Tuesday, October 21, 2014Light Rain Shower 7°C
Arts

10 Toronto graffiti writers worth knowing about

Posted by Guest Contributor / August 10, 2012

Toronto Graffiti ArtistsDespite a promised crackdown on vandalism under Mayor Rob Ford, Toronto's graffiti scene is thriving. As more and more people take an interest in the street art that surrounds them, the number of writers continues to expand (at what some less sympathetic readers might call an alarming rate). For those who have a budding interest in graffiti, but don't know much about who's behind the throw-ups and murals that dot our back alleys and railway corridors, here's a quick guide to 10 Toronto graffiti writers worth keeping an eye out for.

It's worth noting, of course, that this list is subjective and focuses on the writers who have been most visible to me, a journalist and non-graffiti writer, in 2012. This is not explicitly a top 10 list, and there are many excellent writers in T.O. who I couldn't fit into this post.

1. KWEST
KWESTPronounced "Quest," some of the best graffiti in the city will be adorned with this name. His recent work in Kensington market is, in my esteem, the most accomplished graffiti art in Toronto right now.

KWESTRemember that he works free hand with a spray can. Seen more legibly in the burners above ("K-W-E-S-T"), KWEST is best known for writing his 5-letter tag in a complex style of interwoven letters known as "Wildstyle." KWEST values his privacy, though, so don't expect to see anything but his artwork in the years to come.

2. ANSER
ANSERANSER's faces are unmistakable, irreplaceable. At their best, they're mysterious and erotic. Known as the "Mysterious Date," these faces show off ANSER's ability to fuse "high art" portrait techniques with street-graffiti bombing tactics. Perhaps unsurprisingly, his work has also made it into gallery settings from time to time.

ANSERANSER

3. SKAM
SKAMThis elder statesmen of the local graffiti scene is one of the best known writers in Toronto. Influenced by classic New York City hip hop and BBoy cultures, SKAM (and his boys SIGHT, REN, WISPER, + members of the HSA and DOH crews) dominate large parts of Toronto's famous Graffiti Alley with consistently crisp and pristine piecework. They've also got several walls in Kensington, Parkdale, Bloor & Ossington, Little Italy, and beyond.

SKAMSKAMSKAM's paid his dues and commands respect from Toronto's younger generation of graffiti writers. While a lot of writers retire in their 20s, he's painted for over 20 years and is still going strong, mostly sticking to large, vibrant alley pieces. You know the spray painted satellite dish on the wall of the CHUM-CITY parking lot? That's him.

4. 56 & the KPS Crews
KPS CrewGraffiti writers usually belong to at least one crew, that is, a group of buddies who paint together, and watch each other's backs in the field. The overlapping 56 and KPS crews are currently the throw-up kings of the city, amongst other things.

KPS CrewKPS CrewWhile your average naysayer dismisses this stuff — and perhaps for good reason — I love bubble letter throw-ups. Using one colour to fill in the letters and a second as outline, there's a definite skill in doing these efficiently, illegally, and consistently in difficult-to-access locations.

SPS CrewKPS Crew

5. SPUD
SPUDTowering over Toronto this year was that notorious graffiti-propagandist, SPUD. Last winter, he targeted Rob Ford's anti-graffiti bylaws by putting up an effigy of the mayor around town, which ultimately led to a gallery show at Don't Tell Mama.

SPUD GraffitiSPUD GraffitiUnfortunately, though, the political impetus behind his art provoked a severe retaliation from the city, who targeted SPUD's work and got rid of many of his block letter pieces. My sources tell me SPUD's left town for a while to regroup.

SPUD graffitiAnd yet, SPUD may yet get the last laugh. Rob Ford's approval rating is down, and the graffiti file can't have helped. By overzealously enforcing his anti-graffiti bylaws, the mayor has shot himself in the foot with property owners, who resent being forced to clean up graffiti at their own expense.

6. ELICSER
Elicser graffiti torontoELICSER's stylized portraits are a staple of Toronto's downtown graffiti scene. The most prominent display of ELICSER's skill is in and around Graffiti Alley (just South of Queen West, between Spadina and Strachan). Here, dozens of his finest pieces can be found. Alternately dark, mysterious, brooding, and beautiful, it's hard to imagine T.O.'s graffiti scene without ELICSER's stunning and affective portraits.

Elicser  graffiti torontoElicser Graffiti TorontoInfluenced by Mexican painter Frida Kahlo, ELICSER blends conceptual, "high art" portraiture techniques with graffiti-writing aesthetics. While his biggest single mural — which spans an entire city block of Graffiti Alley — isn't necessarily his most technically accomplished work, the vast majority of ELICSER's stuff is just excellent.

7. POSER
POSER Graffiti TorontoOver 2012, Toronto has witnessed POSER's bunnies multiply around town. Appearing in a prime location under a bridge near Roncesvalles, this massive POSER bunny (below) is pretty fresh, and suggests another mating season may be at hand.

2012810-POSER2.jpg2012810-POSER3.jpg"Breeding like rabbits," as it were, his iconic graffiti bunnies are edgy and playful (and are excellent examples of the "Bambi goes downtown" effect described by Nick Mount in The Walrus).

POSER Graffiti

8. Joel Richardson
JOEL Richardson TorontoJoel Richardson is one of Toronto's more eccentric street artists. A filmmaker and mixed media artist, Joel is most famous for his stencils and poster art, and is often seen about Toronto in character with a suit and tie. Over the past few years, Joel's slowly transformed a Junction railway underpass (near Dupont and Lansdowne) into a massive mock-shrine to the excesses of market capitalism. For those of you with an interest in street art, a pilgrimage to this wall is a must.

Joel RichardsonJoel Richardson.Joel's got some interesting events coming up too; for more info, check out his website.

9. LISTEN

LISTEN Graffiti TorontoLISTEN has been very successful over the past few years in getting this human-sized throw-up of a bird up around the city. I've seen his birds everywhere: on doors, walls, alleys, mail boxes, dumpsters, pay phones — even on the soap dispenser at Luna Café. These two, below, have been up for a while and are in excellent locations.

