There is one self-proclaimed candidate that has caught our eye for the next mayoral election. He had been dependably consistent in his campaign. Like no other he has managed to leave his mark on every corner of the city. When asked what platform he would be running on he declared Free Art Toronto Everyday, and murals on every wall. If this sounds like your kind of mayor, support his cause through Spudbomb art patronage. You can even install a Spud1 lawn sign.
Spud1 can easily been seen as one of Toronto’s most political painters. As we’ve learned he is much more. He is both a constant and variable to the environment he creates around himself and around us.
“I’m a product of my environment. I am what I was supposed to become.” Spud1 didn’t start painting to become famous. “I did it to mark my territory.” He began his street art career by painting an emblem or symbol. It was to mark what he was doing or where he was going. Even before the territorial tags, Spud1 began developing his skill in his youth by painting detailed figures. Now, years later you can purchase your own Spud1 toy. This September, while at 5 Pointz in New York, he launched his own toy line. Spud1 makes the toys himself from start to finish, including the making of the mould, pouring, stenciling, painting, and custom box design.
“Now all I do is art everyday.”
Where does Spud 4 Mayor fit in? Do you recall when Giambrone, Toronto city councilor and former TTC chair admitted to having an affair? This incident motivated Spud1 to create his Spud 4 Mayor campaign. If someone like him can run for mayor then why couldn’t he, Spud1 asked himself? Then Rob Ford came onto the scene, becoming one of Toronto’s biggest street art antagonists. It was this battle of the wills that brought Spud1’s work into the spotlight. Spud1 retaliated with huge wall pieces called Soft Serve Ford, Hunk of Meat, and Rob Ford Jumbo Fuck. There was a bit of the attitude, “if you want to remove graffiti, remove yourself”, says Miss Lady Oops of Spud’1’s visual political and social critique.
Is it vandalism? “I don’t know. Some people call me an artist. Some people call it street art.”
“Graffiti … we see advertising and billboards. You don’t see it until your doing it [painting walls] that you are doing the same thing these million dollar corporations are doing, but without a budget. Once you’ve got no money or budget, you throw the rules out the window.”
Are the walls you paint on considered stolen spaces? “No. I consider them my spaces.”
Since his first tags and stencils as a punk rock loving skater to his massive rollers, screw-ups, and detailed murals Spud1 continues to evolve and reinvent himself. H.R. Geiger is a heavy influencer. Take a closer look at a Spud1 monster. You will begin to see references to Geiger’s grotesque and mechanical industrialism in the teeth, oozing viscosity, the play of shadows and light, the movement of lines, and all things metal.
Is there a lighter side to Spud1? “It’s a collective”, says Miss Lady Oops when asked about Team Spudbomb. You could say that this team, founded in 2010, is the approachable and accessible side of Spud1. Together the collective’s artists create large-scale murals with interjections of their own creative style, but still maintaining Spud1’s brand. The team gives back too. Every year Team Spudbomb participates in a number of not-for-profit fundraisers throughout Toronto.
When asked what he would like to do in the future, Spud1 says he would like to paint the world, do more sculptures, toys, do everything bigger and better, and have his work hanging in a certain Ontario art gallery. “My story is not finished yet. As long as I come home to a studio full of paint, I still have work to do.”
“You know what Toronto needs to do? Toronto needs to embrace its own artists.”