Street art gets a bit of a bad rap, and an unfair one at that.
Full disclosure: we're pretty big fans of what can be done with the urban canvas here at Drake, and if you've been to the neighbourhood we call home, it's kind of obvious why. The laneways east and west of Lisgar Street, just behind us, are graced with eye-popping, fully-realized murals that gleam every colour of summer in the depths of winter. And to the southeast of us, there's what Toronto affectionately calls "Graffiti Alley"—another name for Rush Lane, a laneway halfway between Queen Street West and Richmond Street.
It's a veritable red-brick gallery of artistic vision marked by a certain rough-hewn rawness, like a run-down tunnel of colour hidden from the rest of the city. In a word, it's magical.
So you can imagine our response when we saw what can be done with the side of a building in other places, like Poland. Back in November, you might have read about Poland as a "land of giants," the way CNN described it. Except in this case, "giants" refers to the enormous, stories-tall portraits and murals that crop up here and there—some of which stretch taller than ten stories. They're the work of collectives, primarily. One of those is called "Etam," comprising the two artists responsible for much of this brave, colossal artistic grace: Przemyslaw Blejzyk and Mateusz Gapski. And in truly revolutionary fashion as artists, their rising profile has brought them across the pond, with works appearing in American cities, too.
We'll be looking at what can be found in our own back yard as spring gradually emerges from its shell—have you seen Jeff Blackburn's bears all over the city?—but for now, check out these jaw-dropping works from the streets of Lodz, Poland.
More often than not, dismissing it as "graffiti" doesn't even come close to doing street art justice.