Toronto Through My Lens

Category: Street Art (Page 1 of 5)

Vincent, Murals & Alleyways

Yesterday I thought I might go to Chinatown to shoot the events of the Lunar New Year celebrations at Dundas Steet West and Spadina Avenue (it’s Year of the Dragon, by the way). When I got there I found the Dragon City Mall to be a little too packed for me, so I headed through Chinatown to see what other photo opportunities might present themselves.

Dundas Street West

Walking along Dundas Street West opposite the AGO, I spied Vincent van Gogh in front of the Mayberry Fine Art Gallery at 326 Dundas Street West:

One of the things that made this piece so compelling was its presentation in a three-dimensional perspective. van Gogh’s face is carved and embedded into the rest of the frame; unfortunately the effect doesn’t translate well in a photograph but is still impressive nonetheless.

I always love passing by the Mayberry Gallery as they consistently exhibit such interesting pieces street-side. This recent installment was promoting the Immersive van Gogh Exhibit at the Lighthouse ArtSpace Toronto, located at 1 Yonge Street. More info and tickets here. By all appearances it looks like a great exhibit.

Alleyway Murals

I made a turn on to McCaul Street and headed north. One very short block north of Dundas Street West I encountered a laneway leading off McCaul Street:

I could see quite a bit of colour in the distance so I went further in to check things out… I wasn’t disappointed with my findings:

This van was covered in street art. I guess anything that stood still long enough got the full treatment.
The lane itself is quite unspectacular, but I loved the street art
Exiting the alley, I noticed these hands gracing the side of someone’s garage

Just Off Baldwin Street

Walking further north up McCaul Street, I encountered another scenic laneway just south of Baldwin Street. This alleyway art was not quite as extensive as the previous lane, but interesting all the same.

Clearly, the artist was a Dr. Seuss fan:

The last mural before heading home:

Street Art in Renfrew Place

Renfrew Place sounds like a posh street but in actuality is a back alley. It’s located one block north of Queen Street West and runs between Simcoe Street and John Street:

An interesting and colourful segment of Renfrew Place is the small section between St. Patrick Street and McCaul Street, which is where I captured these images:

Crossing McCaul Street and moving toward John Street, the alley is a little bland at first but becomes more interesting and colourful as you progress further west:

The Green Glow of Renfrew Place

As I moved further west down Renfrew Place I became aware that everything was bathed in this odd green light. The green glow in these shots is from the setting sun reflecting off the green exterior of the Umbra building on the corner of Renfrew Place and John Street. It was late afternoon when I took these shots, so the slowly setting sun was strong, illuminating everything in the alley and turning it green:

More Elicser

If you’ve been following TO Cityscapes for a while you’ll find the occasional post about the very talented Toronto street artist Elicser. I’m a big fan of his urban art. His style is instantly identifiable and his murals can be found in so many interesting spots in the city. I was pleased to find some more of the man’s work in this alley.

If you’re interested in reading some of my previous posts featuring Elicser’s mural art, please check out the posts below:

Barbara Barrett Lane

Barbara Barrett Lane is located just south of Bloor Street West, running between Brunswick Avenue…

Read More

“Apple Alley”

I call this street art site Apple Alley because of its location: the first alley…

Read More

Alleyway Art

I discovered this street art in an alley off King Street West, east of Strachan…

Read More

Continuing On…

The colours of these Elicser murals may seem a little odd but, again, the alley was bathed in a strong reflected light from the Umbra building on John Street:

And here is the very building which was casting the unusual green light on the alley

Renfrew Place terminates at John Street. Just before exiting the alley to John Street, a couple more Elicser murals can be found:

Looking back at Renfrew Place from Queen Street West, one more Elicser mural can be found atop the building. Note the Umbra building in the background, responsible for casting such an interesting green glow on the alley.

Banksy at One York

Today we look at Banksy’s Guard with Balloon Dog.

Banksy is the pseudonym of a UK-based street artist, political activist and film director, whose real name and identity remain unconfirmed and the subject of speculation. Active since the 1990s, Banky’s satirical street art and subversive epigrams combine dark humour with graffiti executed in a distinctive stencilling technique.

His works of political and social commentary have appeared on streets, walls and bridges throughout the world. Like Toronto’s own Elicser, Banksy’s art has a style which is instantly recognizable.

Here in Toronto we are fortunate to have his Guard with Balloon Dog (2010). It used to be on the exterior of what was formerly OPP headquarters in downtown Toronto. The building was torn down to make way for residential and commercial towers, but a section of the wall with the art was saved. Menkes, the company who redeveloped the site at One York Street, preserved the concrete slab and it now has a permanent home on the mezzanine level of One York Street.

There used to be 7 Banksy works scattered around Toronto, but several were destroyed or painted over. Now only two exist, including Guard With Balloon Dog.

Everything you could ever want to know about Banksy is located here.

Shooting “Guard with Balloon Dog” at One York Street

Here are some examples of Banksy’s work (disclaimer: only the first image is mine):

I came across this piece while I was visiting St. Austell in the UK. The work resides on a door beside the Cafe Tengo. If it’s not a genuine Banksy, it’s a great imitation.

Wilson Heights, Part 3: Yorkdale Murals

This is the third and last instalment of a 3-part post focusing on some of the murals and artwork in the Wilson Heights area of the city. Here, we visit some community artwork just outside of Yorkdale Mall.

These murals were created several years ago and I’m afraid that time and tide have taken a toll on many of them as they are quite faded and fragmented. The murals can be found on the outside of the north subway entrance into Yorkdale Mall.

I couldn’t find too much information on this particular Art Start project; the listed website on the murals is no longer active. I did, however, source some information on the Art Starts organization in general, courtesy of their website.

Art Starts is a program benefiting thousands of people living in marginalized Toronto neighbourhoods by providing a safe, supportive and inclusive environment for self-expression and creative collaboration.

The organization affords opportunities for vulnerable people of all ages to contribute to the creative ecology of their neighbourhoods, using the arts to help end the negative cycles associated with marginalization and poverty.

Art Starts nurtures local talent, beautifies public spaces and provides safe, inclusive environments for self-expression and collaboration.

I believe many of the subjects in these murals were the actual artists from the neighbourhood.

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