TORONTO’S muralists and street artists are giving utility boxes a shiny new face. PHOTOS BELOW – “Yorkvillians”, Hazelton Avenue at Davenport Road, Lee Sjastrom; “Skyscraper Gardens” and “Cardinals and Butterflies”, Isabella Street, Dan Walsh and Dan Buckley.
Below, two others by unidentified artists . . .
When three artists from the Essencia Art Collective unveiled their Lawrence Avenue West underpass creation some locals weren’t entirely pleased. A few found it scary – and as usual in this town – city council got involved.
Councillor FRANK DI GIORGIO: “On public space I think, for myself, it should be a little more picturesque. I don’t think you take underpasses as a place where you try to communicate artistic messages. You’re trying to beautify things.”
Artist FIYA BRUXA, co-designer of the mural: “It’s an ode to Mother Earth, to all of Earth’s beautiful creatures and magical realism.” GILDA MONREAL (also known as Fiya Bruxa) said it’s meant to convey a warning about climate change and environmental destruction.
The opposite wall of the underpass, also painted by the Collective, is bright and cheery. No controversy there. Over 2,000 people signed a petition to keep both murals.
TORONTO is one of several large cities on the shores of a vast fresh-water inland sea known as The Great Lakes. This summer a group of local and international artists inaugurated a ‘Love Letter to the Great Lakes’ street-art festival. Using West Queen West and Spadina/Queen back alleys, as well as pillars supporting Don Valley Parkway and Gardiner Expressway ramps, they painted art – which hopefully will connect with all of us.
The Great Lakes are a national treasure. They deserve our love.
The 20 murals were made possible with money from the PangeaSeed Foundation, which has done “sea wall” murals in oceanside communities in Mexico, Grenada and New Zealand.