Sunday, 7 July 2013

The Writing's On The Wall

Normally I don't particularly care for graffiti, however when done right it can be really beautiful and add spots of visual interest to urban areas. While walking downtown this afternoon I came upon a few outdoor areas where the walls have been "enhanced" with graffiti/art and I think they look much better for it. Let me show you what I saw all within a two block area.

On the outside wall of the Tivoli Theatre on James St. N. just north of Wilson St., the blank wall has been converted into an amazing space with fantastic imagery by local artists as part of the Tivoli Theatre Street Art Project. At the end of June, over 30 local artists came out to be part of this initiative to provide an outlet for local artists to engage in legal graffiti and inspire the community. On the main wall facing James Street, you are greeted by a rabbit riding a giant turtle and taking a turn around the corner to the left will show you even further wonders. A narrow alleyway is completely covered on the lower part on the right side and you can walk straight through to Hughson Street in this outdoor art gallery. To learn more about how the initiative started last year, and its goals, visit

If you follow the alley through to Hughson Street and turn right you'll see The Living Rock at the corner of Wilson and Hughson. In the parking lot behind the building is what is left of an art project from the 1990s that is now being partly reclaimed by nature and partly covered for practical purposes. However the graffiti art is still a big part of this urban environment, adding colour and personality to the area.

Walk across the parking lot and back towards Wilson and you'll see that on the side wall of Dr. Disc, on Wilson Street near James St. N., is a bold mural that was done last year by a Montreal group called En Masse. Assisted by some local artists this was commissioned for Supercrawl in September.  The mural will likely be replaced by something else at some point, as some parts are starting to peel off due to water damage. It will be exciting to see what might come next. If you're interested in seeing other work done by En Masse, visit their website at

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