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Canadian Graffiti?


Kaidy Mae
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Bonjour everyone! I was wondering if any of you out there know of any really cool, positive graffiti (in Ontario) that I may be able to use in a new photography series I'm working on? *Lookin' at you Toronto folks* ;) Anything goes...bridges/buildings/bathrooms/urban/rural...you get the idea. If you have any suggestions, please let me know. Thanks everyone! :D

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Hahaha! Thanks BradM. Too bad those ones are gone. The "centre piece" of this series is on an old, green CN Railway bridge that runs over Hwy 12. Someone has turned the "CN" portion into an "O" and "V" to create the word "LOVE". There are two little white hearts painted at each end of the bridge as well.

I've loved that graffiti since I was small and thought it was really cool for CN or the township to not paint over it (yet?). It's so refreshing to read something that doesn't promote drugs, guns or bitches. OMG, how progressive! :P Not that I have anything against drugs or bitches...but guns I can live without.

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Hey KM,

I read this article in Feb... pretty interesting so I dug it up for you... I've seen this graffiti all around Toronto...

from eye magazine - 02.10.05

Who loves us, baby?

VARIOUS LOCATIONS -- Sharon Harris can never be told "I love you" too many times, or by too many people. It's not because she's needy or insecure or confused. It's her job.

When Harris moved to Toronto in 1992 in her early twenties, she wanted to be a poet. "I wrote these Christian Bök-style love poems," she says, "but they were always very bad. It was like, 'Oh, look -- another love poem. Great.'"

But then, one day in 2001, Harris was walking along Harbord Street and saw some graffiti that -- it's cheesy but entirely true to say -- changed her life forever. All it said, in simple blue letters, was "I Love You."

"When I saw those words," Harris says, "it felt like my life had fallen into place."

The same tag, she found out, hadn't just been sprayed on Harbord, but on dozens of locations across town: from Spadina to Keele, from the Gardiner Expressway up to St. Clair Avenue. It was in alleys, on main streets, under bridges, at bus stops, on school walls, at subway stations -- everywhere, I Love You I Love You I Love You, in the same blue spray paint, in the same handwriting.

"I was obsessed," Harris says. "I started taking photographs of every tag. Friends would call me if they saw a new one. Once, I was so excited to find an I Love You outside Christie station, I crossed the road and got hit by a truck."

Harris has now posted 102 separate tag photos on her website, www.iloveyougalleries.com, along with a map and walking tour. (She found the latest one at Spadina and Bloor, by the streetcar tunnel, last fall.)

Three years ago, Harris even met Stephen, the father of her seven-month-old child, when he showed her an I Love You on Keele and Dundas. "He's very supportive of this," she says.

Recently, Harris -- who's finally preparing her own volume of poetry -- has also begun to look at the concept of "I Love You" as a cultural study, researching how the phrase reoccurs in art, music, literature and, most of all, in kitsch. She's given a talk on the subject at Jay MillAr's speakEasy reading series, and is researching a book on the subject.

"I've found some really tacky, horrible things," Harris says. "A lot from eBay. Every kind of stuffed animal you can imagine. A cartoon stamp from Korea that says 'I Love You.' A little magnet that says 'Of course I love you, now get me a beer.' A picture of Christ on the cross with his arms outstretched, and the caption 'I Love You... this much.'"

The identity of her graffiti artist remains elusive, however. "I'd love to find out who did them," Harris says. "But then again, maybe I'm better off not knowing -- to keep it as this mysterious message of universal love.

"And of course," she says, "it could just be some guy stalking his girlfriend."

wanderingeye.JPG

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There is an alley that runs parallel to Queen W St in Toronto just south of it from about Spadina over to Bathurst that has dozens of incredible tags. I havn't been by in some time so they may be gone by now, but holy cow are there some incredible, detailed and beautiful tags in that alley.

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My favourite (long-gone by now) used to be in the St. George TTC station. Underneath a sign that read

Exit St. George

someone had scrawled

Enter the Dragon

(It's a two-way pun, combining both St. George and Bruce Lee's most famous movie.)

Aloha,

Brad

post of the day :) i've been giggling about this ever since reading it this morning. thanks for brightening up a monday, brad!! and good luck with the grafitti project km, i'll keep my eyes open...

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also in just about every alley in between Bathurst and Spadina along queen st.(mostly along the north side)
There is an alley that runs parallel to Queen W St in Toronto just south of it from about Spadina over to Bathurst that has dozens of incredible tags. I havn't been by in some time so they may be gone by now, but holy cow are there some incredible, detailed and beautiful tags in that alley.

I was going to post about that alley too...I worked in an office on Richmond all last year, the building backed onto that alley. We'd all be out smoking and I'd check out some of the awesome tags. There's a lot of shit back there too, wannabes and such, but worth looking at for sure. I remember lots of detailed caricature drawings of people behind my office.

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Wow! Thanks everyone. That certainly helps.

Mary, that article is great...thanks so much for digging it up for me. I'm going to seach for some of those "I love yous".

KevO, how have I missed Heavyweight all these years? :o That Noam Chomsky is awesome! :)

I don't know if any of you Queen West folks remember about 5 years or so ago when the Candy Lofts and other yuppie meccas were being built on the south side of Queen. There was a billboard at street level that I'd go past on the streetcar every day. The computer-generated image on the billboard of a pristine new highrise taunted those of us commuting in from Parkdale. Certainly it wasn't a condo that many kids from the west end could easily or ever afford. While stopped at a light one morning, brain still on auto pilot, I looked up to see scrawled in black spraypaint, "There goes the neighbourhood" across the image of the building that was soon to invade the prized seediness of the west end. Still one of my favourites.

Thanks again everyone! Please keep me posted if you see/remember anything else. I'm hoping to have a gallery up at the end of the summer/beginning of fall. You guys rock!!! :D

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Kind of funny, if not really helpful for your purposes, KM - I was in a stall in the University College building yesterday, and in addition to all the usual scribblings concerned with bodily effluent was the better part of a wall's-worth of debates over the existence of God. Unfortunately, it had been half-scrubbed away, which was a damned shame - it's rare that people use graffiti to actually think and converse. Maybe it's an internet effect.

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Oooh, thanks Dave! I especially want to get some funky, low light bathroom graffiti. Perhaps a trip to Grossman's is in order. I haven't been there in years, but the ladies' (and I use that term very loosely) room always had great prose on the wall. I think the "To be, or not to be" which was eventually followed up with a "Do be do be doooo" was the funniest in there.

Edit to add: LR, those are sweet! Thank you. I especially like the barcode one. :)

Edited by Guest
Just saw LR's post
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