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Popular street artist opens solo show in Toronto

Posted by Markit / February 27, 2014

Anser TorontoIt all started at the age of thirteen when he picked up a can of spray paint for the first time. Over the years, one of Toronto's most recognizable (art wise) street artists honed his skills and eventually ended up painting his first face on a wall in Australia.

Today if you keep your head on a swivel, you can't get far without catching one of his faces staring you down. Stylistically straddling the line between swift graffiti bomb style and minimal, modern art, there's an interactive element to Anser's work where one can witness their progression over time, from a simple outline to a colourful face filled in with emotive characteristics. Last year he was invited to be a part of the AGO's Merge, but he has his first solo exhibit in years coming to the west side of Toronto.

Here are 5 things to know about Toronto street artist Anser.

Anser TorontoThis solo show is a rare event
Although the walls in this city sometimes feel like an ongoing Anser show, in reality he hasn't had an official major exhibition in six years. This mysterious silence comes to an end tonight at Hashtag Gallery for an event dubbed "Crowded Kingdom". The show runs until March 9th. Anser's collaborate with Toronto-based Big Trubble to create 30 original sculptures made of resin that have been hand painted with the signature Anser lines.

Anser TorontoA giving spirit
For those of you who already follow his Instagram, you probably caught wind of Anser leaving gifts for strangers scattered around the city during the holiday season. Usually appearing in the late night or early hours of the morning, some people were lucky enough to stumble across canvases left on random benches, stuffed into the arms of a snowman or leaned up against buildings. Chances are this will happen again sometime soon, so follow his account and you might just happen to be around the corner from his next random drop zone.

Affordable art Fridays
If the potential of stumbling across free art isn't enough of a reason to follow Anser's Instagram, it also caters to those with a modest amount of money. Every Friday he posts an image of a new piece that usually goes for $100 - $300 and comes on a variety of different mediums, from thick textured paper, to marker on canvas, all the way to random pieces of wood. If you miss out on both the gifts and the affordable art, there are sure to be plenty of pieces available at his exhibit. The time to jump on is now, as his notoriety will only be rising.

He's toyed with fashion
Not long ago Anser partnered up with local street art friendly clothing line Echkart Soul for an exclusive limited run of t-shirts, which quickly sold out. Anser donated some art pieces to bundle with the products and some lucky buyers were randomly selected to receive. Although this round is no longer available, rumour has it that the collaboration might be revived for a 2nd run - time will tell.

Anser TorontoThree hints
Part of the enjoyment of street art stems from curiosity surrounding the artist's identity. Chances are you'll never see Anser's own face, but in preparing this article I was left a series of clues hinting at his history and influences. His favourite artist is Egon Schiele (one of Gustav Klimt's protégés) known for his intense portrait style during his short but illustrious career (he died in 1918 from Spanish Flu). Not so surprisingly, Anser's favourite movie is rotoscope animation Waking Life, which examines the deep philosophical complexities of dreams, consciousness, and existentialism. Lastly, although his gifted pieces have popped up in Trinity Bellwoods, his favourite park is actually High Park.

Crowded Kingdom opens Thursday, February 27th at Hashtag Gallery (809 Dundas West) from 7pm to 11:30pm. The show runs until March 9th.



GFunkAllstar / February 27, 2014 at 09:31 am
The T-shirts have actually had 2 runs already (each time had a different print). I was lucky to grab one on the first run, and even commissioned a piece last year. Can't get enough of that crazy face.
jenn / February 27, 2014 at 10:16 am
That bench piece has a cozy new home in my living room.
Allan Sorensen / February 27, 2014 at 10:25 am
would this be the same artist?

at Dundas & Jarvis
Jacki / February 27, 2014 at 11:12 am
This graffiti face is EVERYWHERE and infests the city like spam mail. I love street art, such as Rodez and PEZ, but Anser's work relies more so on exposure than artistic capability. It's a quick tag/ a selfish act of branding, which makes it graffiti rather than street art. Street art should be creative, constructive and give back to the community.
gay guy89 / February 27, 2014 at 11:22 am
I will never understand graffiti or street art.

bob / February 27, 2014 at 11:41 am
Will the cops be there to arrest this vandal?

jameson / February 27, 2014 at 12:24 pm
can you really call this graffiti?
dealing with morons / February 27, 2014 at 12:53 pm
Wow...I had to take the 30 seconds to respond to those above me...are we SERIOUSLY calling this art vandalism? You people are morons.
WILDSYLE / February 27, 2014 at 12:57 pm
WILDSTYLE street artist going gallery..... I might blow up but I won't go POP.
Donna / February 27, 2014 at 12:58 pm
Is the money from the pieces sold going back to the city or the taxpayers, as the artist made their name/craft/career on the cities property.
bob replying to a comment from dealing with morons / February 27, 2014 at 01:04 pm
Uh, yeah, I'm calling all the defacing of public and private property this clown has done over the years is vandalism. He's got zero respect for his neighbours or community. He needs to clean it all up or he needs to go to jail.

