Toner is a Calgary based graffiti artist and large-scale muralist with over a decade of experience working in both the public and private realms. His visual language spans from clean and vibrant typographic and abstract designs to highly detailed photorealistic representations of plants and animals.
With an artistic background in urban art and a professional background in architecture, Toner’s skill set allows him to marry a unique creative approach with detailed planning and execution on any project. He has also done collaborations with another Calgary-based artist, Alex Kwong all of which can be found around the city.
During the concept stage for this mural, I considered the linear nature of the wall itself, it’s location and some additional feedback I received from the property owner.
Some of the symbolism / meaning behind this design: In the ancient Chinese art of Feng Shui the parrot is a powerful symbol of opportunity and the bearer of good news. It draws positive energy while keeping away the negative. Many types of parrots have feathers that represent the colors of the elements of life, fire, water and the sun. Traditionally parrots, and other birds, symbolized freedom and long life. A parallel is often drawn between a bird and the life experience and wisdom that comes with old age. Macaws specifically popular as companion parrots. Through these difficult and uncertain times it seems we could all use a companion. Flowers and foliage around the parrot mimic Fusion Sushi logo / colour scheme, without being too direct of a promotion for the business and while helping the overall flow of the design and addressing negative space balance. I also added a few graphic elements to this design that I often use in my other works They too help with balance / flow of the mural and create some interesting photo opps.
I believe my creative expression is at its best when I incorporate a series of unique and disparate styles; though I include elements of meaning that are important to me, the work is inclusive, and is open for the viewer’s interpretation. It is a mixture of various approaches not bound by traditional stylistic principles. It’s an attempt to reconcile my own unique take on a broad range of topics, while simultaneously connecting with new audiences. My art is iterative in nature, yet it is part of the same journey and a constant pursuit of bettering myself as an artist and as a person.
Learn more about Toner and his artwork in the Artist Panel as well as in the interview below.
Photos © 2020 Funeh Aliu, © 2020 Eric Gonzalez