The meaning behind artist Burnt Toast’s latest mural ‘Light & Free’ at Stackt

Scott Martin aka Burnt Toast Creative is a local artist whose style is characterized as playful with subtle messages that are worthy of discussion. His colour palette is dreamy and fun but if you take the time to really take it all in, you’ll be invited into a world that is also meaningful and positive.

His recent work at Stackt Market (Front & Bathurst) was commissioned by Light & Free Yogurt — a collaboration the company initiated to help support the local artist community during these difficult times of COVID19. Martin’s artwork also reflects the brand’s messaging of positive self-expression, diversity, inclusion and creativity. The mural was hand-painted onto two shipping containers and perched above the small businesses at this unique market destination. The images empower everyone to break free from convention, to be authentic in their own way and groove to whatever moves you.

Burnt Toast

We had a chance to check in with Martin recently to find out more…

Has COVID impacted how you view life and messages in your artwork?

Scott Martin (SM): As an artist, the COVID-19 pandemic has shown me how much inspiration I derive from the simple everyday happenings that we often take for granted. With restrictions placed on social events, including concerts, festivals and other activities that bring us closer to our communities, I’ve found myself wanting to bring a sense of hope, joy and togetherness to my art. While the pandemic has changed how we interact, it’s important that we remember that – despite being distanced – we are still a collective of unique, diverse, beautiful individuals working together for the greater good, whether that’s overcoming COVID-19 or otherwise.

As a Canadian street artist, I’m lucky to have a platform to spread joy through my works. My most recent partnership with Light & Free has given me the opportunity to develop a whimsical, colourful mural located in downtown Toronto that celebrates embracing our differences and recognizing how they only bring us closer together. The topic has never been more relevant as is it today and I hope the mural – designed to promote positive self-expression and individuality – encourages Canadians to realize that our differences enable us to spark the most meaningful connections with one another.

Stackt Market is a creative and inspiring space, did the environment also influence your work and message?

SM: Since it opened, I’ve always been very drawn to Stackt Market and love the concept of taking unused land in an urban setting and turning it into so much more – a hub for small businesses to celebrate local art, cuisine, clothing and other unique items. I’m all about celebrating local talent and craftsmanship, so there couldn’t have been a more perfect location for my Light & Free mural to be painted.

The message behind the Light & Free mural is about celebrating the beautiful diversity of our communities and the uniqueness within each and every person – both in Toronto and Canada as a whole. I think this sentiment fits exceptionally well with the Stackt Market concept. I feel honoured to be able to shine a spotlight on this message in a place that values the same things I do.

What else served as inspiration for this piece?

SM: Now more than ever it’s important that we celebrate everyone’s individual voice and ways of engaging in positive self-expression to give each person the chance to let their authentic selves shine through. With this mural, commissioned by Light & Free, I wanted to illustrate that exact spirit and produce a piece that shines a light on the topics of diversity and inclusion in an uplifting way. At its core, this mural is all about spreading love and highlighting the wonderful diversity within our society to make sure individuals from all walks of life are celebrated.

The piece depicts three individuals that have come together to celebrate each others’ uniqueness, sparking a connection through their differences. A heart emoji featured in the piece represents our modern way for showing love online – something I hope my piece will inspire. I’m grateful that Light & Free approached me to create this mural, not only because it’s allowed me to spread messages of joy during this bleak time, but also because the brand’s values are so in sync with my own. In addition, I was lucky enough to be able to create and illustrate limited-edition product packaging for the brand’s Watermelon, Cucumber & Lime flavour. These projects were such a pleasure to create for the brand.

Burnt Toast

In this mural how much creative freedom did you have and what was important for you to include?

SM: The mural is reminiscent of my signature style – fun, whimsical, pastel-coloured and simple in its traits. As a brand looking to support local Canadian artists, Light & Free gave me full creative freedom to come up with a piece that I felt represented the beautiful diversity reflected in our society. The brand’s values and my own values are so aligned that it was less about being instructed, and more about me developing something that complimented the brand and what it’s passionate about communicating – positive forms of self-expression, inclusion and empowering individuals to let their truest selves shine.

We understand they wanted to help support the artist community, how has that helped you?

SM: This campaign was pivotal in helping me support my craft during the pandemic, while still being able to develop artwork with a message I’m incredibly passionate about. One of the characters in the mural has a spoon in his back pocket – this was my way of providing a subtle nod to the company and Light & Free yogurt for supporting my art. I hope those living in Toronto are able to check out the mural and that it reminds them to celebrate their own uniqueness and of the beauty in the diversity around them.

Martin, who is originally from Hamilton, is an internationally known artist and freelance commercial illustrator. His work has been featured in countless publications and ad campaigns worldwide. You can check his work on his Instagram 





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