Rocking and On the Go

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

Cask Music Mural, 2015
Located: Corner of Pape Avenue and Queen Street
Artist: Jimmy Chiale
Copyright 2016, Public Art of Toronto. All rights reserved.

The Cask Music mural is divided into two parts. Section one is a portrait of jazz great Wes Montgomery, a first for Chiale who had never spray painted a figure before according to his Tumblr account. The rest of the expanse is filled with Chiale’s eye-catching abstract patterns. The imagery evokes a lot of things, from birds to houses to Big Brother watching you from your computer screen. The art feels like it’s always in motion, almost as though it’s keeping time with Montgomery’s jazz riffs. It certainly helped cement Cask’s image as a destination for music enthusiasts in the eastern part of the city.

Steve Witt claims that the mural hasn’t just improved the look of his business, it’s raised his profile and increased his bottom line. That’s the thing that people who question supporting public art installations sometimes forget: its effect on the economy. According to the Toronto Arts Council, 84% of Torontonians have encountered art in public spaces in the past year*. We are used to seeing visual art on buildings and in parks, as a matter of fact, we search it out. By investing in these sorts of installations, businesses are increasing the foot traffic in and around their business and that’s having a spill-over to other stores and services. It’s pulling a wider audience into these neighbourhoods and these visitors are then supporting and expanding the economy.

But as nice as it is for there to be an economic spinoff to these types of installation, art needs to exist first and foremost for art’s sake, whether it be murals on the wall or a song in the heart.

* Toronto Arts Foundation, Toronto Arts Stats: Public Opinion 2016 (2016)

The inspiration for the title comes from a collaboration between Mick Jones of the Clash of The Clash and Futura 2000 called The Escapades of Futura 2000. Mick laid down the licks and Futura provided the rhymes.

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