LISTENLISTEN Graffiti

10. GOON

GOOn Graffiti TorontoI'm always happy to see a new GOON pop up. Alternately known as GOONONE, GEWN, and JEWN, GOON mixes letter-based graffiti with a variety of different cartoon faces, usually with their tongue or teeth hanging out. GOON's got pretty good coverage around Toronto, and is recognizable to both graffiti writers and non-specialists.

GOON Graffiti TorontoWriting and photographs by Guest Contributor

Discussion

153 Comments

mike in parkdale / August 10, 2012 at 10:53 am
user-pic
Not a bad little writeup, but some of the most talented artists that are active in the city haven't made the list.

Art Child, Bacon, Case, Water, Wysper... (does Causr still live here?)

At least the list gave Kwest the top spot - anything less would be a mistake.
10 people worth arresting... / August 10, 2012 at 10:53 am
user-pic
...should have been the title.
Ricky / August 10, 2012 at 10:55 am
user-pic
Hey SPUD, if you're reading this, can you do us a favour and just quit? You suck.

I love graffiti and can't imagine living in a city without it, and I get really enjoy seeing the work of these other artists bringing life to what would otherwise be bare concrete walls.

But I'd rather see a bare wall than your name written in block letters. It's shit like yours that gives more talented grafitti artists a bad name.
theoadorno / August 10, 2012 at 11:17 am
user-pic
would love to know more about the 'artist' that just tagged my house on Roncesvalles. namely his name and home address...

grafitti is vandalism perpetrated by low-culture trash. calling it art is a vulgarization of the discipline.

blogto's continue promotion of this criminal behavior is infuriating and irresponsible. what's next? blogto's "10 Toronto crack-whores worth knowing about?"
Martin Reis / August 10, 2012 at 11:21 am
user-pic
Great list. I also like 'Things'.
dariat28 / August 10, 2012 at 11:23 am
user-pic
REN! Common really? He should be FIRST and he is not even on the list.
hellebelle / August 10, 2012 at 11:25 am
user-pic
does anyone know who does the yellow birds? i've seen some in the alley south of queen west of bathurst.

also, not graffiti-related but perhaps of a street-art theme, i love the red or yellow hearts with smiley faces stapled onto hydro poles or any sort of pole. i have no idea who does these but whenever i pass by one it puts a smile on my face.
Fred / August 10, 2012 at 11:30 am
user-pic
Who the hell wrote this post?
They are obviously not from TO and don't know jack about graff.

Hipsters now down with graff?

When I read posts like this, it always reminds me that I don't think anyone from BlogTO is actually from TO. Leaving in Roncy for 5 years does not count.

Real hip hop forever.
jeff replying to a comment from theoadorno / August 10, 2012 at 11:31 am
user-pic
Especially when you are stuck with the bill to clean it up/paint over it.

I do like the look of spray paint art but only when it is endorsed by the property owner or in areas where it is legal/promoted like in the grafitti area in Brooklyn. We should have a public grafitti area in Toronto and a strict crack down on the vandals defacing property without permission. (not on property owners, but, on the vandals...)
Phocatopher / August 10, 2012 at 11:33 am
user-pic
Love graffiti! Can anyone tell me where the first photo for 56 & the KPS Crew is located? Wanna check it out
AV replying to a comment from Fred / August 10, 2012 at 11:35 am
user-pic
BlogTO has essentially become a site for college kids and this article is just another example of the direction its going. If you need more confirmation just read any review written by Melody Brown

I'm guessing Peter is "just another hipster with a camera".. check out his blog:

http://graffete.wordpress.com/
Josephine replying to a comment from hellebelle / August 10, 2012 at 11:37 am
user-pic
His name is Uber5000!
Tdubs / August 10, 2012 at 11:59 am
user-pic
Haters gonna hate. You cant really blame people for their negative feelings towards graf, theyre just poor victims. On the other hand, They are also irrelevant. No matter how much they gripe and moan about getting their hands on the punk who tagged their garage, graffiti will never stop. its a fact of life in the city and looking towards embracing the most positive elements of the culture is the only real option for mitigating the negative.

I also agree this piece highlights some wack-ass chumps and skips over some Toronto legends. Acknowledging the crews that have pioneered and defined the culture would have made more sense, to me. HSA, KWOTA/TDV, BSM and DOH would have made sense. More recently GH. There are some half decent artists in KPS but generally they are garbage eating shitbirds (and proud of it), with no talent.

my 2 cents.

hellebelle replying to a comment from Josephine / August 10, 2012 at 12:00 pm
user-pic
thanks josephine! i love those little guys, they always look so joyful.
Miroslav Glavic / August 10, 2012 at 12:00 pm
user-pic
Someone should go with a purple spray paint can and spray all over these graffiti "art". Just saying
The answer / August 10, 2012 at 12:40 pm
user-pic
Beautiful and legal, now you can all live in peace....

