Best of 2006: graffiti

Graffiti has become the wallpaper of urban life as much of it tends to blend into the city landscape. But a creative person has been doing some fabulous stencil-cutouts and posting them around the downtown core and west-side neighbourhoods over the last month and a half of 2006. Outside of the controversial “Drake You Ho” tag from late 2005, I can’t remember a graffiti piece (in this case pieces) that’s had so many tounges wagging outside the graf artist scene.

I love this form of graffiti because of the time, energy and thought that has gone into the installations. It also challenges viewers to think of the ever-expanding nuances of the graffiti art world — the police try to portray graffiti as an extension of gangs, but the scene encompasses a wide variety of styles and techniques. It is very difficult to lump this type of work into the same category as a young kid who tags his nickname on to a wall for vain and selfish reasons.

Bell Box Project

The other graffiti-inspired art project from 2006 is the Bell Box project initiated by Councillor Joe Pantelone’s office and the urban arts organization Style in Progress. Over 40 of these telephone switcher boxes were converted into a canvas for local artists to showcase their talents. While I recognize that part of the allure of graffiti is the risk and excitement of doing something covert, this project shows you can still produce interesting graffiti art even if the powers that be give you permission.

photo by Martin Reis


  1. Sweet! I hadn’t seen the first three cutouts (though I had come across some of the Bell Boxes), but I can tell you that the fourth one of the police woman is by my friend Posterchild, who keeps a log of his Toronto stencils online. He’s currently running a how-to series, but you can see the police woman and the original stencil here:

    kapow! This is great because it means that it’s more than one person doing these stencils.

  2. The cut outs seem to be more a fashion image than a statement. That kind of thing bugs me, but better to see that blank space or ads.

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