“A Day in the Life” with Toronto Muralist birdO

Toronto artist birdO has been painting our back alleys and laneways for decades, providing colour for, and a smile on the faces of, those passing them by. His use of block colours with geometric shapes to create fun, often animal based, murals has brightened our lives as the artist’s success has moved him out of the shadows and into the mainstream, painting large murals on main streets throughout the city of Toronto and Canada.

His latest partnership with Romeo’s Gin had the artist painting in partnership with Yorkville Murals, an annual three-day cultural event that celebrates contemporary muralism and public art. On the rooftop of the Cumberland parkade in Yorkville, birdO completed his largest piece yet, a 15,000+ sq. foot mural of a seahorse.

We caught up with the artist, who wears a large bird helmet to conceal his identity, to find out more about him and the project.

birdO by Joel Levy Photography
Portrait – birdO by Joel Levy
birdO by Joel Levy Photography
Supplies – birdO by Joel Levy
birdO by Joel Levy Photography
Roof Top Full – birdO by Joel Levy
birdO by Joel Levy Photography
3 green pillars – birdO by Joel Levy
birdO by Joel Levy Photography
birdO painting – birdO by Joel Levy
birdO by Joel Levy Photography
A look over the edge of the parking lot rooftop onto Cumberland – birdO by Joel Levy
birdO by Joel Levy Photography
Parking Lanes were left in tact – birdO by Joel Levy
birdO by Joel Levy Photography
birdO by Jonathan Gazze

What ‘hood are you in?

I’m a Queen West guy. I have been in parkdale a long time and am now near Bellwoods.

What do you do?

I like to call myself a multidisciplinary artist. I like to work in many forms but primarily I paint in the public realm as a muralist.

What are you currently working on?

Currently I am working on my biggest piece of all time on the top of a parking garage in Yorkville.

So the piece is a joint partnership with myself and a brand called Romeo’s Gin who come from Montreal. They are a really cool brand that works with artists specifically. So when they launch a new additions of the gin, they work with an artist and its typically been a Quebec based artist. They are venturing into the Toronto and Ontario market so we had discussions about being the inaugural Ontario based artist to launch edition 6. They asked how I would want to celebrate that and I said I wanted to do the biggest thing in Toronto. We then partnered with our great friends at Yorkville murals. They are doing great things in the neighbourhood and producing a lot of things and lot of great things to come in the future. So it’s kind of a trifecta of entities just looking to do something completely unique in the city.

Where can we find your work?

I always like to call it the easter egg hunt. Because I am a proud Torontonian, it starts there. It started in the back alleys and laneways and now you can find it on Bloor Street, Yonge Street, St. Clair.

All my social channels are under @JerryRugg.

 

 

Joel Levy
About Joel Levy 1939 Articles
Editor-In-Chief at Toronto Guardian. Photographer and Writer for Toronto Guardian and Joel Levy Photography