The subject of street art and graffiti is one that is extremely polarizing. Whether the observer is someone who thinks it’s a scourge on the city and a defacement of property or someone who sees it as a beautiful art form that allows for individual expression, it is always guaranteed to draw out an emotional response. Thankfully, the city of Toronto falls into the latter category and actually allows street art and graffiti to remain on its walls. I’ve put together this collection of the best Toronto street art and graffiti to share some of my favorite pieces.
Many of the street art and graffiti pieces in this post are more than likely painted over and are no longer visible. That is perhaps one of the most intriguing and fascinating parts of the art form to me. By design, most pieces are only pristine for a few weeks before being painted over by another artist or crew. There’s one rule though: if you are going to cover another artists’ work you had better make sure that the new piece was better than the last.
All pieces of art fall into one of two categories, street art or graffiti. Graffiti, or graf is the more common of the two and is made up of the names of either individuals or crews in highly stylized lettering.
Street Art on the other hand uses a combination of images to send a message, and refrains from using any lettering at all. Most street art pieces aren’t painted by a single artist and are instead completed by a crew who complete the whole piece together freehand.
The exception to this however, is a more modern form of street art that uses stencils that can be quickly stuck to a wall and filled in.
Of course as with any art there is typically cross over between the styles that lead to some really interesting collaborative and collage type pieces.
While the haters of the world often suggest that street art and graffiti can be negative, you’ll also typically find some pieces that are inspirational or even a tribute to a local figurehead in the community.
Overall, I love to see all the varied forms of art decorating the otherwise drab walls of the inner city and am thrilled to see a city like Toronto embrace street art and graffiti.
While you can see street art and graffiti all thorough Toronto one of the best spots to check out is in the Fashion District in an area affectionately referred to as Graffiti Alley. The area runs South of Queen St and runs West from Spadina Ave to Portland St. You can spend hours in the back alleys in this area taking in art as there is nearly a kilometer of wall space. This is where the majority of the pieces in this post came from.
If you take the subway from downtown Toronto and head west on the Bloor Line, you’ll catch a glimpse of a full block of pieces on the south side between the Dundas West and Keele Stations.
The Kensington Market is one of the most vibrant in downtown Toronto and has many pieces of art and murals that beautify the whole area.
Do you have your own favorite spot to take in street art and graffiti in Toronto? If so let us know in the comments below. We’d also be thrilled if you connected with us on social media on Facebook, twitter, +Kenin, tumblr, or Pinterest.