http://ossingtonvillage.com/2012/08/ossington-lane-way-art-project-benefits/

Rob / August 10, 2012 at 12:42 pm
user-pic
http://streetarttoronto.wordpress.com
Rob / August 10, 2012 at 12:44 pm
user-pic
I recognize the inherent hypocrisy in 'appreciating' graffiti as art or what have you. I have the luxury of not living in an area of Toronto where my place of residence is likely to be vandalized. That said, I do enjoy the 'art' and documenting it is a hobby. Hate/love it, what have you. It's there and I photograph it. I hope someone out here enjoys the blog, and if you hate it, well, I understand. Poser is a friggin' talented artist.
AV replying to a comment from Miroslav Glavic / August 10, 2012 at 12:48 pm
user-pic
If you really want to upset people, get a big black marker and write in caps "TOY" over their work. Trust me when I say that will piss them off.
bah replying to a comment from hellebelle / August 10, 2012 at 12:54 pm
user-pic
Gregory Alan Elliott is the one responsible for those hearts. Personally, I find them highly annoying (more so than Spud's work), probably because he constantly stencils his work over other artists (nice) pieces all over town. In addition to that he also brags about using his real name on everything he has made in the last two decades almost as if he thinks he is superior in the scene for doing so.
v79 / August 10, 2012 at 01:03 pm
user-pic
Every "writer" that is caught should have their tag forcibly tattooed on their forehead. That will help get their name out into the public, just like they wanted, and make them see what it's like to have something ugly and unwanted plastered on their personal property.
Bunnies? / August 10, 2012 at 01:13 pm
user-pic
Sorry but that "bunny" is just a rip off of pedo bear. Criminal and a hack, eh Poser?
Yoche / August 10, 2012 at 01:13 pm
user-pic
Anser's art on this one outdoor station on the y.u.s line always cheered me up on my way to work a couple summers ago. So good.
forwunsicks / August 10, 2012 at 01:41 pm
user-pic
@hellebelle: My boy UBER does those yellow birds. They're fresh.
benjaminn moore / August 10, 2012 at 01:43 pm
user-pic
editors of blogto please post your moms address so i can spray paint my lovely talent on her home. good job glorifying this illegal activity.
Whit / August 10, 2012 at 01:58 pm
user-pic
Too bad most of these people are not "writers". There's a difference between graff writers and street artists. And I don't get a sense of why they are "worth knowing about".

Not a bad start but the title needs some work.
Trill Phil / August 10, 2012 at 02:00 pm
user-pic
Anser kills it! Been wondering who does those women's faces for awhile.
Alex / August 10, 2012 at 02:03 pm
user-pic
I've never understood how people can create stuff that beautiful so quickly with just spraypaint and stencils. Graffiti is one of the few interesting pieces of scenery you see on a long GO train ride, and it always brightened up my day just a bit seeing it on the way in and the way home. It's one of those things that helps give life to a city. If you want to live in a homogenized environment move to the suburbs, it's much quieter there too because no one goes outside except in their cars, I'm sure you'd like it a lot better.

How often do graffiti artists paint a mural on a house? I think everyone complaining about graffiti on their homes is probably referring to little tags from high schoolers or whatever. The stuff in this post is obviously not that.
jammasterjulz replying to a comment from Tdubs / August 10, 2012 at 02:06 pm
user-pic
You took the words right out of my mouth.

To all the victims - I'm sorry that your house got targeted - but your anger is pretty much pointless. Yeah, graffiti can be vandalism - but the threats and hatred towards the artists is just fuel for them.

I don't know what the criteria was for creating this list (if any), but it is definitely lacking. There are key writers/legends/OG's that are missing from this list.
Pshhhhhhht / August 10, 2012 at 02:09 pm
user-pic
Posting angry comments about BlogTO documenting graf in T.O. will only result in BlogTO writing more articles documenting graf in T.O. Your gripes are money.
jammasterjulz replying to a comment from theoadorno / August 10, 2012 at 02:17 pm
user-pic
Theoadorno:

you say: "grafitti is vandalism perpetrated by low-culture trash. calling it art is a vulgarization of the discipline."

Can you please elaborate on this comment? Why can't it be art? What is "low-culture" and how do you know what perpetrates graffiti?

I understand you have anger regarding the topic, but I could just as easily tell you that those who do not understand graffiti writers are low-culture trash and calling these people intelligent is a vulgarization of intelligence itself.

Unfortunately for you, graffiti isn't going anywhere anytime soon.
Danny replying to a comment from Fred / August 10, 2012 at 02:31 pm
user-pic
"It's worth noting, of course, that this list is subjective and focuses on the writers who have been most visible to me, a journalist and non-graffiti writer, in 2012. This is not explicitly a top 10 list, and there are many excellent writers in T.O. who I couldn't fit into this post."

Sorry everyone can't be "down with graff". Maybe the writer simply enjoys the art and wanted to bring attention to some of his favourites. Your statement sounds just like a "hipster" (easy target much) complaining about an article on indie rock bands.

"Leaving in Roncy" "Real hip hop forever" hahaha ... I feel sorry for your mother.
hellebelle replying to a comment from bah / August 10, 2012 at 02:38 pm
user-pic
thanks bah. i had no idea he did stencils -- i've only seen the cut-out hearts stapled to posts. i agree that it'd be annoying to see him stencil stuff over other people's nice stuff, but he's definitely not the only one who does this (i.e. taggers).
hellebelle replying to a comment from forwunsicks / August 10, 2012 at 02:39 pm
user-pic
i agree wholeheartedly.
Love to Hate / August 10, 2012 at 03:00 pm
user-pic
I love when BlogTO posts these graffiti articles and all the "artists" come out from under the cover of darkness to try and justify their criminal behaviors to the public. "Well someones gunn do it dis anyway, may as well be me yo!" "I is just expressin myself know wha im sayin? I gots da right to express mayself!" It's amazing to watch the criminal mind rationalize why what they are doing isn't really bad. I bet she didn't really mean "no" because she was wearing such a short skirt too, eh?
Chris Orbz / August 10, 2012 at 03:05 pm
user-pic
"those who do not understand graffiti writers are low-culture trash"

