Writing (Graffiti) Toronto's (Hi)Story: Skam Interview

About Street Art

Below is what Wikipedia says about street art in general. Go to the links they are quite good and gives you much more information:

Street art is visual art created in public locations, usually unsanctioned artwork executed outside of the context of traditional art venues. The term gained popularity during the graffiti art boom of the early 1980s and continues to be applied to subsequent incarnations. Stencil graffiti, wheatpasted poster art or sticker art, pop up art and street installation or sculpture are common forms of modern street art. Video projection, yarn bombing and Lock On sculpture became popularized at the turn of the 21st century.[1]

The terms “urban art“, “guerrilla art“, “post-graffiti” and “neo-graffiti” are also sometimes used when referring to artwork created in these contexts.[2] Traditional spray-painted graffiti artwork itself is often included in this category, excluding territorial graffiti or pure vandalism.

Artists who choose the streets as their gallery are often doing so from a preference to communicate directly with the public at large, free from perceived confines of the formal art world.[3] Street artists sometimes present socially relevant content infused with esthetic value, to attract attention to a cause or as a form of “art provocation”.[4]

Street artists often travel between countries to spread their designs. Some artists have gained cult-followings, media and art world attention, and have gone on to work commercially in the styles which made their work known on the streets.

Artwork vs. vandalism

This is the age old debate… is it art or vandalism? Well I guess it really depends on who your talking to.

My father owns a masonry company and he does commercial jobs. I guess taggingif he just completed a store’s brick wall and it looked really good and the customer was happy and then the next day they came by and saw that someone tagged it. (tagging is a graffiti artist signature) I am sure he would be upset and so would the customer. ———–>

nice graffitiNow on the other hand you have this ugly building and then someone tags it with this, big difference.

So the way I see it it all depends on the circumstance and the quality of the art.

In the end it truly is in the “eyes of the beholder!”

There was a lot of debate regarding this issue in Toronto, especially with the past Mayor Rob Ford vowing to remove the city of all its graffiti. The City of Toronto describes graffiti as “One or more letters, symbols, figures, etching, scratches, inscriptions, stains, or other markings that disfigure or deface a structure or thing, howsoever made or otherwise affixed on the structure or thing, but, for greater certainty, does not include an art mural” and defines an art mural as a “mural for a designated surface and location that has been deliberately implemented for the purpose of beautifying the specific location.”

Efforts to curb graffiti

There are many coalitions that have been created to deter and remove graffiti in Toronto. These organizations or groups agree that graffiti has many negative effects on the city. The official website for the City of Toronto has stated that graffiti can promote a belief that community laws protecting property can be disregarded and that graffiti creates a sense of disrespect for property that may result in increase of crime.

The Graffiti Transformation Program is an annual community investment program which hires youth to remove graffiti and resurface the walls with attractive murals. Since the program’s start in 1996, over 9,000 tags have been removed, over 300 sites cleaned, and 430 murals created. The program has provided jobs, training, and skills to approximately 1,276 youth.

The Toronto Police Services have also undertaken the Graffiti Eradication Program which is defined as “a service-wide initiative focusing on the reduction of crime, fear, and disorder as it relates to graffiti.”


The Council of the City of Toronto has also put in place a graffiti bylaw. This bylaw lists definitions, prohibitions, and the cost of the offense. Individuals and businesses under this bylaw must remove graffiti on their property at their own expense or else the city will remove the graffiti for them and send the bill.

How Toronto is Unique in Handling Graffiti & Street Art

It seems that Toronto’s unique way of handling the graffiti – street art situation is “if you can’t beat em join them”… sorta, they still still enforce the anti-graffiti bylaws but they are putting together programs so the street artist can have a legal creative outlet starting with the government run StART program.

Check out their website, they really are making a difference is promoting street art.  http://www1.toronto.ca/wps/portal/contentonly?vgnextoid=bebb4074781e1410VgnVCM10000071d60f89RCRD

Also check out the videos to see what its all about.

Toronto's War on Graffiti Vandalism

Why Street Art?: StreetARToronto, Inspiring Neighbourhoods One Wall At A Time

Pam Am Path

The Pan Am Games are launching July 10th, 2016 and because of this they came up with the Pan Am Path.

The vision of the Pan Am Path is to combine the power of art and sport to create a living path across Toronto. From May 16 to August 15, 2015, the Pan Am Path will come alive with a city-wide relay of art installations and events. Each week, the festival will travel across Toronto to celebrate our city’s greatest assets: diversity, nature and arts.

This is very exciting for street artists and if they are lucky enough to participate their art will be shown to the world.

Check the videos below they are really good.

Pan Am Path