New Art, Street Art

28 October 2015 – So here I am, 40 minutes after leaving the Abbas Akhavan show but still only a couple of blocks from its venue, the Mercer Union. I’m also giggling like a fool, and these two facts are related.

“I can’t find any new street art,” I wailed to Chloe as we left the show. Then, minutes later, I followed some dancing balloons into the neighbouring park, & turned around to see that the entire lane was a-drip with the stuff.

Last post I walked you up & down that lane; now let’s try to move on.

I’ve finally stopped giggling at myself — but reading the small print on the forehead of this doorway mural has me in fits all over again.

the critic speaks, in an alley near Bloor & Lnsdowne

Everybody’s a critic, right? Well, judge for yourself …

the dissed mural: in lane near Bloor & Lansdowne

Soon I’m back out on Bloor, walking east and, force of habit, peering up & down each alley that I pass. I’m rewarded with this great blazing scene, a bit to the east of Dufferin.

nr 1075 Bloor W

Bit farther east again, and this face pulls me around another corner. The alley heads south, and I’m happy to follow.

Bloor nr Bartlett (e. of Gladstone)

See, too, how neatly the scenes divide at that down-pipe? Each artist to his/her own space. There are boors out there who vandalize other people’s work, but mostly what you see is great respect paid by one artist to another.

This is an alley worth following, I discover — lots of garages, lots of art.

I’m struck by a few that offer some kind of critter within the larger mural. A focus for the viewer’s eye? The artist’s alter-ego? A loopy, street-art version of the ancient Greek chorus?

The garage on the left, for example …

alley e. of Gladstone, south to College

has its Owl With Attitude.

detail, garage on left

Then there’s this mural, so perfectly attuned to its environment you’d swear those piles of bricks were part of it.

same alley, another garage

No, they’re not. Demented squirrel, on the other hand, is.

cranky squirrel!


(See how he’s spilling paint on the “ground”? And see how it matches the tones of the bricks?)

By the time I zigzag down more art-heavy alleys to a parking lot just N/W of College & Dovercourt, I’m ready for a “There-there” pat on the head & some words of calming wisdom.

Which the parking lot obligingly delivers.

parking lot wisdom, N/W Dovercourt & College

Along with “Wise up,” it’s a good idea to look up.

‘Cause those street artists sure do like to shimmy to the top of whatever is available.

Bloor W & Dovercourt

What I like best about this tableau, just kitty-corner to the parking lot, is the way the turquoise of the art on the tower so perfectly matches the turquoise of the fire-escape door.

I’m still heading south as well as east, still peering down lanes as I go. One alley-corner on Dundas, a few blocks west of Bathurst, serves double-duty as house number for the adjoining building.

Dundas W, w. of Bathurst

And, as if that were not enough, right opposite is a big new (I think it’s new …) Birdo mural. There’s no mistaking Birdo.

opposite 893 Bloor W

See how dark it’s getting? Not that late in the day, either. But here we are, at this particular latitude, at this time of year, with Daylight Saving yet to kick in.

I slightly hurry my pace.

And promptly screech to a halt. You don’t need a question, as long as you have an Anser!

nr 825 Dundas West

I’m not at all sure this is new, but it is at least new to me. I’m amused at the left-over traces of previous — & multicoloured — artwork, still dancing a jig on bits of pipe & wiring. That streak over the nose, for example!

One last hit as I approach Spadina, and I can only show you this precisely because the sky is now so dark.

There is an elegant new residential tower near Gerrard & Yonge which, by day, is just another elegant new tower, with the usual line-up of windows rising floor upon floor.

By night, the upper floors turn into street art.

condo towers turned street art in the night sky, Gerrard nr Yonge

I don’t know how they project that skyscraper-silhouette into the night sky. I’m sure it’s technology, but I like to think it’s magic.

And it sure is (street + art =) street art.

However …

All well & good, I am happy, I’ve seen a whole lot of new-recent art (or, at least, new-to-me) — but where oh where is the new-innovative?

If you know what’s exciting on the Toronto street-art scene these days, please lead me to it.


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  1. Toronto is a very large city – still, you have recorded a lot of paintings on buildings. Either we’re not that observant in cities we walk through or Toronto has more than it’s share of creative paintings.

  2. The graffiti artist for the first few pictures is “hemps”, I’m not sure if you mentioned it. I just love that new condo at Yonge and Gerrard. I hear it’s the tallest residential condo in North America. You can almost see if from every part of Toronto.

  3. Beautiful photographs and a lot of interesting street art! Your blog is very inspirational, Penny. I wish you a very nice day 🙂

  1. Street & Sidewalk | WALKING WOMAN

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

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