We Kill You (and you'll like it)
Ok, for a moment, let's forget that "The Banksy Effect" has come to refer to the inflated market value of salable street art. And to eschew the oxymoron of consumable street art, I will hereby refer to it as urban art (because people just get so itchy about the term lowbrow).
The Banksy Effect, to most artists, refers to a jumping off point - the time in their life when they discovered other venues for their artwork. Consequently, the streets became a rather novel place to put them up.
Cue the droves of artists that packed their bags full of posters, stickers, cans, bottles of wheat paste and a few Krinks, and you have the other side of the Banksy Effect. Now, let's reel this in to its effects on Toronto and among these droves, we find a young guy who goes by the handle, We Kill You.
Subtle by no means, he's been around for several years now, decorating your urban space and making a teensy resin toy army behind your backs. Now he wants to
kill you take your money.
Justin Pape, the artist behind We Kill You opened his current show, "I Lose Track of My Mind Sometimes" last night at Gordon Daniel Gallery.
In effect were some of Justin's typical pieces. Portraits on broken skate decks, part of his "The greatest humans ever invented..." stream. Check. Hand-moulded resin toy monsters of all shapes and colours. Check. Murals on the gallery walls. Check. It was all there, and more. Justin has honed some solid talent with a variety of materials, which is refreshing. I can't help but project from there, all of the future possibilities for his work. Will he branch into film like Thomas Campbell and Alex Pardee or will he refine his toy fetish to the heights of Tristan Eaton? I like catching fresh talents at their beginnings just to see this sort of progress in action.
Gordon Daniel Gallery is a tight squeeze of a multi-room space. And it fills up fast so bonus points go to those who arrived in time for unobstructed views of the show. Its fair points are that the nooks and crannies work for a show like this, where you expect a few surprises lurking around the corners. And though I didn't witness any sales on-site (receptions aren't generally the best selling platform, unless you're prying drunk wallets with an open bar) the pieces are all priced to sell. So, to all involved: dust off your hands and pat yourselves on the back. Shepard Fairey wont be moving over any time soon but it's nice to know that urban art has a fighting chance in this city.
"I Lose Track of My Mind Sometimes" by We Kill You runs until April 28th, at the Gordon Daniel Gallery (460 Parliament Street, in the heart of Cabbagetown).
Lead in image by Arkan Zakharov