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Underpass Park, Toronto, ON

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posted by alias Snuffy on Monday 24th of October 2016 01:21:45 PM

Toronto Star Saturday, September 17, 2016: Derek Mehaffey, a.k.a. Troy Lovegates, a.k.a. OTHER, is an internationally renowned artist who started graffiti writing in Toronto in 1988. He and an old friend known only as Labrona have painted 16 portraits of east-end residents on 16 pillars in Underpass Park over the past weeks, reflecting on how the “times done changed.” The mural project is part of StreetARToronto (StART), a city initiative that treats streets as vital public space. The organization has a mandate to transform underpasses into “safe, walkable and beautiful landmarks.” Underpass Park was the first of its kind in Toronto, built below an overpass above the West Don Lands in 2012. For this project, Troy Lovegates and Labrona were invited to continue a project they worked on through StART last year. Each pillar depicts a single resident of the neighbourhood, each “holding up” the masses travelling on the road obliviously above them. “They are the pillars of this bridge … the pillars of community holding up the crazy Toronto commute,” Troy Lovegates told the Star. “It is amazing all the life that happens on one city block … all the stories and struggles … I wish I could keep painting everyone.” Lovegates approaches people in the neighbourhood and asks to take their photos, which he then uses to paint a surreal and vivid likeness. “I like really old, weathered-looking souls, but I can’t fall too deep into that. So I (painted) some kids and tried some new stuff.” According to artistic legend, when Troy Lovegates was just a baby he made his mother’s jaw drop by announcing, “I was an artist in my last life and I am going to be one in this life, too.” Today, the 44-year-old is a new father himself and has come a long way since he first began creating oil stick characters on the sides of train cars. His pieces and shows have appeared Taipei, Tokyo, Paris, Dublin, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Austin, Detroit, Montreal, Barcelona, Lima and many other cities around the world.

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  • Published 08.09.22
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