Expression being a fundamental human quality, it should come as no surprise many artists find a voice through graffiti. For Mediah, one of Toronto’s pioneer artists, his work is intended to have a spiritual aspect. “You’re supposed to feel it on the inside; it’s supposed to give something to you.” Experimenting with different mediums is what inspired his pseudonym. In his early work, he thought he could do graffiti with any medium, on any media.
Over the past decade, artists have been reclaiming their cities, redecorating their urban environments and redefining the very notion of contemporary art. On abandoned warehouses and derelict buildings, train tracks and highways throughout the world, through the cracks of graffiti sprayed walls, street art has emerged as a global movement, as artists move beyond the letter towards the image. On the fringes of society, across the vast space of the second largest country in the world, Canada has given birth to some of the most versatile and talented artists working in the street today.
Montreal is a city of artists. If you’ve ever gone to a café, park, or museum in the middle of the day, in the middle of the week, then you know. When I first moved here well over a decade ago, I remember thinking to myself, “Doesn’t anyone in this city go to work?” But gradually I came to realise that those people languidly sitting on terrasses sipping coffee over their open laptops, those strolling through parks on their phones, or those critically eyeing the bare walls of city buildings, are indeed working.
THE INTANGIBILITY OF A CRAFTED, CURATED ART SHOW IS OFTEN PART OF ITS BEAUTY. YOU GO, YOU OBSERVE THE WORKS, YOU REFLECT, AND YOU GO HOME ARMED WITH YOUR MENTAL IMAGES AND YOUR OPINIONS. FOR LOS ANGELES BASED ARTIST AMIR H. FALLAH, CREATOR OF THE PRINTED BOOK SERIES AND DAILY ART BLOG BEAUTIFUL/DECAY, THE ART GALLERY EXPERIENCE IS NO LONGER SOMETHING YOU HAVE TO LEAVE BEHIND.
We asked one of the founders at Eyelevel Gallery in Halifax, who was their recomendation was of an artist to keep an eye on, and Jesse Mitchell was the artist.
So, Jesse, when did you start creating art?
I started making stuff when I was in my early twenties. I was really ill and basically bed ridden for a couple of years, I had a lot of spare time on my hands, it was the perfect situation to explore creative pursuits.
THE LAND FOR AN ART GALLERY WITH A DIFFERENCE. ONE OF CANADA’S LONGEST RUNNING CREATIVE CENTRES, EYELEVEL GALLERY SHOWCASES SOME OF HALIFAX’S MOST UNCONVENTIONAL ART. FOUNDED IN 1974, BY A GROUP OF NOVA SCOTIAN ARTISTS LOOKING FOR A PLACE TO SHOWCASE CUTTING EDGE WORK, THIS NON-PROFIT, ARTIST RUN CENTRE HAS KEPT TRUE TO ITS UNCONVENTIONAL ROOTS. NOT CONFINED TO AN ADDRESS, OR SOLELY THE CANVAS, EYELEVEL IS KNOWN FOR ITS ARTIST DIALOGUE, AND BREAKING DOWN THE CONFINES OF WHAT A GALLERY IS.
When Assad sends his troops to knock down doors, break hands, or shoot people point blank, simply for expressing their beliefs using their paint, pencils, lyrics or words, it’s easy to see why artists would stop doing what they love and using it in protest against these Nazi-style attacks against creatives.