birdO, StreetARToronto and Slate Asset Management unveil new 10-storey mural
Toronto street artist birdO is adding colour and life to the urban landscape at Yonge and St. Clair with his newest 10-storey mural at 1 St. Clair E. A towering image of a deer is mixed with birdO’s signature surrealist style, playfully referencing the surrounding Deer Park neighbourhood.
The mural is part of a new series of commissions through the StreetARToronto Monumental Program and is the latest step in a larger revitalization effort at Yonge and St. Clair being spearheaded by Slate Asset Management.
“I moved to Toronto when I was 18 years old and the first place I landed was at Yonge and St. Clair. It’s a special moment in my career to return to the area and paint the largest mural I’ve ever done,” says birdO, which is the alter-ego of visual artist, Jerry Rugg. “Working with StART and Slate has been a great experience, and I’m thrilled with the opportunity to leave my mark on a neighbourhood that means so much to me.”
The 5,200 sq. ft. mural starts on the second floor of 1 St. Clair E. The pixelated design of the mural continues birdO’s tradition of highlighting animals and mixing in playful pops of colour, while playing with perspective to trick the viewer’s eye.
This is the first project funded by StreetARToronto’s Monumental program, which provides opportunities for street artists to partner with property owners to create significant mural artworks throughout the city. As part of the program’s intensive mentorship experience requirement, birdO engaged in a fulsome knowledge exchange with another artist ready to work at a larger scale throughout the process.
“birdO’s contribution fits seamlessly into the community and we couldn’t be happier with how it turned out,” says Katie Fong, Vice President, Asset Management, Slate Asset Management. “This latest piece fits in with all the other enhancements made to the area over the last few years. Our goal is to make lasting, impactful public-realm improvements that will continue to revive this neighbourhood. This mural is yet another step we’ve taken to inject a dynamic new energy into Yonge and St. Clair.”
birdO has lived in Toronto since moving here 20 years ago and considers himself a proud Torontonian. Although his work has been commissioned around the world, birdO says he loves working in Toronto because it allows him to live with his pieces longer.
“As an artist, I’m not here to inundate you with visual clutter – my intention is to brighten street corners and make you scratch your head,” says birdO.