I’ve been into photography for more than 25 years and my interest came from running around and photographing pieces and productions to figure out how to write in the early 90s since I didn’t have siblings or mentors. So being Gen-X and living in Toronto meant I wasn’t quite as old as the first or second generation of writers. I got into graffiti and photography at the same time in late 1994 and I’m still into documenting graffiti today. I shoot as much as I can and have an extensive archive with over 35,000 images from the past 26 years, including bombing and street art, not just productions. I also enjoy street shooting which is one of the reasons I’ve stayed connected to this artform for so long. I take a break, I miss it.
The 90s for me have to be my favorite period, yeah there was no fancy paint, internet and social media but it was definitely more raw and elemental. In the city there wasn’t a lot of action centrally, most of it was in the West end like TCM crew, and there was the east enders, scarborough with Sady, the Graffiti knights and TDV doing big productions. I had never even been to Scarborough before I started going to art school there and was attracted because of all the productions on the RT line. The queen alleys were not completely covered till the last 90s and very few pieces were hidden on infrastructure around town, unlike today. There were so many jams too, 416, Flexpo..flexpo was important in bringing many different people here who wouldn’t have come otherwise. It was an interesting time not just because of all the styles evolving and because it was very pure and non-commercial, but also because the city was largely unchanged yet, as we know it today.
Photos by Kathy Toth. For more 90’s Toronto graffiti here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/artiquated/albums/72157714398176907