only comment needed here. people seriously need to stop trolling on every god damn street art post. go back to your nursing homes.
iPhones are awesome replying to a comment from Chris Orbz / August 10, 2012 at 03:12 pm
user-pic
You should learn to take better pictures.
Temsyk / August 10, 2012 at 03:35 pm
user-pic
While you trolls anonymously leave a hateful message on a blog forum, I'll be anonymously spray painting a Huge cock on your grandmothers brand new fence
tdubs / August 10, 2012 at 03:42 pm
user-pic
The more I look over this the more I am astonished at the fact that there is no mention of GH crew. Whoever put this list together is seriously missing something. GH has put up burner productions all over the city for the past 5-10 years. Cmon. Get your shit together.
dicks / August 10, 2012 at 03:53 pm
user-pic
goon is the worst. bump it to 11.
asdf / August 10, 2012 at 04:06 pm
user-pic
yo, art > graffiti... axepecially if its on my garage. derp derp derp.
evilone replying to a comment from Love to Hate / August 10, 2012 at 04:19 pm
user-pic
Its so pleasant when you make us writers look like a group of illiterate scumbags who have no desires other than to damage and destroy your property. The reality of it is that while we ARE doing something that is illegal and considered unseemly by many, we are normal everyday people with jobs, educations, and for some, property and businesses of our own. And I for one consider a bare whitewashed wall to be unseemly, or a big fucking billboard advertising vacations for the upper class to be unseemly. while these are not justifications for my acts, who is to say your opinion on what we do is the right one? why do you care so strongly about these empty, bland walls? These alleyways? These rooftops and mail boxes and things that still work the way they are meant to regardless on what may be painted on them? And to try and debase us by making us sound like brainless thugs does absolutely nothing for your cause. I could do the same thing to you. "Man I sure hate these snotnosed little punks, these fucking kids think they can do whatever they want. why dont they get a job so they can be a mindless slave to the status quo? they could get a job as a nice upstanding police officer. The laws should be obeyed without question and all people who dont think so are obviously of a lower intelligence than I."; so now that you've mocked me and ive mocked you, where does that leave us?
f u / August 10, 2012 at 04:22 pm
user-pic
Title shoulda been

Ten selfish a-hole people without any respect for their community.
fish in a barrel replying to a comment from f u / August 10, 2012 at 04:32 pm
user-pic
Title shoulda been

Ten ways to bait a buncha trolls.
Average Joe replying to a comment from evilone / August 10, 2012 at 04:33 pm
user-pic
Well said my friend Well Said!!!! KUDOs!!!

I wonder if all of the people that are making their ideal Threats and leaving their worthless insults on here, contacted the Obama Administration during the election in the USA and bashed him for using OBEY (Sheppard fairy a business owner and STREET ARTIST)in this political Add campaign... Oh wait... bet you didn't know that was from a Graffiti Artist!!
Educate yourselves on the topic before needlessly subjecting us all to your plain and boring outlooks on what constitutes as art and what is not!!!
Art = All a Matter of PERSONAL opinion (one man’s garbage is another man’s treasure)
dee / August 10, 2012 at 04:39 pm
user-pic
ANSER's faces are beautiful, they make me happy.
McRib replying to a comment from Love to Hate / August 10, 2012 at 04:42 pm
user-pic
are you admitting to something here?
vampchick21 / August 10, 2012 at 04:51 pm
user-pic
I happen to love graffiti and street art. The skill exhibited in some of the pieces out there is mind blowing, especially when you consider the tools used. And it's quite artistic, sometimes intricate, sometimes thought provoking, sometimes haunting, sometimes funny. And I would love to have one of ANSER's faces hanging on my wall!
vampchick21 replying to a comment from Love to Hate / August 10, 2012 at 04:53 pm
user-pic
Boy, you sure do have stereotypes down pat, don't ya? I also suspect you're one of those "I don't know much about art but I know what I like" types too, who goes to AGO and the modern art section and proclaim that a six year old could duplicate the Jackson Pollock pieces.
Thomas / August 10, 2012 at 05:02 pm
user-pic
"It's worth noting, of course, that this list is subjective and focuses on the writers who have been most visible to me, a journalist and non-graffiti writer, in 2012. This is not explicitly a top 10 list, and there are many excellent writers in T.O. who I couldn't fit into this post."

Why did all the this crews is better that that crew that writer is better than this writer commmenters not read that part?
G / August 10, 2012 at 05:41 pm
user-pic
UBER 5000!!!!


Google it.
Martin Reis replying to a comment from Phocatopher / August 10, 2012 at 05:44 pm
user-pic
Looks like the Linseed Oil Factory off Sorauren. But hard to say.
Ruby / August 10, 2012 at 06:36 pm
user-pic
OYEAH BTO!
Gregory Alan Elliott replying to a comment from bah / August 10, 2012 at 06:47 pm
user-pic
Hey BAH,

I'm not suggesting I'm "superior" by signing my full name. I'm suggesting I take responsibility for my graffiti and street art activities. I have been contacted by property owners and have painted over my work... A slightly different approach compared to anonymous actions of other street artists. Also, taking a small corner of a wall for some of my street poetry hurts no one except those with the most caustic territorial egos. And, in my ongoing attempt to not cause anyone any grief, my graffiti is NOW small and easily removed. So sorry, but I cannot accept your criticism as it is based on your ignorance. The feedback from the smiling hearts has been incredibly positive, except for one or two angry critics like yourself. The smiling hearts appear all over Ontario. Your unproductive critical input proves "A picture is worth a thousand critics". Also, concerning the ten artists above, my favorite is Anser's faces... Are they supposed to be portraits of Causr?
Regards,
Gregory Alan Elliott
zen grizzly replying to a comment from hellebelle / August 10, 2012 at 09:36 pm
user-pic
Have you ever seen the giant yellow chick on Denison overlooking the schoolyard? He's pretty great! Those birds are my favourite, too :)
Denise / August 10, 2012 at 10:01 pm
user-pic
A more comprehensive overview of Toronto graffiti can be found in the book, Toronto Graffiti. It chronicles the history as well as legal and safety issues surrounding graffiti. http://www.torontograffiti.ca
lucy replying to a comment from hellebelle / August 11, 2012 at 05:44 am
user-pic
the yellow birds are probably UBER
Lil'Fel Rocks the World / August 11, 2012 at 06:10 am
user-pic
Awesome insight into the scene. Need to do more alley exploration next time my French lover is in town. BUT. I think you missed so key spots in Ossington, here:

Travel Guide for Poor, Hip Students
http://lilfelrockstheworld.blogspot.com/2010/04/this-is-my-city-toronto.html

Craig / August 11, 2012 at 09:56 am
user-pic
I'm surprised that UBER is not on the list.
Sara / August 11, 2012 at 11:24 am
user-pic
My grandparents came to Toronto in 1951, from Italy. They were poor. My grandfather worked three jobs while supporting my grandmother and two children, all while apprenticing as a carpenter. In the early 1970s, they bought the home they still live in, in Little Italy. It was, and remains, a huge point of pride for them that they had the opportunity to come to Canada and live the Canadian dream.

