Spray up: Inside Toronto’s graffiti scene
It’s a fact that rings more true in Mayor Rob Ford’s Toronto, as a squad of city inspectors hunt down tags and other graffiti and order property owners to have them removed. Some 2,100 clean-up notices have gone out across the city since Mayor Ford took office. They are causing angst among business owners, some of whom agree with the crackdown, but not that they should pay. Graffiti is illegal in Toronto, unless it is deemed to be a mural by the city — a classification that is open to interpretation.
So, graffiti enthusiasts are holding their breath. To be sure, youngsters with spray cans and a destructive streak scribble on walls for kicks, sometimes disrespecting elders or the unwritten code that says you don’t write on someone else’s work. But there are stretches of downtown alleys and forgotten buildings that have new life thanks to graffiti. Who decides if it’s art, if it’s ugly, if it should be washed away?
“To me, it’s a condition of city life. You live in a big city, you accept that there are traffic jams, the air quality isn’t the best and there’s a bit of trash on the street. Why don’t you accept that there’s a little graffiti?” says the 23-year-old writer, who goes by the name of HONE32. (Photo: Aaron Lynett/National Post)