HEY APATHY! GRAFFITI STREET ART 2006
STREET MURALS & GRAFFITI ARTWORK! The City is a giant gear but it is up to all the strange characters spiraling through it to fuel the machine! Monsters, Commuters, Derelicts and Denizens attempt to coexist amidst the endlessly inescapable routines and all motivated by absurdly unobtainable dreams! A building swallows a street car, one man disappears, and another acquires great wealth but is lost to a hopeless romance courting a small black machine. A horn honks, some metal squeaks, a bird cries and the sidewalk finds the beat; suddenly a saxophone wails from the corner of the street and the city opens its eye, despite the alienation there is something beautiful hiding beneath! In 2006 both the size and the ideas behind my street murals got bigger. I was making large scale performances on Queen Street West and the imagery moved away from individual portraits and started examining the entity of the crowd.
In 2005 I had spent most of the summer making single character portraits but ended the year with first large drawing featuring of the entire city. The spring of 2006 came unusually early and I decided to pick up right were I’d left off. I started the new season by creating a triptych of giant street murals depicting entire metropolitan landscapes complete with buildings and crowds. The new studies measured about 12 x 12 feet and took about three days each to complete. The drawings were all made using a variety of brushes and some quill pens for extra detail. It was really exciting to work on such a large scale and I was having a lot of success meeting all sorts of people along Queen Street West.
As well as the increased size, the street murals also got much more detailed. The new drawings described the metropolis as a monstrous creature collective composed of the crowds emphasizing the interrelationship between all the tiny citizens and the functioning of the metropolis as a whole. Although heavily inspired by my public experiments, this new symbolic subject matter was in fact directly related to my earlier works. In my first drawings (2001) I depicted the city as an ominous gear propelled by an endless sea of faceless denizens. At that time I envisioned the city as a nihilistic conglomeration of misdirected commercial ideologies but was determined to investigate the phenomena more closely. I wanted to answers to the questions; “Who are all these people?” and “What is the City?” As a result of my street art performances I was able to meet face to face with all sorts of people while observing the city and its daily routines. The new street murals still depicted the metropolis as a giant gear only now the crowds were comprised of thousands of unique characters as opposed to hordes of anonymous beings. I continued to explore these ideas throughout the entire summer of 2006.
For the second year in a row several other artists’ accompanied me on Queen West. Many returned from the previous summer and a whole bunch of new people also showed up. The sidewalks were brimming with all sorts of interesting work. The street turned into an outdoor exhibition giving emerging artist’s an exciting venue to let loose. We were getting attention from the public, the press, and from galleries but once again we had also attracted the police. However this time it was different and the officers seemed much more interested in helping. Instead of threatening us with tickets and confiscations, they gave us advice and instructions. They told us about a limited number of licenses that the city issued out to street artists and how to go about getting them. The officers had never mentioned this in previous years but as we gained credibility our relationship changed rather quickly. After that the summer went smoothly and in the fall I was able to open my first studio since 2004.
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