Their garage back onto a laneway. And it is spraypainted frequently. My grandmother cries every time. She doesn't understand why anybody would do this. Every few months, my sister and I remove the new spraypaint and marker. I saw one comment in this thread that dismissed this type of graffiti as the work of high school children. But I recognized the "56 Crew" name in these photos. "56" and "Jose" were on my grandparents' garage. Please, "Jose", leave my grandparents alone.

And without any judgment, I ask all graffiti artists to please consider how their actions may be incredibly hurtful to their fellow citizens who are proud of their homes. They are at least as proud of their property as you are of your best works of art.
t / August 11, 2012 at 12:02 pm
user-pic
I read this article when it was first posted, and immediately wondered what the response would be. This is pretty much what I expected. A backlash from property owners and Rob-Ford-types and a response from graffiti/street artists, and art-lovers around Toronto.

Yeah, the article missed some things, and was wrongly titled, but it posed a different perspective, and maybe hoped to change some peoples points of view.

When you look at all the advertisements and billboards we are constantly bombarded with each day, wouldn't you rather be seeing street-art or graffiti? Sure, you can say you don't want to see it around, but then did anyone ask you if you wanted to see the ads you see every day?

Like evilone said, most established graffiti artists are property owners as well, and take care to only "vandalize" what the city has given them as a blank slate, not the side of someones home, though alleys are usually fair-game for the graffiti market.

I find it sad when people can't see graffiti and street-art as an art, because that is what it is. These artists love what they do and no-matter what will keep doing it, sometimes even risking their lives to put their art in a spot where everyone will see it or where it won't be taken down. Graffiti and street art help to give a city its culture, and that's what it eventually comes down to. Imagine Toronto without it. You can't.
Peter Jermyn replying to a comment from mike in parkdale / August 11, 2012 at 12:51 pm
user-pic
hey everyone thanks for the comments.
Ya The Yellow Chick = Uber. he's great and is one of the first artists I noticed in graffiti alley. He does some really clever stuff with incorporating the specific location of his pieces into the work. I'll try to do a piece on him soon. My one criticism is that I havent seen anything new by him up in ages, and part of being a good graffiti writer is continuing to get new work up, as much as possible anyway.
Mike from Parkdale: Art Child, Bacon, Case, Water, Wysper; Causr ---agreed, of what I've seen, all of these guys are FANTASTIC writers. Some may not be in Toronto right now though. I know WhISPR has some great pieces up in PArkdale, and I've seen some recent new work by Bacon, but I haven't seen a proper CAUSR in ages, though i'd LOVE TO! Same goes for Art Child man what a killer!
Peter Jermyn replying to a comment from dariat28 / August 11, 2012 at 12:52 pm
user-pic
DARIAT28: Agreed. Ren is sick. I have a post coming up on him and some of the HSA and DOH crews forthcoming! Very dope writers deserving their own piece!
Peter Jermyn replying to a comment from theoadorno / August 11, 2012 at 12:54 pm
user-pic
LOL theoAdorno.
Peter Jermyn replying to a comment from Yoche / August 11, 2012 at 12:57 pm
user-pic
Yoche: thanks for the comment. what station is it? is it still there/have a pic?
Peter Jermyn replying to a comment from Temsyk / August 11, 2012 at 12:58 pm
user-pic
hahahahahah
Peter Jermyn replying to a comment from Fred / August 11, 2012 at 01:01 pm
user-pic
I've actually lived in TO and all different parts of the city, for 28 years... so I don't really know what you are talking about... but if u think u can do better i suggest you pitch an article to blogTO--everyone is entitled to their own opinion on what graffiti is.
Peter Jermyn replying to a comment from Love to Hate / August 11, 2012 at 01:03 pm
user-pic
i think this comment is borderline classist and racist, and am going to request that it be removed from the post.
Peter Jermyn replying to a comment from Ruby / August 11, 2012 at 01:05 pm
user-pic
:D
Peter Jermyn replying to a comment from Martin Reis / August 11, 2012 at 01:07 pm
user-pic
it's definitely NOT that factory.
Peter Jermyn replying to a comment from dee / August 11, 2012 at 01:08 pm
user-pic
me too
Peter Jermyn replying to a comment from f u / August 11, 2012 at 01:08 pm
user-pic
LOL!
Peter Jermyn replying to a comment from jammasterjulz / August 11, 2012 at 01:10 pm
user-pic
im interested to know some of the older legends that i haven't yet been able to read/decipher or recognize: for ex. there's many names in graffiti alley i haven't been able to read yet. who else is out there, and where can I find their stuff?
Peter Jermyn replying to a comment from Tdubs / August 11, 2012 at 01:12 pm
user-pic
i know very little about KWOTA/TDV, BSM: who writes fo rthem and where are the best pieces?
Peter Jermyn replying to a comment from Trill Phil / August 11, 2012 at 01:14 pm
user-pic
here's a full length interview I did with ANSER a few years ago: http://thevarsity.ca/2009/02/23/these-mysterious-eyes/
Peter Jermyn replying to a comment from Danny / August 11, 2012 at 01:15 pm
user-pic
right on!! thanks!!
Peter Jermyn replying to a comment from Alex / August 11, 2012 at 01:17 pm
user-pic
excellent observations, Alex
Peter Jermyn replying to a comment from Thomas / August 11, 2012 at 01:17 pm
user-pic
thank-you!
Peter Jermyn replying to a comment from Rob / August 11, 2012 at 01:22 pm
user-pic
hey Rob. I agree, I think the discussion gets too caught up with trying to define graffiti in terms of "art"-some of it's definitely artful, but not all of it, and as Nick Mount has suggested, sometimes artfulness isn't necessarily the intent at all. great blog btw.
Rob / August 11, 2012 at 01:29 pm
user-pic
Thanks Peter, dug the Anser interview, read it a while back. I'd love to pay him for a comission. DO you have any contat info?
R.
nah / August 11, 2012 at 02:09 pm
user-pic
causr doesnt write anymore afaik, your grandma should probably move if after 40+ years she still cries when someone paints her garage and also stop wasting your time painting over it because no one is not going to hit a blank garage door in the little Italy alleys and oh yeah fuck rob ford
also, clap clap clap for evilone. Well said
jeff nobles replying to a comment from tdubs / August 11, 2012 at 03:30 pm
user-pic
Id like to Add that SKAM has not been relevant since RAPCITY..
416 replying to a comment from jeff nobles / August 11, 2012 at 04:41 pm
user-pic
And don't forget SKAM got arrested for shoplifting last year too.
That embarrassed him and his fred.
Peter Jermyn / August 11, 2012 at 05:16 pm
user-pic
just as a general question, a lot of writers are being dissed without reason here, and i'm not sure why, personally. if people are going to diss any of the artists on this list, I suggest you back up your claims with actual substantive criticism, rather than just insulting people. i don't think anyone takes anonymous insults very seriously, here, but if you're going to hate on someone you should back it up with some CONSTRUCTIVE criticism
Annie / August 11, 2012 at 05:59 pm
user-pic
I love seeing the graffiti in Toronto. Going to school in a different city now, I miss Toronto a lot. Graffiti adds a lot of colour and vibrancy to the city. It does suck that house owners are forced to pay for taggers but I place the blame on the mayor for that. My personal favourite's Deadboy.
What replying to a comment from Annie / August 11, 2012 at 06:08 pm
user-pic
"It does suck that house owners are forced to pay for taggers but I place the blame on the mayor for that."

