Sunday, 11 March 2012

War on graffiti

From previous posts you will notice that I believe graffiti can be art and I appreciate graffiti writers who put meaning into their work. If you have ever been to Toronto you have probably noticed at some point some form of graffiti. There is a thriving street art community in Toronto and it has become a part of its backdrop.

This past week I had planned on going to Toronto to attend an art gallery opening (based on graffiti) and I wanted to tell you guys all about it in this weeks blog post. Instead, I decided to get sick and be stuck in bed. Luckily, I can still tell you all about it, just not my own first-hand experience and without any personal photos.

For those of you who don’t know, Toronto Mayor (Rob Ford) has been trying to ‘clean up’ Toronto by getting rid of all possible marks of graffiti. About a year ago, he declared a war on graffiti. He decided that he would make business owners pay to remove graffiti off their buildings, even if it was an amazing piece of art and the owners liked the work. Many comments on this issue are that he should be working with the artists, not against them. I agree with this statement. Many artists are just going to retaliate and fight for what they want, which many artists have done. Watch the news clip below.

And with that, SPUD a Toronto graffiti writer, stood up for what he believed and has been aiming his work at Rob Ford. He has been spray painting the streets of Toronto and creating canvases with images of the Mayor as a grotesque worm, a smog cloud, and a human “gravy train,” as a reaction to the mayor’s crackdown on graffiti. 

On Thurs. March 8, 2012 “CENSORED” art gallery opened. The gallery takes Spud’s work inside, both graffiti and fine art pieces, to express his thoughts on the Ford administration's censorship of Graffiti as an Art form. SPUD’s show hopes to highlight the art in graffiti and settle the argument once and for all – graffiti IS art. The gallery reached capacity and had people waiting in line to get in, meaning it is more than just street artists interested in Spud's work. 

Watch promo video here.
Between The Lines Presents Censored: SPUD vs. Mayor Rob Ford) from betweenthelinesdoc on Vimeo.

Read National Post interview with Spud here

The show is open to the general public for the month of March. If you happen to be in Toronto this month, check it out! Located at Don’t Tell Mama Gallery Space. 108 Ossington Ave. Toronto

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Music makes the world go 'round

At the top of my list of Canadian Hip Hop artists is Shad. Shad is a little different from some of the other artists I have posted and I think that everyone can appreciate his music. I hope there are some of you who have heard of him and take pleasure in such a great artist. If this is your first time you have even heard his name or music, I believe you will enjoy it and may even find yourself continuing to listen to him.

Shad or Shad K, born Shadrach Kabang, is a Canadian hip hop artist. He was born in Kenya and was raised in London, Ontario. Shad’s music has been described as an ‘old soul.’ His sound resembles that of some of the old school hip hop artists. He has stated that he grew up listening to artists such as A Tribe Called Quest and Maestro and are influences on his style of music. He is a lyrical genius. It is true that his music is thoughtful and reflective. Real meaning and soul are put into all of his lyrics and sound. Interesting facts: he never uses the F-word in any of his songs and has a Master's degree in Liberal Studies from Simon Fraser University.

To learn a little bit more about Shad watch here. This is a great interview of him at the CBC Hip Hop Summit in 2011.
Shad’s last album, TSOL, was released in 2010. You can find more of his music on his Myspace. The latest music from Shad can be heard on his Mixtape released in December 2011. Listen to it here
He is on tour right now in Canada and will be coming to Toronto on March 22.

One of my favourite Shad song's 'Keep Shining.'

The day I discovered he collaborated with another one of my favourite Canadian artists, City and Colour (Dalls Green) was a great day. 'Live Forever' is always on repeat. The mixture between the two genres creates a perfect song. Listen to 'Live Forever' below. I'm hoping there is more of this to come.

A group that has toured with Shad and other groups such as Bedouin Soundclash is Grand Analog. They perform all of their instruments live, even the kazoo!
All of their songs are great…they even have one featuring Shad.
Listen to 'Electric City' below.
Listen to more of their music here.