Graffiti in the City

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The other morning we heard a kerfuffle going on outside. Looking out the window, we saw our neighbour who was obviously very angry about his fence having been tagged with graffiti overnight. The damage was some illegible scrawl covering the entire length of the wooden fence, that was going to be difficult to clean up. His fence, as it formerly was, was essentially ruined and I felt for the guy.

I’m not sure how graffiti is dealt with in other cities, but here in Toronto, it is up to the property owner to clean it up, or face possible penalties. If they don’t comply with a clean-up order and the city has to come and take care of it, the property owner will receive a bill for the work.

That happens when the graffiti is determined to be unsightly vandalism, as opposed to art. Thankfully, the city’s policy is lenient with regards to the artistic merit of some graffiti, and reads as so, “The City of Toronto’s Graffiti Management Plan seeks to support graffiti art and other street art that adds vibrancy and artistry to our streets while balancing the need to eliminate graffiti vandalism which can have a detrimental impact on property owners and neighbourhoods.”

As we watched our neighbour rage over the defacement of his property, Nick told me about a news story he had recently read, about a commercial landlord who had just finished bringing his 1900-era brick building back to its former glory. I know the building he meant and remember how long it was behind scaffolding while the refurbishment went on. Anyway, days after the the ‘new/old’ facade was revealed, a tagger came along with a power paint-sprayer and sprayed his name on the wall in letters that must have been 20 feet tall. The story went on to say that the landlord was nearly in tears when he saw this had happened to his beautiful building.

I imagine this destructive behaviour is looked down upon by the true artists out there who choose to paint on walls, as some do really beautiful work, and it’s probably frustrating to be put in the same boat as the vandals.

These shots were taken last month, in an alleyway running just south of Queen Street West, between Niagara and Tecumseth Streets (near the Queen and Bathurst intersection).

This is an area where artists are welcomed by the property owners to create. A walk along there is to experience an urban outdoor gallery that is jam packed with details to discover. It should be said that this is a fairly short stretch, so the profusion of images and colours is quite stunning to behold. These photos represent only some of all that is there. Even so, I know this is a lot for one post, so I hope I didn’t blow your computer gasket.

There was also a fair share of gratuitous tagging along there as well, which is unattractive, to my eye at least. I’d venture to say that the only people who like that are the taggers themselves. And while I understand that it is an agreement amoungst graffiti people, that you don’t deface someone else’s art, it seems that this is rather loosely adhered to.

The shots are arranged in order, beginning from the west and going eastward …

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As I was in a driveway taking the straight-on photo of the ice-cream cones, (by @noheidi), the person who lives there pulled up in his car. He was all smiles and waves, and happy to see me appreciating his cute garage. He was glad to have this work of art on his property.

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^ I previously posted another piece by this artist, over on Adelaide Street, here ^.

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^ I previously posted a photo or a larger piece by the person who did the lady with the hair in her face, over on King Street, here. ^

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I did a previous post showing a different alley where artists are welcomed to paint, so if you’re in the mood to see more, check it out here.

Thanks very much for taking a look. I hope you have a great weekend!
xo loulou

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This entry was posted in Art, Poetry and Theatre, Queen Street West, Streets of Toronto. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Graffiti in the City

  1. Vix says:

    Love these! Breathing life into unloved and overlooked corners of your world. xxx

  2. Hollie says:

    That is seriously some amazing art. I wonder what stops other taggers from painting over other people’s art. Maybe an unspoken code? General courtesy?

  3. Julie says:

    I love seeing good street art, there are some amazing examples all around the city, and I totally support it- way better than the stupid tags, which seem to be so infantile. You’ve got stunning examples here! And i would totally love to have that pink ice cream garage, that rocks. I’d be happy pulling into that, too!

  4. Kaisa says:

    I love street art, but I dislike random (ugly) tagging and as much as I know true street artists don’t approve of that kind of vandalism either. Moreover, “destroying” historic or otherwise “proper” buildings is clearly a crime which also sheds bad light to true artists.

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