I see that you don't blame the people who painted on other people's property without permission.

Why is that?

Because you don't give a shit about the community?
Peter Jermyn replying to a comment from What / August 12, 2012 at 12:21 am
user-pic
most graffiti writers I've met care more about their communities than most people. often, they think that taking a drab grey wall or alley garage door and putting up bright and vibrant colours IMPROVES the community. in such cases, perhaps graffiti is ethical; perhaps not if its someone's window.
What replying to a comment from Peter Jermyn / August 12, 2012 at 09:13 am
user-pic
Graffiti writers do it to improve the community? ha ha ha ha they do it for ego they don't give a shit about anybody but themselves and hope their buddies see their stuff. They don't have the balls to pursue art the difficult, adult way.

Graffiti with permission = 100% support

Graffiti without permission = should be condemned by everyone who cares about the community. It's indefensible.
Parker / August 12, 2012 at 09:59 am
user-pic
Best. Post. Ever
Bobby / August 12, 2012 at 04:30 pm
user-pic
Kwest and Skam are the only dudes who you got right in this list, what about Ren and Wyspr??
Blood of the Young / August 12, 2012 at 06:55 pm
user-pic
Its maybe not the 10 writers worth knowing about, but we just published Street Talk Bachelor Degree, a diy graff zine featuring way more than 10 of the Toronto writers that are most up.
Real recognize real, don't sweat any of this internet comment jockeying.

http://bloodoftheyoungzine.storenvy.com/products/504821-street-talk-bachelor-degree
Matt replying to a comment from Gregory Alan Elliott / August 13, 2012 at 02:22 am
user-pic
If you're that concerned and thoughtful, why not ask for the property owners permission first?
Adult conversation / August 13, 2012 at 07:31 am
user-pic
Gregory Alan Elliott replying to a comment from bah / AUGUST 10, 2012 AT 06:47 PM
Hey BAH,

I'm not suggesting I'm "superior" by signing my full name. I'm suggesting I take responsibility for my graffiti and street art activities. I have been contacted by property owners and have painted over my work... A slightly different approach compared to anonymous actions of other street artists. Also, taking a small corner of a wall for some of my street poetry hurts no one except those with the most caustic territorial egos. And, in my ongoing attempt to not cause anyone any grief, my graffiti is NOW small and easily removed. So sorry, but I cannot accept your criticism as it is based on your ignorance. The feedback from the smiling hearts has been incredibly positive, except for one or two angry critics like yourself. The smiling hearts appear all over Ontario. Your unproductive critical input proves "A picture is worth a thousand critics". Also, concerning the ten artists above, my favorite is Anser's faces... Are they supposed to be portraits of Causr?
Regards,
Gregory Alan Elliott

-------

If I manage to contact a property owner whose property you have painted on, and I can provide footage of them telling BlogTO they would like you to remove your graffiti, will you do it?

If not, why not?
laura replying to a comment from hellebelle / August 13, 2012 at 04:14 pm
user-pic
The yellow birds are done by UB5000. He has some great work...you can check out the UB5000 category I have on my blog to see me ( streetinspiredtoronto.com )
you suck / August 14, 2012 at 01:01 am
user-pic
Super lame article.
Travis replying to a comment from 10 people worth arresting... / August 14, 2012 at 01:22 pm
user-pic
You must be a troll... tell me you're just a troll... Do not feed the troll. (RE: 10 people worth arresting)
Love to Hate replying to a comment from Peter Jermyn / August 14, 2012 at 02:36 pm
user-pic
Your blog essentially promotes and endorses criminal activity, yet MY post is inappropriate? Where do you get the balls? Wow. Good luck with your "art".
TheParadigmShift / August 14, 2012 at 02:58 pm
user-pic
How can you mention Toronto graffiti without BACON???????????
Taxpayer replying to a comment from gr1 / August 14, 2012 at 03:38 pm
user-pic
Gr1 used a big adult word to suggest that anybody who opposes complete strangers damaging their property doesn't understand art. Perhaps you could explain why my garage door is yours to paint your infantile drawings on without my permission?
smodes / August 14, 2012 at 04:37 pm
user-pic
Does anybody know where ANSER's work can be purchased now that funktion gallery is no longer around?
Riley White / August 14, 2012 at 06:58 pm
user-pic
How did Deadboy not make the list? He has wonderful stencils and paste ups
Boy about Town / August 15, 2012 at 09:35 am
user-pic
TO - just a town full of haters.

