First I cross to the west side of Lansdowne, for another look at a building that the Tuesday Walking Society admired on an earlier trek.

1292 College St.

See why it deserves attention? This is 1292 College St., precisely tailored to fit its exact space, serving as both home and professional advertisement for architect Rohan Walters. He commissioned (I’m guessing it’s a commission, but that seems a safe guess) a mural by EGR to complete the look — make the building fit visually, as well as physically.

part of EGR mural at 1292 College St.

I’m just beginning to recognize her work. I should visit her website more often, and soak it in.

No trouble identifying this one! ANSER is the first artist I learned to recognize, and here he is at College & Dufferin.

ANSER, College & Dufferin

Not many side trips down alleys today, and I almost don’t walk down this one near Dovercourt at all.

Then I’m glad I did. It’s not the mural on the building side wall that snags my eye, it’s this enigmatic message at the back, half-obscured by litter & signed © TP 13.

wall message off College nr Dovercourt

How extraordinary. What a discovery, in such a grotty alley.

Extraordinary because so unexpected. This next image is extraordinary for every reason you can imagine. Just look at it, blazing up the side wall of The Slow Room (near Ossington), one of the city’s newer espresso bars.

Bruxas, 874 College

It’s signed Fiya Shalak Bruno Smoky Bruxas. That’s Fiya & Shalak (the Bruxas Crew, aka Fiya Bruxa & Shalak Attack) and Bruno Smoky. This mural looks very new. I think (but I’m not certain) that it replaces an earlier “Bruxas” mural, a tribute to Frida Kahlo, by the two women.

Next, something that is more streetscape than street art, though art is also involved — both the art of the cinema, and the sheer physical art of locking those letters into place.

new movies at The Royal, 608 College St.

The Royal is an indie movie theatre at College & Clinton, and Missy Letter-Wrangler is making sure we know the three current offerings: Ernest & Célestine for the kiddies, plus A Field in England and American Hustler for the older crowd. (I always wondered how they got those letters up there. Now I know.)

I walk down one more alley, this time a long one dropping south from College to Dundas St. West, parallel to Palmerston. It’s full of garages, so I am hopeful.

Alas. Lots of tags, door after door, but I can’t interpret them and don’t find them interesting. Then I see this…

garage art, alley e. of Palmerstone between College & Dundas West

I slide my eyes past the large, crude message & read the artist’s own message, small & precisely lettered: “As the storm passed and the sea mellowed.. they realized their mistake”

What’s really got my attention, though, is the imagery. I like it for itself, but I’m also struck by its resemblance to the series of boat sculptures by celebrated Inuk artist Joe Talirunili. Here is one of them.

Joe Talirunili sculpture, AGO collection

This piece is in the permanent collection of the Art Gallery of Ontario, and the photo is from the AGO website. See below in CLICK!! for more information.

One last hit on Dundas, before I yield to the temptations of a passing streetcar at the Bathurst St. stop, and take the lazy way home.

gate at Dundas & Bathurst

A double hit, actually. The peacock mural is signed K. Won, and so is the mailbox next door.

mailbox, same K. Won artist, at Bathurst & Dundas West

And then I grab a streetcar. It’s getting cold out here…

CLICK!!

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16 Comments

  1. Congrats on the book – had never heard of Blurb so you have opened my eyes to yet another great thing!

    Reply
    • Hi Paula, yes it’s really worth checking out Blurb. It offers many formats, and very sturdy software to work with.

      Reply
  2. Just had a peak at the book on the Blurb website – it is wonderful! Such a great tribute to the street artists of Toronto and your great photographic eye. Since it’s sometimes such transient art it’s great you’ve captured it. You have a lot of expertise on this genre – congratulations.

    Reply
    • I’m so grateful for your generous remarks. I’ve become very interested in street art, and I like the idea of capturing some of it this way especially since by its very nature street art is so transient. Already some of the pieces are either painted over, or have suffered damage

      Reply
  3. Your very modest bit of marketing just goes with the image I have of you. I think your blog is so fascinating and always witty with terrific photos. Thank goodness for visionaries like yourself who perceive the brilliance and immediacy of ‘street art’ and record it for posterity. Your book looks stunning – good luck.

    Reply
    • What a generous comment! I’ve got a big smile on my far now. I worked hard on layouts for that book, so I’m happy you like the results. (Now I’m about to leave the house for my Tuesday walk…)

      Reply
  4. Interesting to find so much street art – is it that Banksee has a lot to answer for? Congratulations on publishing your book – I too use blurb –

    Reply
    • I think the amount is growing, but it may also be that the more I look the more I see… Blurb is really good to work with, isn’t it? Do you seek yours, or are they for your own enjoyment? Mine are really the latter, though I’ve now made two available (at a tiny mark-up) to the public

      Reply
  5. well done kid
    terry

    Reply
  6. Congratulations on your second book!!! Maybe someone will buy me a copy!

    Reply
  7. u have a great blog as well i enjoy your writing it gives me hope that people exist that appreciate the beauty of giving a new lease of life to forgotten about backstreets and places all over the globe 🙂

    Reply
    • Thanks so much for this generous comment, and for exploring some of my posts. I’m glad you’ve enjoyed what you’ve seen. Yes, I absolutely believe that many people celebrate the beauty to be found in back streets and forgotten corners. Don’t lose hope!

      Reply

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  • WALKING… & SEEING

    "Traveller, there is no path. Paths are made by walking" -- Antonio Machado (1875-1939)

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