Anybody can go to his show and deface his "art" with some spray paint, right?
Rex / February 27, 2014 at 01:06 pm

You are certainly entitled to your opinion, but the scenario you describe assumes that an Anser piece being placed on public property somehow degrades that property- that these spray painted lines are less aesthetically-pleasing than the blank grey wall that was there before.

Another viewpoint is that Anser is decorating the city for free.

Jacki: that a figure drawn from a single line can evoke so much suggests a great deal of artistic capability. You're entitled to not like the work, but this is an artist with immense talent.
bob replying to a comment from Rex / February 27, 2014 at 01:14 pm
You are certainly entitled to your opinion, but the scenario you describe assumes that an Anser piece being placed on public property was somehow requested by the owner of that property- that these spray painted lines are more aesthetically-pleasing to the owner than the blank grey wall that was there before.

Another viewpoint is that Anser is damaging what doesn't belong to him.
Rex / February 27, 2014 at 01:55 pm
Public property by definition is not owned by a single person. That's the point I was making- it's pubic space, so we all "own" the space.
Ryguy / February 27, 2014 at 02:46 pm
I wonder if this guy runs with a crew? I have always wondered who this was, and now we know.
bob replying to a comment from Rex / February 27, 2014 at 03:11 pm
Uhhh, Answr has painted countless times on private property.

If we all own public spaces then a-holes like answr don't get to selfishly dictate that lame one line drawings of faces get spray painted all over them.

It's called respect for one's community.

He has none, so f him.
Rex / February 27, 2014 at 03:48 pm
Bob I assume you have no problem with the City contracting on all our behalves to allow Astral media to bombard us with advertising on every trashcan and streetcar/bus shelter in the downtown, forcing upon us advertising that no one but the advertisers wants to see. Please tell me one way in which that enriches our public spaces.

This of course doesn't even get into the argument about the many illegal billboards that companies like Pattison have erected as well, which are thankfully now finally being taxed with the money going to public art projects. Of course it took a fight all the way to the supreme court to get Pattison to honor that tax. Your tax dollars went to fighting that case. How does that make you feel?
Alex / February 27, 2014 at 03:52 pm
I really like the portraits.

"Hashtag Gallery" is an idiotic name. Why not just call it "Ephemeral-Crap-No-One-Cares-About Gallery"?
bob replying to a comment from Rex / February 27, 2014 at 04:03 pm
"Bob I assume you have no problem with the City contracting on all our behalves to allow Astral media to bombard us with advertising "

Wrong. But nice try with the straw man.

You side with the vandals. That's your choice.

I side with respect for the community. That's my choice.

Abe / February 27, 2014 at 06:08 pm
Looks like a Lavalife ad circa 2008
Mike / February 27, 2014 at 07:21 pm
Fuck this guy. He paints the outside of my building constantly. Same shit over and over again. There are others who use the same stretch of "canvas" who are actually talented but this johny-one-note is horrible.
Danielle replying to a comment from gay guy89 / February 27, 2014 at 11:01 pm
I will never understand people that don't understand graffiti or street ART.
alanna s / February 27, 2014 at 11:18 pm
this guy is the worst. didn't we all go through that gimmicky "i drew it in one line without taking my pencil off the page!" phase, and get over it, in first year art school?!
I've seen these exact same faces for years in the city - new idea please (not to mention the fact that he's pretty inconsiderate about where he throws up pieces).
dani / February 28, 2014 at 01:22 am
so many comments, but none have mentioned how this looks exactly like Disclosure!!!!!?? Was he around before, did they cop it from him, or mere coincidence?? I cannot believe that it be the latter. Just can't.
Karyn Climans / February 28, 2014 at 10:38 am
I like this artist's work but I am dismayed that he feels he has the right to vandalize other people's personal property. Last year, I arrived in the morning to open my tent at the Queen's St. Art Fest and discovered his work permanently painted on the sidewall of my outdoor marketplace tent without my permission. I'm an artist too but I don't regard it as my "right" to force my work on others. What I'd really like to do is hand him a bill to pay the cost of replacing my tent sidewall!
c7lee / February 28, 2014 at 12:47 pm
Watch David Choe "Dirty Hands"
The face paintings are eerily similar and I'm sure many more artists draw the same...
Hihi / February 28, 2014 at 10:09 pm
This guy is a loser. It's so unique when it's on every street like a Starbucks. Your not banksy bud, quit vandalizing our city with garbage..
Michael / February 28, 2014 at 11:38 pm
Answr was making this face long before disclosure was around^... lol.
? / March 1, 2014 at 01:34 pm
To all the people screaming vandalism, what would you rather see on your city's walls instead?
brianna replying to a comment from ? / March 1, 2014 at 06:30 pm
something original?! inspired?! engaging?! well done?!
there's a start.
augustine / March 3, 2014 at 01:52 am
Some time ago, all this public property belonged to the indiginous. Have you looked around people? Graffiti is not vandalism. I saw a whole building get demolished and all the bricks and rebble where then burried futher contaminating the soil. I listen to cbc everyday hearing where our tax payers money go to. H
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