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ON THE COVER: New mural in the Annex (Jan. 2023)

January 24th, 2023 · No Comments

BIA sponsors art on frequently tagged space

Local artist Talie Shalmon stands proud with her new City of the Future mural. COURTESY MELANIE RAMSAY/BLOOR ANNEX BIA

By Hailey Alexander

In the mural, City of the Future, the city is held lovingly by a blue hand. It is rich with green space and flowers bloom above it. This image, gracing the brick wall at 378 Bloor St. W., is the latest touch of artistic flare to hit the Annex and was designed by local artist Talie Shalmon. The mural was installed on Nov. 30.

“This concept expresses the idea that we, as a community, are responsible for building and shaping our community and have the power to grow it in positive ways,” wrote Shalmon in her mural proposal, adding that, being “holders” of the city, it is society’s joint responsibility to keep things beautiful. Accordingly, Shalmon has used bright colours to reflect the creativity, vibrancy, and values of the Annex. It includes an array of local landmarks like the Hot Docs Cinema and Trinity-St. Paul’s Church. “It presents an optimistic view of the future and emphasizes the importance of our connection to nature,” Shalmon says. She hopes that her mural will “catch the eyes of passersby,” and bring both joy and inspiration to their day.

Shalmon drew inspiration from her desire to make the city more human-centred, inclusive, and sustainable. Being a longtime resident of the Annex, she expresses her familiarity with the community and says she is honoured to contribute her artwork to the area in which she was raised. Shalmon describes her vision for the future as “a city that is built for growing community, fostering creativity, and that is affordable and livable for everyone who wishes to reside here.” Alongside those values, Shalmon cares deeply about the environment and encourages efforts to protect it. With these two themes in mind she produced a cheerful work of art that adds life to a formerly under-utilized alleyway.

Melanie Ramsay, project coordinator of the Bloor-Annex BIA, says she is proud of this new addition to the community. The BIA seeks grant support every year from the City of Toronto’s Outdoor Mural and Street Art Grant to develop a new piece. “We found it has a positive effect on reducing the amount of graffiti on the main street,” says Ramsay about the annual contribution of art to the neighbourhoods walls. The wall where this latest mural was painted, on the side of Vietnam Lovely Noodle, was the “most graffitied wall in the Annex” as of 2021.

2022’s street art project called for “a lot of problem-solving” around the materials used.

The team worked with a new application known as vinyl mural printing in order to overcome logistical issues they faced when getting paint on the wall. As Ramsay describes, Shalmon painted her mural by hand before digitizing it, then the team printed her design on vinyl and heat-bonded it to the wall which helped the vinyl take on the building’s brick texture.

Shalmon says that this method of mural creation did not allow for her to interact with the public as much as traditional mural paint would, so she is keen to hear feedback from the community. 

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Tags: Annex · News · On the cover

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