chainsaw cherry beach

Chainsaw-wielding men at Toronto's Cherry Beach now memorialized in giant painting

It would be pretty difficult to forget the time two bloodied, chainsaw-wielding men terrorized the public at Toronto's Cherry Beach last summer following an altercation with anti-maskers, but a new painting by artist Viktor Mitic ensures you never will.

The Serbian-born, Toronto-based artist used his distinct style of outlining figures in bullet holes in the new piece depicting the men from the incident, called "Safe Harbour," and it's now on display at the Oeno Gallery in Prince Edward County.

"When I first saw the news clip on blogTO with two characters revving chainsaws and going after a crowd, I thought it was staged, almost like a well-scripted movie scene," Mitic tells blogTO of what inspired him to create the piece. "A slow-moving scene on the brink of vigilante violence."

But the artist says he saw the incident as more than just a shocking sight to behold.

Instead, he felt it perfectly represented the exasperation so many Toronto residents were experiencing as a result of the pandemic.

"The two men exposed the brooding frustration and helplessness incited by the lockdown," he says. "That dynamic, I believe, is something that's been latent for some time and came out in a surreal and terrifying manner."

And the fact that it all unfolded at Cherry Beach — one of Toronto's favourite summer spots — was the cherry on top.

"The setting for it was perfect," Mitic says. "A serene scene by the lake and trees, which is absolutely Canadian. I felt an event like this was historic and deserving of a large-scale painting on canvas done in my usual way of work, with paint, gold leaf and live ammunition shot through it."

Mitic's post-Pop-inspired paintings have appeared all over the world, from Japan to New York City, and he's known for his particularly unique use of live ammo.

"Mitic incorporates two different forces within his artwork. He transcribes powerful imagery of peaceful or destructive historical events and infamous or iconic individuals and subverts them with something unexpected," reads the gallery's description of the artist's work. 

"Mitic uses the performance element of shooting the canvas using real guns and live ammo, creating a distinct connect the dot effect. These smoky craters within the canvas produced from the bullets join to create a beautiful but destructive aesthetic."

"Safe Harbour" will be on display at the Oeno Gallery until April 18.

Lead photo by

Oeno Gallery


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