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.
Graffiti tends to be a polarizing subject. On one side are staunch defenders of the value of street art. They see real aesthetic merit in a lot of work that goes up in city alleys and on the sides of buildings—and, perhaps even more than that, they see graffiti as a sign of life in a city. Bare walls may be neater, but, for these supporters, they’re also very boring. On the other side are property defenders who tend to focus on the transgressive nature of graffiti. According to this view, because most graffiti is illegal and created on other people’s property, it’s inherently problematic.
Making things very difficult for the pro side is Toronto graffiti writer SPUD. SPUD is rude. SPUD doesn’t care about your heritage brick. SPUD could be the poster boy for everything that makes people angry about graffiti. In fact, while shooting some of the footage for the short profile above, Between the Lines co-producer Kelli Kieley was approached by several people who said they’d thought about spray-painting their way through SPUD’s just-launched art show, and spray-painting the man himself.
SPUD is also an undeniable presence in the Toronto graffiti scene. Here he is, in his own words.