By: Dawn Laing, Artist Manager - @loraxgirl on all things social
As part of our a-MAZE-ment series you will get to see numerous works of art spanning the genres of theatre, dance, film and visual arts. Some pieces you will be fully immersed, others you will be able to step back and enjoy. Through our blog series we hope to introduce you to a smattering of the artists we will be featuring as part of a-MAZE-ment. Everyone has a story and we want you to hear it.
Today, we would like to introduce you to internationally known artists Birdo X Getso who have collaborated to bring their exhibit ANAMORPHICISM to Honest Ed’s a-MAZE-ment , created only to be destroyed. This never seen before piece was created onsite over an eight-day period. Get to know a little bit about the artists below.
Eeeeee… I love when I have the opportunity to work with friends. Thanks so much to both of you for joining us for this spectacle!
1) Firstly, can you gents each introduce yourselves and tell folks how you got your graf names- birdO? Getso?
Getso: My name is GETSO and I’m a multidisciplinary artist based right here in Toronto. After a number of different graffiti names and various run-ins with the law, I ended up changing my pseudonym to GETSO. Not only to evade what the police may have known me as at the time, but also because the word itself is symmetrical and has great flow to it, which makes it super fun to paint.
birdO: I’m Jerry Rugg and my nomme de plume is birdO. I kind of wish I had a cool story behind my nickname or “pseudonym” as GETSO says but really it just stems from what I was called when I was a kid, Jbird.
2. What does Honest Ed’s mean to you?
GETSO: It means a whole hell of a lot to me. Honest Ed’s was actually the first place I got spray cans to go paint graffiti. I remember getting “Champion” brand spray paint from their hardware section in about 2000 or 2001 and went back to my neighbourhood in the west end to go paint my first wall.
birdO: I moved out of my parents basement and halfway across the country to Toronto when I was a teenager. Between Honest Ed’s and like a dozen found milk crates I was able to furnish and outfit my entire apartment for like $35. I could never have dreamed my savings would have stretched that far.
3. Why do/How do you think your project pays homage to Honest Ed’s / Toronto?
GETSO: Our project pays homage to Honest Ed’s I feel in relevance to the landmark’s lifeline. Like all great things in life, the company and the building itself are ephemeral. And just like our installation, it was created for the community, soon to be demolished and replaced.
birdO: Things are changing so fast in Toronto. I think we have to take the time to cherish and enjoy all that we love about the city. In both the figurative and literal sense our piece is about perspective.
4. What does it mean to be a part of this project?
GETSO: It means everything to me. As a born and bred Torontonian, Honest Ed’s has been a staple of the city for decades. Outside of maybe the CN Tower and SkyDome/Rogers Centre, there isn’t another bigger more recognized landmark in the city than Honest Ed’s. So to be invited to share my work with the icons send off - I feel truly honoured as a Torontonian and validated as an Artist.
birdO: I think GETSO said it well. It’s truly an honour.
5. You both beautify Toronto in a unique way, how does it feel to bring your work inside?
GETSO: I feel it brings something different. What I do is generally a more subversive method of creating work and the piece itself is even further removed from that. As far as I can tell, no one has tried to do what we’re doing in this city whether at a gallery or a museum, so I think we’ll give the viewers and the community something they haven’t seen before.
birdO: It feels great! We’ve definitely challenged ourselves with this project and there is always something exciting about pushing the limits of your comfort zone. I can’t wait for everyone to check it out.
6. If someone wanted to see more of your work, where should they go? (eg - website and/or upcoming shows).. You know.. Because this entire exhibit will go down with the ship!
GETSO: You can see more of my work through my Instagram account - @getsofacto and from there you can send me a message to get in contact with me directly.
birdO: I think most people see my stuff in person on walks around the downtown core. Or, I suppose you could see my stuff on Instagram while on walks around the downtown core. @jerryrugg
For a limited time you can visit birdO X Getso’s unique exhibit on the second floor of the western building as part of Toronto for Everyone, Feb 23 - 26. Get your tickets here.