FAUXREEL / DAN BERGERON
Dan Bergeron, aka Fauxreel, was born in Toronto’s west end in 1975. Part social commentator, part documentarian, part agitator, Dan continually questions society's social and cultural perceptions and, through his work, aims to connect people -- both to each other and to the built environment of the city.
Dan studied film and sound design at Carleton University in Ottawa but credits skateboarding and graffiti for heavily influencing his re-purposing of public spaces. Engaging rather than passive, inclusive rather than codified, Dan strives to portray an unmediated likeness in his subjects in his work.
Dan is most widely known for his interventions on advertising billboards, the large-scale documentation for Luminato 2008 of soon-to-be displaced residents of Regent Park, a project with the Art Gallery of Ontario youth council titled Shiftchange, and most recently, a site-specific installation he created with Specter titled A City Renewal Project.
DSTRBO / DAN BULLER (HVW8)
A Canadian pioneer of aesthetic and collaborative driven graffiti, Dan Buller has inspired generations of street artists. His early mural work with the Puzzle Crew set the stage in Ottawa for the emergence of an entire school of street artists focused on innovation, dialogue, and community.
Dan’s work is often characterized by highly resolved portrait studies and he is renowned for his editorial work in Montreal. Forming one-third of Heavyweight Art Installation (HVW8), he has toured and exhibited internationally, including venues in Japan, England, Holland, Brussels, Germany, Italy, Canada, USA, Puerto Rico.
The HVW8 Art installation first debut was painting live at the 1999 Montreal Jazz Festival. The collective has created live art across the world, participating in festivals such as the Coachella Festival in Indio, California, the Winter Music Conference in Miami, CMJ Festival in New York City, and the Candela Music and Arts Festival in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
With a gritty-soft pallet of distorted figures, teetering tree houses, jumbled skylines, and even infamous hug-me trees, Elicser Elliot is arguably Toronto’s best loved of graffiti artists. A graduate of the Illustration at Sheridan College, he has been producing and showing work in Toronto for almost twelve years.
Elicser’s outdoor work has ranged from collaborations with the vast majority of Toronto’s top underground artists on murals and grassroots art shows, to being a staple at the Toronto Jazz Festival and Harbourfront Centre. His prolific output has also been featured and reviewed in publications such as Mix Magazine, The Globe and Mail, Spacing and NOW Magazine.
Using artistic skills honed on the alleyways of Toronto, Elicser’s gallery practice often consists of free-form collages -- soft character work mediated by his experiences and relationships with others, and highly improvised found-object experiments.
CASE / RYAN MACKEEN
Ryan MacKeen was born in Belleville, Ontario, in 1977 and educated in the Animation program at Sheridan College, Oakville. Currently, Ryan is directing shorts and music videos for a variety of recording artists. Notable collaborations include Eminem, The Arcade Fire, and Megadeth. With the Arcade Fire, Neighborhood #3 (Power Out) won video of the year at the Juno Awards and charted high around the globe.
Ryan’s drawings, paintings, films, murals, and graffiti derive from his ideas on life and experiences in youth. Throughout his practice, graffiti remains a constant base to which he returns. Under the alias "CASE" he has risen to be an internationally respected graffiti artist and one of the most notable from Canada.
Through 12 years of mounting public installations, Ryan has seen his work documented extensively in magazines and documentary videos. This included an artist feature in Graffiti World: Street Art from Five Continents (Thames/Hudson Press).
LEASE / LISA MANSFIELD
Lease is a stencil artist and photographer based in Toronto, Canada. Lisa Mansfield is also a fictional character who featured on the hit soap The Young and the Restless until 1989 … she mysteriously disappeared after kidnapping Brad and Lauren, locking them in a cage, and attempting to gas them.
The real-life Lease is a graduate of the Sheridan College Photography program, best known as a co-founder, curator, and organizer of the late, great, Press Pause Collective, and for her highly refined stencil work and commercial photography. Merging traditional and digital processes, she has used her photographic and design background to become Toronto’s reigning ‘Stencil Queen.’
Lease’s work has been featured in print, film, and galleries throughout Canada and the United States. It can also be found in the book Graffiti Women (Thames/Hudson Press) and in the upcoming Canadian documentary Exit Hinterland by The Moody Group.
CANT 4 / AMANDA MARIE
Amanda has been actively involved in the visual arts community for over a decade. After fine arts studies at Sheridan College, she graduated with honours from the Ontario College of Art and Design, Toronto. Awards included the Hamilton Women’s Association Tuition scholarship and the Rapp award for painting.
Amanda has gone on to show in over 40 galleries across North America, including the Art Gallery of Ontario. Additionally, she has participated in various private and public mural projects. Notable mural works include an installation at Kingston Maximum Security Penitentiary.
With roots in acrylic, aerosol painting, and graffiti art, she has represented both CFA and MSN crews, and is now sharpening her skills as a leading custom tattoo artist. The divisions between areas of practice often blur: tattoo aficionados are drawn to her fine arts background, and the surfaces of her canvas work tend to assume the feel of ornamented skin.
OTHER / DEREK SHAMUS MEHAFFEY
Other has been painting on walls and trains throughout the world over the last 20 years, with humble scribbles in alley ways and school yards slowly building his interest in all forms of art.
Now after so much time he considers himself an adult contemporary graffiti artist… the Michael Bolton of graffiti.
His work mostly adorns the sides of boxcars broken up and shuttled across North America… a sort of scattered diary, a sordid saxophone solo of work creaking through desolate riverside towns… trailing off a whisper in the night. Other has a love-hate relationship with painting indoors… while it pays the bills it doesn't have the same freedom as graffiti...
