If you walk down West Queen St. West, you may come across the unique physical distancing decal designs of six local artists commissioned by Artscape Atelier, on behalf of their partners at the West Queen West Business Improvement Association. Affixed to the concrete sidewalks outside shops, these social distancing decals are a fun way to encourage a two-metre distance among pedestrians and shoppers.
Here are the five artists commissioned along with their designs:
6 Feet by Andrea Manica
“I wanted to keep the image simple and fun with illustrations of shoes around the perimeter.” – Andrea Manica
Andrea Manica is a freelance illustrator, mural painter, and artist living in Toronto Canada. She graduated from OCAD University with a Bachelor of Design in Illustration in 2013. She regularly collaborates with other female and queer painters and together with artists Nicole D’Amario and Melissa Luk, formed a mural collective in 2014 called the Buck Teeth Girls Club. They have completed pieces together throughout Toronto and traveled to Argentina for a mural painting residency in 2015. Andrea has painted murals internationally in Los Angeles USA, Tokyo Japan, Melbourne Australia, and Yogyakarta Indonesia. In Toronto, she has worked with organizations StART, and Bell Box Murals. Andrea’s collaborator Caitlin Taguibao has helped her complete elaborate murals for Daniels Corporation in Scarborough (2017) and YES Shelter in Peterborough (2018). Follow Andrea on Instagram or view her work at andreamanica.com.
Keep Yo’ Distance! by Jay Soule aka CHIPPEWAR
Jay Soule aka CHIPPEWAR is a Native multimedia artist from the Chippewas of the Thames First Nation (Deshkaan Ziibing Anishinaabeg) located twenty minutes south west of London, Ontario on the north bank of the Thames River. Jay creates art under the name Chippewar which represents the hostile relationship that Canada’s native people’s have with the government of the land they have resided in since their creation. Chippewar is also a reminder of the importance of the traditional warrior role that exists in Indigenous cultures across North America that survives into the present day. In addition to painting, Jay is a clothing designer, spending spring through fall on the powwow trail showcasing his art and apparel. Follow Chippewar on Instagram or see his work at chippewar.com.
Reef by Stephanie Bellefleur
“With unprecedented change comes the opportunity of change; through entropy, evolution and equilibrium. May we find a new balance and new normal.” – Stephanie Bellefleur
Stephanie Bellefleur is a Contemporary Visual Artist who was born in Venezuela, South America. Her work incorporates strong graphic lines with bold colors, creating a style that embodies both elegance and grit. Her mandate is to serve the Public Art sector by championing sustainability, diversity and equity through the arts. She has created for Street Art Toronto, Facebook, Skechers, K-Swiss, and Baycrest Foundation. Stephanie ’s high impact projects include contributing to the 8-story Phlegm mural at Yonge and St.Clair. Most recently, Stephanie contributed to the unique 23-story “Equilibrium Mural” alongside International Muralist, Okuda San Miguel. Stephanie is humbled to serve the public in order to continue to push the limits and broaden the many horizons of color. Follow Stephanie on Instagram and see her work at thehausofbellefleur.com.
Bird Watching by Victor Wang
“Robins! Everybody likes robins, right?” – Victor Wang
Leaving his home in Nova Scotia, Victor Wang ventured out to pursue a career as an Illustrator despite his family’s nervous stares and chuckles. He strives to create quality work that satisfies his love of nature, bright colours, and geometric shapes. On his free time, he enjoys exploring the world with a camera in hand, bumming around bonfires at the beach, and diving head first into new projects. Currently he’s attempting to “play” the guitar or something. Follow Victor on Instagram or see his work at thethirdbird.ca.
The Rose by Natalie Very B.
“To me, The Rose is a symbol of the ever-present cycle of nature and renewal, allowing us to heal and learn from the past whilst looking forward into a bright and hopeful future.” – Natalie Very B.
Natalie Very B. is an illustrator, muralist, and educator of Polish-Canadian decent. They grew up in a country with a strong patriarchal regime and an obvious system of inequality. Their childhood experience provided the foundation for my artistic philosophy. Their work is devoted to depicting women of all shapes and sizes as beautiful, empowered, and strong. The spirit of feminism is an essential element of all of my paintings. Their figures aren’t filled with societal shame: quite the opposite, they’re proud of their shapes and all the wonders that their bodies can bring to life. They fight against injustice and for the right to speak their truth. Their large scale indoor and outdoor murals depict modern female empowerment and can be found all across the City of Toronto. Follow Natalie Very B. on Instagram and see their work at www.natalieveryb.com.
Stay tuned about Artscape Atelier’s next collaboration with West Queen West Business Improvement Association – Distance Dances, coming this July.