World-renowned Spanish street artist Okuda San Miguel ignites Toronto with giant twenty-three storey mural celebrating diversity, knowledge, and nature.
Equilibrium created during world-renowned street artist Okuda San Miguel’s two-week-long residency in Toronto. With support from a local artistic team, Okuda produced a 23-storey cultural landmark at Carlton and Jarvis.
A size and scope rarely seen before, Okuda’s large-scale mural transforms an untapped canvas. This dramatic wall is brought to life in collaboration with STEPS, the City of Toronto’s StreetARToronto program, and Knightstone Capital’s Parkside Student Residence. “I have been working with STEPS for a number of years to bring art and community to our downtown streets and am very proud to support this new mural,” said Ward 27 City Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam about the work that will be viewed by over 100,000 commuters daily who traverse the site.
“Through our programming, we seek to leverage existing built forms and community assets for public art initiatives that not only push us technically, but challenge people to consider what constitutes a cultural space,” says STEPS’ Executive Director Alexis Kane Speer.
Equilibrium has offered paid employment for local and emerging artists; capacity building opportunities for students, as well as cultural programming for the wider public, including community painting days, an exhibition in partnership with #Hashtag Gallery, and public celebrations. At the nexus of educational institutions, student life, and diverse neighbourhoods, Okuda’s work will explore themes identified by stakeholders from the Parkside and surrounding communities such as unity, knowledge, nature, diversity, and innovation through his signature pop-surrealism style.
“It is my largest mural to date, which on a personal level is a very interesting and beautiful challenge. As for its content, I don’t want to reveal much, but I can say that it is a kind of totem that brings together several of my icons in a sort of family tree in which the universe, the Earth, humans and the natural world are intertwined,” shared artist, Okuda San Miguel.
Okuda was selected from a shortlist of the world’s top street artists not only because his style would push aesthetic boundaries within Toronto’s street art portfolio, but also for his excitement towards enhancing the vibrancy of the neighbourhood in collaboration with community partners.
STEPS has partnered with the City of Toronto’s StreetARToronto (StART) program alongside Parkside Student Residence property owner Knightstone Capital Management and the project partners listed below to bring vibrancy to the streetscape of Jarvis and Carlton. “We are a proud and passionate supporter of the international diversity within our student-centric residences. These international populations contribute to our thriving community and their global impact on our city, campuses and communities will be represented in this public art installation. The creativity, passion and diversity of our residents and the environment they call home will both inspire, and be inspired by this impressive artistic statement,” says David Lehberg, Founder of Knightstone Capital.
StART is a pro-active program that develops, supports, promotes and increases awareness of street art and its unique role in adding beauty and character to neighbourhoods across Toronto, while also counteracting graffiti vandalism and its harmful effect on communities. StART’s mission is to revitalize and engage communities through street and mural art while embracing the City’s motto “Diversity our Strength.”
“I think it will bring some added life and you won’t be able to look at it without smiling”, says local resident, John O’Keefe.
June 20th, 2018 (11:00am) Colour begins being applied by local artistic team – 111 Carlton St, Toronto, ON M5B 2G3 (Parkside Student Residence)
June 29th, 2018 (4:00pm – 6:00pm): Community Painting Day –111 Carlton St, Toronto, ON M5B 2G3 (Parkside Student Residence)
July 5th, 2018: Figurative elements of mural begin to be painted by Okuda San Miguel –111 Carlton St, Toronto, ON M5B 2G3 (Parkside Student Residence)
July 7th, 2018 (7:00pm): Launch of #Hashtag Gallery exhibit featuring Okuda San Miguel’s artwork – 830 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M6J 1V3
Sept 13th, 2018 (5:30-7:30): Community Celebration at the base of 111 Carlton St. Toronto, ON M5B 2G3 (Parkside Student Residence)