Spacing‘s very own Shawn Micallef had a piece about the thimble public art piece found at the northeast corner of Richmond and Spadina in the weekend’s Globe and Mail. Click here to read the entire article.
A giant bronze thimble and two concrete buttons: As works of art go, Stephen Cruise’s Uniform Measure/Stack seems pretty well indestructible. But when you leave art in the open, anything can happen. That’s what Mr. Cruise has learned as his public art piece at Spadina and Richmond has received a long-overdue finishing touch — and an unauthorized addition in bright red paint.
But then Victor Fraser came along in September to add his contribution: a 25-metre tape measure, painted on the sidewalk in bright red, that snakes around the street corner. Most passerby assume it’s an official part of the piece and was added along with the trees — but in fact, the paint job is the unsanctioned work of the Toronto sidewalk artist, who signs his paintings “VicTor.”
Mr. Fraser has done paid sidewalk art for various companies, but Torontonians who walk with their heads down are likely more familiar with his “free” work, which includes murals in front of Toronto fire and ambulance stations. Last year, he painted a massive poppy for Remembrance Day in front of Old City Hall. “I enjoy doing tributes that accent the community,” he says.
As for the measuring tape, Mr. Fraser had been planning on it since he first saw the thimble in 1997. “I finally caught up to it,” he says. He spent 25 hours painting it over the course of a few days, before and after his day job managing a downtown building.
Mr. Cruise says his first reaction to Mr. Victor’s unauthorized painting was that “it brought a smile to my face,” adding that “it’s different than graffiti, he did a very good job. He painted it meticulously.” However, Mr. Cruise points out that what was once an element you might discover later on, perhaps while “waiting for the light to change,” the bold measuring tape is now one of the first things you see, and the surprise is gone.
When asked about the invasive nature of his work, Mr. Fraser says “You could call it selfish if you want, but I call it positive manipulation. I had to do it. It teased me and taunted me.” Though amused and a little concerned, Mr. Cruise says his official response for now is simply “I’m thinking about it.”