Vandalist: Billboard Takeover
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Vandalist: Billboard Takeover

Art versus commerce.


BY: Voltron Crew
LOCATION: Yonge and Dundas
PHOTO BY: Jmaxtours
FIELD NOTES: In some ways graffiti and advertising share common ground. They both aim to show dominance, create brand familiarity and gain the attention of the public. And in both cases they are inflicted on the public without our say in the matter. A key difference is that, at its core, the vast majority of advertising aims to manipulate us into desiring specific products or services, often feeding on our insecurities and vulnerabilities with the purpose of generating a profit. Despite being visually and psychologically detrimental people are more accepting of the intrusive nature of public ads because money has exchanged hands, as though this somehow makes it palatable. Graffiti, while aesthetically and morally controversial, asks nothing of the general public but to appreciate it as we would appreciate other art forms. It can be beautiful, inspiring, and thought provoking, words rarely used to describe ads. Which is why, if given the choice of an ad or graffiti in a prominent public space we choose graffiti every single time.

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