Continuing in their spirit of leveraging underutilized public spaces, the award-winning public arts organization — STEPS —  is thrilled to have been invited to collaborate with internationally celebrated artist PHLEGM to create Canada’s newest public art landmark, a 8 storey mural at the heart of Toronto’s busy Yonge & St. Clair community.

PHLEGM is well known for his fantastical scenes depicting mythological beasts, curious contraptions, and shrouded figures. His work includes a narrative component that leaves the viewer guessing at how the depicted situation came about and where it might lead. His work is instantly recognizable and can be found across the world adorning high profile institutions, houses, factories, and in the many interstitial spaces found in cities everywhere. While he calls the UK is home, PHLEGM’s distinctive work can be found across Germany, Norway, Sweden, Croatia, Australia, New Zealand, Tunisia, the United States and the Azores.

While this project is international in scope, its certainly homegrown with over 230 local residents and business operators contributing insights that have informed the work’s design. Reflecting on the site as the highest point in an otherwise flat Toronto, the Councillor shared that “Yonge and St. Clair is one of Toronto’s most desirable neighbourhoods, and creating a landmark piece of public art in collaboration with one of the world’s most influential street artists, reflects the area’s unique geography.” The work is expected to attract cultural tourism to the area.

With a strong mandate to build the capacity of local emerging artists, this is STEPS’ first international project and one they hope will foster cultural dialogue and attract global attention to the city’s homegrown street art scene, and have embedded mentorship opportunities within the initiative.

As owners and managers several commercial buildings at this busy intersection, partner Slate Asset Management will be hosting this new work on the exterior western-facing wall of 1 St. Clair West as their first step in championing a vibrant community. Informed by community generated reflections on the St. Clair neighbourhood, PHLEGM’s design concepts were revealed to local stakeholders in late spring, and all partners look forward to celebrating the unveiling of this new landmark in collaboration with the wider community in Summer 2016.

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