Story Behind The ART: Gentrify

This painting was primarily done just North of Rogers place.  The intention was to go there and capture the effect of this newer building ( Rogers Place) and capture its surrounding effect on the city.  Perhaps that is why the composition is pushed so far from Rogers.

Gentrify  water soluble oils on canvas


set up

 I Put down a base coat to build layers and brighten colours subtly from beneath.   Carrying the stuff around was fairly clunky so I will have to devise a neater way in the future. Weather was nice at first but of course that weather report  usually lies. Gusts of cold all day. high of 14 my ass. >_<


Colours+ drawing

I then drew out some forms and filled in some more under layers. By this time I had chatted with a couple people. By a train station the whole world can seem to go by you.  Saw a few weird things I don't know how to quantify but it was mainly sirens, people, students, workers going by.  Everyone I talked to was very nice.  A handful explained how they lived nearby or in one of the low income housing/apartments I was painting in the background.  The compliments and random little praises were like a little cheering section while you paint.

 I got more areas of colour assigned to their blocks and even got a little texture/shade going.  I decided to get a more complete version of sky down so I had less to worry about later.  At this stage you get the usual loathing for your work and feel like it will never be done.  For the most part I had just been at it 4-5 hours and was pretty tired.  Few paintings like this are made to finish in a day so I make sure I have adequate reference photos and take it home to finish.

Final layer


When finishing up at studio I decided to use a type of paint called water soluble oils.  These dissolve in water and have very few chemicals and smells yet are as vivid as oils. Working with them is a bit different and I found I had to approach details with bolder chunks of paint.


All in all painting this was a neat experience as it was a rush and out in the elements most of the time.  Especially for a painting like this I feel like this work is more documentation than a strong visual.  There were so many complex parts smushed into this scene because of the diverse amount of things built in that area. About a week later I learned that the brown building in the middle, (left of Epcor tower)  was a low income apartment and will be taken down.  I still remember the face of the guy that said he lived there.

Perhaps that just strengthens the feeling I get for this space.  The area is a blur of sirens, traffic, LRT passengers and everyones going some where. Very few care to stay around this elaborate park in the middle.  It was mostly barren all day except for the handful of homeless or disadvantaged that traveled up and down it.  Two were around long enough I painted their human shaped blue blobs in to the work.  Can you find them?

The benches and seats are designed to dissuade skateboarders and sleepers for staying long and so even those that actually use the space never stay one place long.   Silvery gleaming constructions built for people who come for work, schooling or entertainment but don't actually live there clash with the crumbling buildings of those who inhabit the area.  Despite it's sleek portrayal near everything in the area is made prickly and uncomfortable,  unless they were seemingly homeless, not once did I see someone sit down or just enjoy the space in some way.  I guess most of the city turns us into constant travellers that way but it interests me the wide range of politics perceivable in this single angle.