istvan kantor

Someone with a bag on their head has been giving away free art in Toronto

The local artist seen around the city giving away free paintings will hold his next installation near Dupont Avenue and Dufferin Street this Saturday, Oct. 10.

Canadian artist and singer Istvan Kantor, also known as Monty Cantsin, has been photographed giving away his artwork in shared images of his performance art on Facebook.

Istvan Kantor

Canadian artist and singer Istvan Kantor posted about his upcoming exhibition.

Kantor said society is experiencing the ending stage of art, something that has been made more evident by the pandemic.

"Now that the system is in quarantine, paralyzed, blockaded, nothing is happening, it's more visible what I'm doing because nothing else is happening and this brings me back to the frontline," he said.

"But for me, nothing was happening before either because what I'm doing is not part of their system. I'm a renegade Neoist banned from their galleries, museums, institutions. They don’t like my art."

The artist has been seen twice in September — near Trinity Bellwoods Park and again near Wallace and Lansdowne.

Photos of the artist showed him wearing a bright red bag on their head with cardboard signs that read "Please help me get rid of my art. Free" and "SOS please free me from my burden God bless."

Istvan Kantor

An Istvan Kantor painting.

The free art signifies several things, said Kantor. 

"It signifies most of all that art must be free, that it should not belong to conservative, bureaucratic systems, that it should not be controlled by government politics and banks economics."

But in order to continue producing art, Kantor also needs the space at his home. After being evicted several times, Kantor has been struggling to keep his art. 

"Among the goals of my present giveaway campaign is to free some space in my storage garage so I can keep working. I can’t afford such luxury as a studio space." 

istvan kantor

Istvan Kantor on the street last month in Toronto.

In March 2004, he was awarded the Canadian Governor General's Award in Visual and Media Arts.

His next installation will utilize the parking space near the Galleria Mall as well as the backside of two billboards.

Photos by

Istvan Kantor


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