There is nothing like a bit of sunshine to warm up the walls and bring our street artists back outside! In the last couple of weeks, I have been so happy to have been invited down to shoot some fantastic work in and around the city of Toronto.
As with many other diverse and populated cities, artists all around are actively involved in beautification projects, designed to help rebuild communities and turn what is not very nice, into something inviting. I would like to share with you some of the best local artists in this city, and feature some of their incredible artwork, designed to help improve and make the neighborhoods look pretty.
Shalak Attack is a Canadian-Chilean artist that lives in Toronto with her husband and collaborator, Bruno Smoky. I have bumped into her work again and again across the city and have always been amazed by her unique color choices and design.
In her artwork, she blends the traditional mural designs with modern day graffiti. Her incredible brilliant and vibrant color choices work to create these amazing fictional characters that are definitely her own. It is evident that this artist seeks to collaborate with other local artists and communities to help evolve not just her style, but the communities she beautifies.
Jarus is an amazing muralist, that often takes my breath away with his images. He usually paints realistic and beautiful women, sometimes partially dressed, and places them surrounded by vibrant colors on walls located in various areas of the city. I am always happily surprised to find his work.
The interesting bit about Jarus is that he just doesn’t stick his paint on walls. Often you can find his work on the side of a train! Admittedly, I haven’t photographed many train yards in my time, but I am happy to say that I have seen his work whiz by as I was passing one of the many tracks in the city.
Just looking at the prettiness of his murals, you can see that this artist cares about his work and ensuring that it adds to the beauty of its surroundings. I am looking so forward to the time when I meet up with him. He promised that it would be coming soon! I just hope that he lets me take his picture while he is painting!
Elicser is arguably one of Toronto’s greatest loved graffiti and street artists. With his distorted skylines, tree houses, and figures that are disproportioned, his outdoor work began when he graduated from Sheridan College in illustration. Fast forward several years, and this artist has graced many media covers, as well as being featured in the Toronto Jazz Festival and at the Harbourfront Centre.
He not only contributes to beautifying the city, but he also has been part of Art Gallery of Ontario‘s , Free After Three program, teaching youths about creating art with aerosol. Essentially he tries to empower youth to recreate spaces using their own talent. I once had a candid conversation with him by the installation at Keele Street, and told him that I was going to visit his class. I still have yet to follow up, but after reviewing him again, I believe it is definitely worth signing up for it, soon!
Its a bird! No, it is a plane! Actually, it is a chicken. I absolutely love the energy of Uber 5000‘s work. His bright colors and happy-go-lucky vibe always comes through in his murals.
Whether it is a utility box, or on top of a roof, Uber 5000 keeps his chicken hopping all over the city of Toronto. I think the most notable areas I have seen this bird have been in Kensington Market and along Bloor Street.
Uber 5000 also is very much into community building. He clearly works with the other graffiti artists in the city to help make it a nicer place to live. He tries hard to ensure each collaboration is authentic and communicates meaning, in a positive manner. I haven’t met him yet, but I look forward to the day when I can watch him paint some of these amazing happy creatures!
There are many other local graffiti artists that are worthy of being mentioned in this article. I will definitely come back to it in the near future, because I find their work quite inspirational. As the spring weather warms everything up, it will be so much easier to capture a picture or two, because these artists are all about the beauty and helping to build communities with their art. I look forward to finding their murals soon, and seeing just how pretty they are making the city’s neighborhoods.