Art is the language in Queen West this week.
There’s a new mural in town thanks to Lovebot creator Matthew Del Degan and some SKETCH artists.
We are proud to have collaborated with Matthew and the Virgin Mobile RE*Generation’s Spread the Love Campaign on an art piece championing love and community in Toronto. The result: an 11-by-12-foot vibrant mural, pictured below.
The mural, now at the new Virgin Mobile location at 680 Queen Street West
Although the mural might be news to some, this project started last April, when Matthew and SKETCH artists met in our Creative Enterprise Hub for working sessions to brainstorm ideas they wanted to see on the mural.
Matthew, right, in conversation with SKETCH artists during April’s working sessions (above and below)
Matthew and the artists crafted out ideas and sketched what they thought best represented their community. Gentrification, organic rebellion, fear and transformations were just some of the sentiments echoed in the sessions about the changing landscape of the Queen West Community.
The group decided that, in terms of the mural, incorporating ideas like organic rebellion and transformation with a playful, cartoon-like essence would best represent the ideas and feelings expressed in the session.
Community Artist Alum Percy shows off his ideas for the mural
SKETCH artists brainstorming (above and below)
Last week, the group finally got the chance to see what became of their thoughts and discussions. For everyone, it was a labour of love. “This mural was a huge passion project for me,” Matthew says, “I did what I did for the incredible relationships that I built with the youth at SKETCH.”
Some SKETCH representatives at the mural unveiling
“As an artist, you take on any situation and become a chameleon,” he continues, “So I had to embody the deep conversations we all had. It’s a huge part of being an artist: you need to feel something really deep and try to communicate it.”
And of course, there’s the lovable Lovebot, which Matthew describes as “a symbol of the people and the city…it’s about telling people that we’re not robots in this concrete jungle we live in.”
Like the Lovebot, Matthew’s work is also rooted in themes of love and kindness. “If you have a strong message to communicate,” he says, “art is the language.”
A plaque onsite commemorating the mural and mentioning the SKETCH collaborators
-By Jonsaba Jabbi, Communications Assistant
Photo credits: Jonsaba Jabbi