Taxpayer replying to a comment from gr1 / August 15, 2012 at 10:11 am
user-pic
Wait gr1 - fuck you is what you also say to the community you live in.

At least you're consistent in your childish assholeishness.
Kev / August 16, 2012 at 11:47 pm
user-pic
Every piece of shit on this list is some derivative toy garbage. Yall know it. No respect for any of this bullshit because none of it deserves respect. Again - look inside - yall know it.
Bev replying to a comment from Kev / August 17, 2012 at 09:06 pm
user-pic
Kev why don't you go back to writing on the bathroom walls with your mommy's lipstick
sjfbarnett / August 21, 2012 at 11:00 am
user-pic
where are the women artists? Don't say they don't exist, because they do.

What about crews like Bruxas?
Peter Jermyn replying to a comment from Kev / August 22, 2012 at 06:05 pm
user-pic
enlighten us
Peter Jermyn replying to a comment from Love to Hate / August 22, 2012 at 06:17 pm
user-pic
I cant even remember what you wrote, but I suspect that leaving angry and hateful comments on a blog post is WAY more pathetic than trying to better your neighbourhood by brightening up a decrepit garage door with vibrant coloured paint.

I don't endorse illegal activity, and personally prefer legal walls. But if you want to criticize an entire global counterculture with sweeping and uninformed generalizations, by all means, go for it I'm not stopping you.
Steve / August 23, 2012 at 05:40 pm
user-pic
I just read about the so-called Graffiti Panel that is about to be established to check the city walls and deem the paintings either art or vandalism. But I am afraid the panel members might be prejudiced which would mean that each and every graffiti painting in Toronto could very easily be removed. Do they really think this is the best way to fight vandalism?
Proclear / August 24, 2012 at 09:29 pm
user-pic
I was wondering if you ever considered changing the page layout of your blog?
Its very well written; I love what youve got to say.
But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better.
Youve got an awful lot of text for only having one or two
images. Maybe you could space it out better?
fez batik replying to a comment from ACE BROHNSON / August 25, 2012 at 02:07 am
user-pic
All caps! Try speaking English when rebutting a troll. It will strengthen your argument.
Jerri / August 26, 2012 at 02:34 pm
user-pic
Hi! This post couldn't be written any better! Reading through this post reminds me of my previous room mate! He always kept chatting about this. I will forward this page to him. Fairly certain he will have a good read. Thank you for sharing!
KPSCREW replying to a comment from hellebelle / October 7, 2012 at 08:23 pm
user-pic
"UBER" does those birds. they're pretty dope
KPSCREW replying to a comment from Tdubs / October 7, 2012 at 08:34 pm
user-pic
Ya sure... MANR, EYES, KISMET, DYCE, SERIUS, BAESR, GRAMS, YOGURT, SWIFT, EAST, TRED, RASPER, HERMIT, CRSY, AHSK and tons more aren't
around each corner... open your eyes.
Bobless / October 15, 2012 at 02:40 pm
user-pic
I personally love graffiti art. There is a great stretch on Bloor that you can see from the subway between Keele and Dundas west (I think that first picture from Elicser is from that stretch). In the case of this area, the store/property owners have allowed the art to go up because they were sick of cleaning off the shitty looking tags that highschool kids put up. Now they have beautiful artwork decorating what would otherwise be a bleak stretch of back-alley.
DYCE ONE / October 26, 2012 at 02:14 pm
user-pic
Ok why is this kid from kps crew biting my shit i been writing dyce one for more than 11 years now and this wack as toy is biting all my work and bombs and my style.Dude get your own tag and style stop fronting that your me.
DYCE ONE / October 26, 2012 at 02:18 pm
user-pic
And if i have to come up to Canada face to face i will and i will line everything i see that you have bitten from me and my style.
stee / November 19, 2012 at 12:57 am
user-pic
gewn? are you joking , putting a wack toy on this list really ruined it
Chris Orbz replying to a comment from bah / November 22, 2012 at 06:33 pm
user-pic
...and now Gregory Alan Elliott got charged with criminal harassment for Twitter-trolling women. He's a pathetic middle aged man and he should stay the fup out of the graff game.
Me replying to a comment from Peter Jermyn / November 22, 2012 at 07:08 pm
user-pic
You say you don't endorse illegal activities yet that is exactly what you're doing. All that Crack made you confused maybe?
Me replying to a comment from DYCE ONE / November 22, 2012 at 07:09 pm
user-pic
What does that even say? English is a problem for you obviously.
kennedy replying to a comment from evilone / December 30, 2012 at 03:32 am
user-pic
THAT WAS AN AMAZING SPEECH
Gladi replying to a comment from hellebelle / January 10, 2013 at 03:02 pm
user-pic
Uber5000
donkey117 / January 30, 2013 at 09:13 am
user-pic
@ Ricky

what are you fucking getting on with, spud's pieces and throws are fresh and clean, you realize you can't see actually production every fucking day you twat, his rollers are huge and in some prime spots, get over yourself you fucking idiot
Mike replying to a comment from Gregory Alan Elliott / February 2, 2013 at 05:36 pm
user-pic
Are you also responsible for the grey felt hearts that were tied to the bridge near Dundas and Sorauren last year? If so, thanks.

Any way to get one of your red hearts without climbing a pole and tearing one off?
straightgoods replying to a comment from Sara / April 19, 2013 at 01:21 pm
user-pic
Guess where else there is graffiti? italy. lots of it
Tom / April 22, 2013 at 09:11 pm
user-pic
Who did the wonderful doggy No Parking mural in Kensington Market.

Seems fairly fresh.

