The next three works that I’m going to talk about are all a result of a collaboration between StARTToronto, the Chinatown BIA, and Blinc Studios.
Blinc Studios has been around since 2002 when Allan Bender and John Nobrega decided to collaborate professionally as designers, mural painters, and visual artists. Their practice has grown over the last fifteen years to include a collective of designers and visual artists who work on not only the design and development of large format murals but the creation of interior environments and exterior frontages. They have even painted animal enclosures for the Metro Toronto Zoo.
The first of their three murals are located just steps from the Chinatown Mural in the alleyway between 421 and 433 Dundas Street West. On the eastern façade, you will see an image of the Great Wall of China. This is an epic piece. It stretches the full length of the building, coming in at 147 feet long and 12 feet high.
Viewed from the south, the mural begins with a beautiful pastoral scene where you see the Wall, meandering with the landscape. It feels timeless, but as you move north towards the street, the contrast between countryside and edifice comes into sharper relief until you are confronted by a contemporary looking group of tourists that jolts you into the modern era. Is it a statement as to China’s ongoing struggle with modernity? Probably not, but it is fun to consider when viewed so near to Hatanaka and Li-Hill’s Chinatown mural that also juxtaposes young and old, traditional and modern.
Complete Artist List: Allan Bender, John Nobrega, Rick Sauve, Brian Broders, Jesse McQuaig and Ming Lau.