TORONTO, June 28, 2018 /CNW/ - Anticipated Equilibrium design revealed for world renowned street artist Okuda San Miguel's two-week-long residency in Toronto. With support from a local artistic team, Okuda will produce a 23-storey cultural landmark at Carlton and Jarvis.
A size and scope rarely seen before, Okuda's large-scale mural will transform what is described as an untapped canvas. This dramatic canvas will be brought to life in collaboration with award-winning public arts charity, The STEPS Initiative, 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 will offer 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.
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.
"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.
Local residents and visitors alike will be able to watch his work and its intricate design unfold from great heights, with a locally based artistic team beginning painting the week of June 18th, and Okuda's residency commencing on Thursday, July 5th. Production will also be shared via timelapse video online (stay tuned to STEPS' social media @stepsinitiative for more information and links).
"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.
The STEPS Initiative:
The STEPS Initiative is an award winning charity that sits at the intersection of culture, community engagement, and city-building by animating unlikely spaces with unlikely partners. We seek to inspire cities across Canada and around the world to create welcoming public spaces that reflect and celebrate local community through artistic excellence. STEPS has been responsible for producing some of Canada's largest and most community-engaged public art initiatives, notably the World's Tallest Mural in collaboration with Toronto artists Sean Martindale and the Toronto Muralists (200 Wellesley Street East), as well as the #StClairMural in collaboration with British artist PHLEGM (1 St Clair West, Toronto).
Okuda San Miguel:
Okuda San Miguel's work is expressed through murals, sculpture and canvas. His contemporary works can be found in public spaces and galleries across Europe, Africa, South America, Asia and the United States. This will be the first of his work featured in Toronto. Okuda's geometric structures and multi-colored prints are joined with gray bodies and organic forms in artistic pieces that integrates pop-art, surrealism as well as maintains a signature essence of street art. His works often raise contradictions about existentialism, the universe, the infinite, the meaning of life, the false freedom of capitalism, and show a clear conflict between modernity and our roots. In his work, multicolored geometric architecture merge with organic forms, bodies without identity, animals interwoven with nature, a multitude of conflicting symbols that incite reflection—overall a unique and very special iconographic language.
StreetARToronto (StART), an initiative of the City of Toronto's Transportation Services Division 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".
Parkside Student Residence:
Parkside Student Residence is a business/residential property, which is owned by Knightstone Capital Management. Parkside Student Residence is not just a place to reside - a place to live. It is a community that fosters the development of critical skills and abilities such as leadership, problem solving, communications, work ethic and teamwork. As a residence with a high international student population, Parkside Residence saw collaborating with STEPS as an opportunity to demonstrate the vibrancy and international nature of their community to the wider downtown Toronto community by hosting the work of an international street artist on their property.
This project is generously supported by the City of Toronto's StreetARToronto (StART) program, Knightstone Capital Management, HealthCare of Ontario Pension Plan, Chartwells of Compass Canada, Dulux Paints, Turner & Townsend, Diamond Schmitt Architects, Crowe Soberman LLP, Single Digits, Foliot Furniture, Canadian Campus Communities, and Sel-ko Flooring.
IMPORTANT DATES FOR AUDIO / VISUAL CONTENT
June 29th, 2018 (4:00pm - 6:00pm):
Community Painting Day
111 Carlton St, Toronto, ON M5B 2G3 (Parkside Student Residence)
July 5th, 2018 (Timing TBC):
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
SOURCE Knightstone Capital Management Inc.
For further information: Media Contacts: Anjuli Solanki, Director of Community Programs, STEPS, [email protected]; Alexis Kane Speer, Executive Director, STEPS, [email protected], 647-773-2547, 647-999-0213