Friday, 6 July 2018

GRAFFITI ALLEY, A PUBLIC COLLECTION

COLLECTIONS CORNER

BY KATLYN WOODER

Graffiti Alley, found behind Queens Street, between Spadina and Portland Street, is as the name suggests an alley filled with a collection of graffiti. On these sunny days in July, it is a perfect day trip to look at one of Toronto's large collections of public art. A collection that is always evolving, and reacting to every day, city life.

If you are familiar with Toronto, then you know that graffiti isn’t isolated to this alleyway. These are some of the images I captured walking to Graffiti Alley from the UofT Campus (sniff it's just so beautiful to see art be so prolific sniff/anime tears).

Photos of Graffiti seen while walking to Graffiti Alley:
Photo courtesy of Katlyn Wooder


Photo courtesy of Katlyn Wooder


Photo courtesy of Katlyn Wooder


Photo courtesy of Katlyn Wooder
(You'll see a lot of these birds in the Alley as well. Its fun to look around Toronto and spot an artists motif even if you can't spot the actual artist in the crowd.)

Photo courtesy of Katlyn Wooder

End of Graffiti photos before Graffiti Alley

What makes the alley way interesting to look at as a collection, is that it is an extended space, with layers of artwork built up over a long period of time, and the artwork found in there is understood to be artwork by a large portion of the people who live in and visit Toronto.

A friend was kind enough to come with me on this trip, and we had an interesting conversation about graffiti art, and whether it is considered rebellious or mainstream. Graffiti used to be seen as an act of aggression to the social norm, a way of breaking with the expected social regulations, and showing alternative narratives in areas where people felt marginalized or ignored. Do you think Graffiti is vandalism or art? or does it depend on how good the artwork is? (write a comment to share your opinion ;))

I think most graffiti is artwork, whether it is good artwork is another matter entirely. I find that graffiti often livens up the streets of Toronto, especially in the grey month of February. However, it wasn't long ago that all graffiti was considered alternative culture. To have a space dedicated to this type of culture is a sign of shifting cultural norms.

There are now areas in Toronto where graffiti is expected and accepted... a tourist destination. So if graffiti isn't an act of rebellion what is it? and what areas is graffiti expected to appear? Does graffiti act as a public museum where artists can converse directly with the public? An expression of Toronto's culture painted right onto the walls of our city? or just an unremarkable byproduct of humans nature wanting to impact our living environment?

Either way, graffiti is one of the few types of art that is accessible to everyone, all you need to do is be physically present to look at it. Hmmm... let’s circumvent that, and I’ll show you some highlights of my visit.

Graffiti Alley Photo's starting at Spadina
Photo courtesy of Katlyn Wooder
Photo courtesy of Katlyn Wooder


Photo courtesy of Katlyn Wooder


Photo courtesy of Katlyn Wooder


Photo courtesy of Katlyn Wooder

Photo courtesy of Katlyn Wooder

Photo courtesy of Katlyn Wooder
Photo courtesy of Katlyn Wooder
Photo courtesy of Katlyn Wooder
Photo courtesy of Katlyn Wooder (this is a favorite of mine)

Photo courtesy of Katlyn Wooder
Photo courtesy of Katlyn Wooder
Photo courtesy of Katlyn Wooder (we've all had these days)
Photo courtesy of Katlyn Wooder
Photo courtesy of Katlyn Wooder

Photo courtesy of Katlyn Wooder
Photo courtesy of Katlyn Wooder
Photo courtesy of Katlyn Wooder
Photo courtesy of Katlyn Wooder

Photo courtesy of Katlyn Wooder
Photo courtesy of Katlyn Wooder
Photo courtesy of Katlyn Wooder
Photo courtesy of Katlyn Wooder
Photo courtesy of Katlyn Wooder
Photo courtesy of Katlyn Wooder

Photo courtesy of Katlyn Wooder
End of Graffiti Alley Photos

I tend to have a preference for character work, my love a cartoons shines in my image section. There is a lot of tagging, with great font selection and crisp edges, that I didn't think to memorialize (personal fail). One of the great things of this alley way, is that there isn't an explanation, just a bunch of artists doing their best to visually convey their talent.

Graffiti alley is an collection that changes and grows. What's there now might not be there tomorrow. So, if you want to see some beautiful art in Toronto, and emerge into a vibrant area full of good restaurants, I would encourage you to go down to see this corner of Toronto for yourself.

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