Big Up Kensington: Flags For All!
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Big Up Kensington: Flags For All!

Photo by Try Hank from the Torontoist Flickr Pool.
The entries are in for our Posted Toronto/Torontoist Flags For All Neighbourhood Flags Contest, and the batch is pretty eclectic. Steven Murray from the National Post and Torontoist’s Marc Lostracco offer their commentary, along with the artist statements. Read on to see the designs and to vote on a winner!

Entry 1: Michael D’Amico

KensingtonFlag_DAmico.gifArtist statement: I’m a musican and artist. Kensington Market is one of my favorite haunts in the city where everything is on a human scale—the architecture, the food, the people and shops all reflect a creativity and generousity unique to the market.
Steven says: I appreciate the variety in this design, but it strangely feels too “Autumny” for it to be a full-time flag. Reproduction would be tricky as well, with the finer details. I am glad that the mug of liquid isn’t labeled anything. Is it coffee? Tea? Cocoa? That’s for the viewer to decide. I’m thirsty.
Marc says: The use of red and black is interesting and unexpected. The amount of elements would have to be simplified to make it an easily identifiable and reproducible flag, but I found the cat to be quite creative and charming. I’d like to see a version on a red background with just the cat and the “KM” lettering on the black swoop.

Entry 2: Samina Sarfraz

KensingtonFlag_Dabir.gifArtist statement: This work’s title is “Gems In A Pouch,” representing the different communities. The green circle represents parks, and the blue ribbon reflects the official colour of Toronto.
Steven says: This is an uplifting and kinetic design, but it unfortunately feels more like a flag for the Olympics rather than a neighbourhood. GO TORONTO 2016!
Marc says: Though this is more of an idea that could be applied to Toronto as a whole, it’s graphically clean and modern, and the “Gems In A Pouch” motif is an interesting take on the cultural mosaic.

Entry 3: Peter Klumpenhower

KensingtonFlag_Klumpenhower.gifSteven says: I like the ingenuity of taking a simple piece out of the flag, but the colours may be a little too, um, “Conservative party” for Kensington.
Marc says: The black part is meant to be a cutout, in a shape intended to form a letter “K.” We don’t see many flags use pennant-like cutouts these days. Interestingly, the blue bars flanking maple leaves were once part of the original proposal for the 1965 national flag redesign, meant to symbolize both coasts.

Entry 4: Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg (Netherlands)

KensingtonFlag_vandenMuijzenberg2.gifArtist statement: Two things that strike me about Kensington: its origin, where the intended large plots for stately houses got instead divided into smaller plots for immigrants, and all those waves of immigrants, that have contributed to the colourful mix of people in the Kensington neighbourhood. So, I created a design that showed the big flag cut up into colourful smaller blocks, yet overall giving a hint of an old European pattern for its history, or if you like, an abstraction of a street map.
Steven says: The colours perfectly match the vibrant Kensington area, but the weave look makes it feel a little too Old Europe for such an eclectic neighbourhood.
Marc says: This flag is much busier than the artist’s second design below, but more in-line with his concept. The grid pattern actually reminds me of old-time football (soccer) club flags—perhaps it would work even better if the squares were even and in more of a checkerboard pattern. It’s certainly unique.

Entry 5: Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg

KensingtonFlag_vandenMuijzenberg1.gifArtist statement: A design of just four blocks, each a different size and colour, says in a minimal way what the other one says in an larger way. I like flags, especially if their simplicity and colours make them a joy to look at. City flags and national flags can be something serious, but I created these designs because I feel neighbourhood flags should just be fun!
Steven says: I’m a big fan of flags that keep it simple and I also like that it’s asymmetrical, showing the neighbourhood’s off-centre charm. But perhaps it’s too simple for somewhere that’s so eclectic.
Marc says: I like the artist’s representation of blocks being divided up into varying sizes as Kensington matured and grew. The combination of yellow, green, white and red here is interesting and unexpected, and I think that its simplicity is the most striking part.

Entry 6: Nick Vongthavy

KensingtonFlag_vongthavy.gifArtist statement:I mixing the English (first settlers) font with modern feel for the “K.” The yellow represents value and the green reminds me of the market.
Steven says: I think this is a great mix of simple design with something slightly flashy in the letter K. If my name started with a K, I would proudly drape myself in this flag and nothing else. I am now Keve Murray.
Marc says: Again, I think the simplicity here is a great asset. The Old English-type letter shows a certain pride, and I could imagine this design and colour scheme on stickers and embroidered crests, almost as if it were part of an official coat of arms. Like the Cabbagetown BIA flag, it’s immediately recognizable and I could easily see this flying over the market.

Now it’s up to you! Time to give your vote on these flags and other selections. The winner will receive an large, hand-crafted appliqué flag featuring their design, courtesy of our friends at The Flag Shop, as well as some National Post swag. May the best flag, or the flag designer with the most friends, win!