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Vandalist: Mugging for the Camera

The crime of art becomes the art of crime.



BY: Mark Michaelson
LOCATION: Kensington Market
PHOTOS BY: Mark Michaelson
FIELD NOTES: If you’ve spent any time in Kensington Market over the past few days, you might have spotted some of the mugshot wheatpastes that have recently sprung up. Although they lack branding, they are, to our surprise, guerrilla advertisements. Unlike some of the unfortunate corporate guerrilla advertising we’ve been subjected to in the past (ahem, Vespa, ahem), this promotion for a Hot Docs film about the history and culture of mugshots is pretty fascinating. According to PR maven Danielle Morgan, “Mugshot is a documentary examining the cultural, historic, and artistic significance of the mug shot. Several New York and Toronto-based artists are interviewed to discuss our endless intrigue with mug shots and what they’ve reflected across history.” We always love supporting local artists and Hot Docs (and galleries, too—and there happens to be a follow-up show at the Stephen Bulger Gallery), but we especially love the way this promotion has brought those two things together by giving the creators of a movie about mugshots their very own mugshots.

Once a week, Vandalist features some of the most interesting street art and graffiti from around Toronto. Find something great? Email