Ford’s clean-walls crusade erases a mural the city paid an artist $2,000 to paint

Ford’s clean-walls crusade erases a mural the city paid an artist $2,000 to paint

It seems the first friendly fire casualty has fallen in Rob Ford’s war on graffiti. The mayor’s Clean Toronto Together campaign—which, apparently, is quite a boon for the wall-cleaning business—may have overstepped its mandate when it used grey and white paint to completely blot out a mural local artist Joel Richardson had been crafting on a rail underpass in the Junction.

The Toronto Star has the story:

Joel Richardson says in 2008 then-Davenport councillor Adam Giambrone’s office asked him to paint a mural on the north wall of the underpass west of Lansdowne Ave., on the funky Junction Triangle neighbourhood’s eastern edge.

The colourful scene of faceless men in suits, dollar signs and hearts, funded mostly through donations from local businesses, proved popular enough, he says, that Giambrone’s staff asked him to paint another mural on the south wall, and helped him get a $2,000 commission from the city’s Clean and Beautiful secretariat.

The painter and filmmaker had spent 30 hours working on the piece since the end of the last September and had roughly another 10 to go. But he learned Monday that the city had painted over his art because it had not been authorized or commissioned and may have involved a reference to Prime Minister Stephen Harper (who, it seems, is such a generic-looking guy that any figure in a suit can be construed as a decent representation).

On the other hand, we wonder if this may be an example of a clandestine employment program for struggling local artists: we’ll wait to see if Richardson gets re-hired to repaint his mural over the concrete canvas of the last one.

Artist says city erased mural it paid him to paint [Toronto Star]

(Images: before: Joel Richardson; after: Joel Richardson)