Tom / April 22, 2013 at 09:13 pm
user-pic
Who did the wonderful doggy No Parking mural in Kensington Market.

see here:http://www.panoramio.com/photo/89204185
Wolfgang / May 18, 2013 at 06:29 pm
user-pic
Im assuming the Toronto Listen+Bird is the same writer as the montreal Listen with Bird, can someone confirm this?
Tour to Uttarakhand / May 18, 2013 at 11:28 pm
user-pic
Yes! Finally someone writes about Tour to Uttarakhand.
Alex / June 1, 2013 at 06:35 pm
user-pic
Surprised to not see Gamma or Xhale
cheap essays / June 1, 2013 at 07:04 pm
user-pic
Amazing! This blog looks exactly like my old one! It's on a completely different subject but it has pretty much the same page layout and design. Excellent choice of colors!
mandelic acid serum / June 1, 2013 at 07:58 pm
user-pic
Asking questions are really pleasant thing if you are not
understanding anything totally, however this piece
of writing provides fastidious understanding even.
Indian Wedding Tips / June 2, 2013 at 06:26 am
user-pic
Very energetic article, I liked that bit. Will there be
a part 2?
empressshire / June 14, 2013 at 04:42 pm
user-pic
y'all forgot Uber 5000! he's killing it right now
Rj replying to a comment from Ricky / June 29, 2013 at 10:53 am
user-pic
Is taging not the base for graffiti?
Wolfgang replying to a comment from Rj / July 9, 2013 at 09:36 am
user-pic
Tagging is graffiti. The reason why graffiti artists(Writers) do graffiti is to get people to see their "Name". People see their name in tags as well as throw ups and pieces, the only reason why a writer would do a piece is to make their name stand out more and attract the public eye. Unless of course they are street artist or legal graffiti artist
James / July 24, 2013 at 12:18 pm
user-pic
I love well done street art, graffiti and tags throughout the alleys of Toronto. They give life and and a venue for expressionism in what otherwise would be dark, dank, lifeless spaces in the city.
On the flip side, Toronto Graffiti Police need only receive a single complaint in order to force home and shop owner's to cover the expense of painting over their often unseen and rarely used spaces. Shelling out hundred's of dollars to cover poor tags and other half ass attempts at art in back alleys, only to have them tagged again, leaves tax strapped Torontonians at the mercy of City Hall.
Speaking to a shop owner this morning has brought me here in an attempt to find artists willing to take up canvases in the North alley of Queen Street East between Parliament and Treffan. Looking for an authorized wall? Email me and I'll put you in touch!!
rac00n replying to a comment from Ricky / August 2, 2013 at 11:40 am
user-pic
Signed -- this toy's style simply hasn't gotten better over the years. Just fucking quit already, your Rob Ford stencils don't even look like him.
vvvvolume replying to a comment from Wolfgang / August 29, 2013 at 07:26 pm
user-pic
Yeah, it's the same listen as in MTL and T.O.
Dee replying to a comment from hellebelle / September 16, 2013 at 12:52 pm
user-pic
Hey hellebelle,

I just found this thread because I thought to google Hearts and BlogTo. I love those too and have a whole FB album devoted to them for the last 3 years, I snap a pic each time I come across one.

I recently found out the name of the artist and the story behind it (originally a message for a love lost, now for the city), but it sort of takes out the mystery so I won't "ruin" it for you. Just think of it as little night-time elves doing it. (Although elf now has assistants and they drive up to a few hours away from the city and put them up.)
VK replying to a comment from Fred / September 16, 2013 at 03:37 pm
user-pic
I love graffiti, but I bet you'd hate me. I'm one of those people who doesn't know the full story behind the artist. But that never stopped me from adding "graffiti" to my list of likes.

So what is your idea of genuine graffiti appreciation? I'm curious. Because if connecting to a piece is not enough, then what is? What am I missing when I simply know what I SEE, and how can I educate myself in the "true" way?

P.S. Graffiti being one of the 4 pillars of hip hop. That much I do know ;)
Tdubs replying to a comment from KPSCREW / October 16, 2013 at 01:29 pm
user-pic
I never said they werent around each corner. Just that they had no talent. If their attempts at piecing didnt look like a kindergarten art class I'd have a little more respect. They stay up though, no arguing that.
popo / November 27, 2013 at 11:55 am
user-pic
we do have good garffiti artists in Toronto and we do have good street artists too.Here is one of them -july i -
..just saw a piece south of queen w. of spadina that made me stop and think... a cow talking with a computer .....check it out..https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.117837971709632.22557.115848528575243&;type=3
popo / November 27, 2013 at 12:00 pm
user-pic
july i on facebook

https://www.facebook.com/julystreetart?ref=hl
Jan replying to a comment from mike in parkdale / March 4, 2014 at 03:20 pm
user-pic
Love the graffiti and would like to commission someone to do some garage doors facing an alley...how do I get in touch with some of these artists direct?
JMORE / April 29, 2014 at 03:29 pm
user-pic
Can you post the location of some of these walls, if any in leslieville / east end? Great list.
battlebran replying to a comment from hellebelle / June 22, 2014 at 12:05 pm
user-pic
UB5000
Paspa / June 24, 2014 at 03:06 pm
user-pic
Hey...i am editing an documentary about vancity Hip Hop in the around the 2000 with interviews from rascalz and so on. I need some more footage from some older graffs around vancouver.
Maybe someone here can send me some flix like 3 or 4.
My email adress: paspa2@gmx.de

Thanks a lot.
Paspa2
Jason / July 8, 2014 at 01:23 am
user-pic
I remember seeing this article when it came out. Its still relevant today.
Me / July 8, 2014 at 11:26 am
user-pic
How is Uber not on this list?
oatsone replying to a comment from mike in parkdale / September 11, 2014 at 03:56 pm
user-pic
im pretty sure causer changed his name to kurst could be mistaken
Tiara / September 24, 2014 at 03:36 am
user-pic
You need to be a part of a contest for one of the best sites online.
I will recommend this site!

Add a Comment

Other Cities: Montreal