He just wonders?…. How can they make love if they can’t make amends?… how can they start over if the fighting never ends?... Being at odds is what brings Michael "Other" Bolton's work together... what is missing between the painting and the street makes... the other.
ROYAL / DIXON / JUAN CARLOS NORIA
Born in Caracas, Venezuela, this artist carries his Latin American sensibility on his sleeve. As a teen growing up in Ottawa, Juan Carlos became an accomplished figure skater. Grace and lines were an obsession for him. So, too, were ideas of subversion.
After hitting the rigid structure of the skating world -- and dropping out -- he found comfort (and discomfort) in visual art, on the streets with a paint can … postering, skateboarding, and fleeing police. Then came a strange opportunity: A world tour with Disney on Ice. It heightened his sense of absurdity and anger, sharpening his visual and social awareness. His career took flight with live painting performances.
So proficient from his days of graffiti, he quickly earned a reputation for highly resolved canvases produced in front of appreciative crowds. Through these events Juan Carlos opened the door for other young artists and pushed them to achieve with him.
GENE STARSHIP / GENE PENDON (HVW8)
Born in Ottawa, and drawing and painting since early childhood, Gene discovered graffiti and mural work by 1983. As a graduate of Concordia University (BFA in Drawing and Painting), he was awarded the Robert Langstadt Memorial Scholarship and the George Balcan Bursary for Painting and Drawing.
Gene began his practice of live painting as a performance at the 1992 Montreal Jazz Festival, later forming the live art troupe, Spill Collective, with artist, Dan Buller. In 1999 he co-founded the Heavyweight Art Installation (HVW8), a 3-man touring live art project, performing installations worldwide alongside musicians, producers, and DJ’s such as Jazzanova, Afrika Bambaataa, and Bugz In The Attic.
HVW8 has exhibited at the Parco Gallery in Tokyo, the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (MOCCA) in Toronto, the Liane and Danny Taran Gallery Saidye Bronfman Centre for the Arts in Montreal, Museum of Art Puerto Rico, and the Apart Gallery, London, UK.
SPECTER / GABRIEL REESE
Reese, known as Specter in the street art circles, creates outdoor site-specific interventions in an attempt to shift the dynamics in public space. Almost unique in his use of renegade sculptures, he aims to deconstruct established notions of the built environment -- while illuminating its potential as creative co-conspirator.
Along with undergraduate studies in fine arts and extensive experience as a professional muralist, Specter's roots are firmly planted in graffiti. Specter was a co-founder of Kops, one of Montreal's most reputable graffiti crews. Abandoned buildings and forgotten environments continue to be a source of inspiration; a byproduct of his earlier years scaling buildings and climbing drainpipes.
Although focusing on sculpture, Reese's body of work is versatile -- often integrating both two- and three-dimensional concepts, a variety of mediums, and more often than not, subverse humour and hints of delicious irony.
EGR / ERICA GOSICH ROSE
Erica Gosich Rose aka EGR, grew up in Burlington -- a quiet city near Toronto, Canada. Her fascination with street art intensified while traveling to and from Sheridan College, by train, for Illustration courses.
EGR's works can be found on crumbling city walls and in pristine art galleries, fine art to corporate murals, illustration, and even live art. Part of EGR's appeal is her ability to bridge art, design, and functional purpose. She is as comfortable with traditional oil paints as she is wielding aerosol cans -- from Australia to Italy.
Though pop culture and social references abound in her work, the female perspective is a recurring staple. As women are still a minority in the “boys' club” of urban art, many consider her a pioneer in the street art world. EGR has graced the covers of Graphotism, Elemental, and Pound, with features in books including Graffiti World, Graffiti Women, and 400ml.
EVOKE / PATRICK THOMPSON
Patrick Thompson is a Canadian-born artist who has exhibited internationally and been involved in Canadian graffiti since 1994. Highly esteemed for pushing the boundaries of street art, he has painted outdoors under the pseudonym Evoke throughout North and Central America, Europe, and Asia.
Thompson is often placed into the "Canadian School" of street artists including Other, Labrona, and Thesis Sahib -- a group known for their inspired improvisations and openness towards freeform mark-making.
Thompson’s own creative process develops through a self-coined process he refers to as “mistakism”, whereby the artist allows a memory, feeling, sentence, or some other bite of information to spark the beginning of a particular work. Imagery follows, inspired by the ‘in-between’ places found throughout the Canadian landscape -- converging into dreamlike scenes. This union creates a pictorial space where imaginary characters, forms and marks can interact in a place that is whimsical as well as charged.
DEVON OSTROM - Curator / Project Design
Devon Ostrom holds an MA in curating from Goldsmiths College, University of London, and has graduated from programs in Non-profit as well as Human Resource management from Ryerson University.
His career as an organizer started at fourteen when coordinating a graffiti contest at the Central Canadian Exhibition in Ottawa. From the Art Gallery of Ontario to a mural at Kingston Penitentiary, he has since gone on to organize countless installations and exhibitions. This included the highly acclaimed Streetscape programming for Luminato 2008 at Regent Park and the Parliament St. Slips.
Devon has a strong background in community organizing: he is a founder/curator of them.ca (an organization of street artists) and serves as the Visual Arts Director of Manifesto. Advocacy work includes founding the Beautiful City Billboard Fee (BCBF) – an alliance of 36 organizations working to implement a tax on billboards with the proceeds going to public art. He is also a member of the Toronto City Summit Alliance’s Emerging Leaders Network.