Between the Lines is a documentary looking at graffiti in Toronto that will be released in 2013. In the meantime, Torontoist has partnered with the filmmakers to develop Graffiti Talks, a series of web shorts profiling some key figures in the Toronto graffiti scene. Some are sympathetic, some offensive; hopefully all are thought-provoking.
Does graffiti belong in the galleries? Is it still graffiti if it’s in a gallery?
To some people graffiti is a style, an aesthetic—defined by how it looks. To others it is identified not primarily by its visual properties but where it is: specifically, graffiti is art that is drawn or painted or stenciled, in public spaces or on other people’s property, illegally. For some that makes it a form of protest and for others a form of vandalism; in either case, graffiti for many is defined by the fact that it’s illicit.
For any number of reasons, an increasing number of graffiti artists are challenging that notion. Among them is Pascal Paquette, whose first experiment with street art was a life-size self-portrait sculpture installed on the outside of an art gallery, and who most recently was part of a two-person installation project for the Art Gallery of Ontario in conjunction with Sean Martindale. Between the Lines spoke with him about the evolving nature of graffiti in Toronto; some of his thoughts are in the short video above.
We originally wrote that Paquette was the co-curator of the AGO show; it was actually curated by Katherine Dennis.