Our Boast, Our Pride

Copyright 2016, Public Art of Toronto. All rights reserved.

Leslieville, 2016
Located: Intersection of Jones Avenue and Queen Street
Artist: Elicser Elliot
Lettering: Sight1
Program: StART
Website: http://www.elicser.com/
Copyright 2016, Public Art of Toronto. All rights reserved.

Elicser teamed up with fellow street artist Sight1 to create the new Leslieville mural.

Jabari “Elicser” Elliot was born in Montreal and raised in the West Indies. When he returned to Canada, he settled in Toronto where he trained in animation at Sheridan College. Since his graduation, he’s been recognized as one of the top local artists, involved in many notable projects, not all of them limited to street art and graffiti. Elicser is responsible for the famous ‘Hug Me’ tree located near Queen Street and Spadina Avenue, several traffic signal boxes as part of Toronto’s Out of the Box program and a variety of installations throughout the city. His work is prolific and his style easily recognizable, often portraying the city through figures and caricatures of people he sees on the street.

In 2012, Elicser won NOW Magazine’s Best Local Graffiti Artist award and he has exhibited in several local galleries including the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Royal Ontario Museum, and the LE Gallery. His latest show, Prosopagnosia, ran at the Project Gallery on Queen Street over the month of July 2016. He’s also written and published a limited edition book titled ‘Know Love’ in which he illustrates children’s descriptions of love. He also teaches street art workshops to youth, most recently as part of the 2016 TD Jazz festival.

Sight1 specializes in graffiti writing, those colourful, sometimes illegible words you often see painted on the sides of freight train cars, and in back alleys. He is as prolific as he is talented, so it comes as no surprise that Elicser would pair up with him to create the distinctive LESLIEVILLE lettering that anchors the mural.

Sight1’s art was encouraged at a young age by his mother, herself a commercial artist, and then heavily influenced by comic books and skateboard culture. It was the rejection by  art college due to a sparse portfolio that ultimately cemented his immersion in graffiti and street art. While Sight1 now earns a living as a commissioned artist creating sanctioned street art, he’s not above doing the occasional bombing. You can see his works throughout the city including Kensington Market, Queen Street alleyways, and the GO Transit corridor, not to mention numerous freight trains throughout North America.

The title for this article is taken from the lyrics of The Maple Leaf Forever by Alexander Muir:

Here may it wave, our boast, our pride
And, joined in love together,
The lily, thistle, shamrock, rose entwine
The Maple Leaf forever!

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