In early May I received a very exciting email: My application to the PATCH Project’s call for artists back in March had been successful! I was frankly taken aback, as the caliber and experience of the artists on their existing roster is so considerable, and though I’ve been moving in the direction of public art slowly but surely over the last two or so years, my portfolio of work in this area is hardly extensive. But hey, WHATEVER! I am DEEPLY happy for the new field of opportunity to contribute to such a diverse range and nature of projects as PATCH has on the go.
For those of you who aren’t familiar, PATCH (Public Art Through Construction Hoarding) is an initiative linking artists to urban planning projects and building sites. They offer several levels of services, from site beautification or augmentation through art installation, through to community consultation and engagement in art making processes for more integrated projects – an extension of their mandate begun with the STEPS Initiative (Sustainable Thinking and Expression on Public Space), the founding project of 2009 from which PATCH evolved and which, very relevantly to my current work and commitments, contributed the World’s Tallest Mural to my home turf, St James Town.
On the 12th, I attended their first orientation session (ever) for artists, old and new. There were a few familiar faces, like Emilia Jajus, who I first met doing Bell Boxes last summer in St James Town, and some other folks I recognized either by name or from the work they’ve done around town. It’s always neat to make these associations! Ever since my practice has become more outdoor-oriented, street art of all kinds has mapped more forcefully on my radar. Putting a face and a name to the gorgeous but often anonymous images that surround us deepens the story behind the city’s extensive urban gallery, and one’s feeling of connection to this strange community.
I urge you all to surf the full lists of selected artists. Chances are you’ll recognize a great many of the featured works, as PATCH has uniquely snagged some of Toronto’s most prolific and spectacular talents.
photo credit: Vera Belazelkoska