“Tag, you’re it!” @ Queen Street West
December 12, 2012 § Leave a comment
The narrow streets around Queen Street West between Spadina Avenue and Bathurst Street are the homes to some of Toronto’s most colourful pieces of public artwork. Located at the heart of Toronto’s former Fashion District, it is here that you will find artworks starting from “tags” – the most basic calligraphy of an artist’s name, to large community murals. While the works of street artists differ from those hung in art galleries, street artists still manage to capture a large audience with their aesthetic forms and messages. For some talented young artists in Toronto, the empty walls of buildings serve as their first canvases. While trying to creatively express their artistic abilities, these artists have turned the alleys connected to Queen Street West into a venue for art appreciation.
In a multicultural city such as Toronto, the images created by artists of different socio-economic and cultural backgrounds appeal to a wide variety of audience of different ethnicities and languages. With the continuous addition of new graffiti, the face of the street is always changing. In a way, the images on the walls are recording current affairs and pop culture as they happen. As much as personal expression, the graffiti is also a tool for education and a form of social expression in the way it highlights social and political issues. Furthermore, the artwork brightens up areas of space that would otherwise be left dull and dingy.
The TTC system makes these tags, graffiti and murals very accessible to the general public. So stop by Queen Street West one day and soak in the colours of Toronto. My favorite piece of work in the area is a colourful mural painted by the Harbourfront Community Centre, located at the intersection of Vanauley Street and Queen Street West. What’s yours?