Transformation can’t occur without rest and respite. We all need a break sometimes. Some time and space for regeneration. I gifted myself a dose recently.
I visited Toronto for the first time in decades. This was my gift – for myself and for two close friends who I’d never met IRL. What a treat to step out of the Hollywood Squares Zoom box and into 3D, where we could have a meal and a hug!
When I arrived, my first stop was Graffiti Alley. This choice was odd enough to prompt curiosity from one of those friends: “Why was that your top priority?” I had to stop and think.
It’s true that I only had an hour to kill before meeting said friend for dinner. It’s also true that I needed a long walk after my 1-hour flight required 8 hours of hassle-filled travel (oy, what a mess international travel is these peri-pandemic days!). But I also wanted to fill up on local art – beauty, creativity, culture clash, political outcry – and nothing identifies a place quite like the graffiti and murals that decorate its streets.
There’s a simplicity and ease to this type of art exhibit that we all need at times. Street art is often complex yet uncomplicated. It’s open 24/7. No tickets (or funds) required. You can stand and stare as long as you like, typically without being jostled by crowds of tourists confined to small, quiet, white-washed rooms. In graffiti, I often discover budding artists, while many murals are created by up-and-coming or already famous-in-their-field masters.
And the setting is sublime. No blank confined spaces here. I get a feel for the personality of a place just by viewing its artists’ output in context.
Most notably, this is art I can enjoy without deep analysis. I can simply soak it in. Even when it’s ugly or angry, it provides a kind of emotional relief for me.
So, today I’m sharing some of my faves from my vast collection of street art photos over the years. I hope it will bring you, too, some welcome respite.
This will be a shock for you, dear readers. There are very few words below 🙀 🎨 📸
Let’s start in Toronto’s Graffiti Alley. Located in a youthful neighborhood, with lots of clubs and casual restaurants, the alley was also gritty and strewn with trash. Now that I’ve traversed the city, I've decided that Graffiti Alley exemplifies Toronto's out-of-control expansion: cool vibe, construction everywhere, uniquely designed parks on every corner, and some form of art in every direction. If you visit, don’t limit yourself to graffiti alley. There are gorgeous murals everywhere.