"The Banksy Effect" hits Toronto's Art Scene - featuring WE KILL YOU!

We Kill You, the Toronto-based Lowbrow artist who has made a splash in the international art and designer toy market, is the subject of a new exhibition at Toronto’s Gordon Daniel Art Gallery, located at 460 Parliament Street in Old Cabbagetown. The show – called “I Lose Track of My Mind Sometimes” – is sponsored is part by Steam Whistle Breweries and is set to open on April 23rd for what can only be described as a fantastic display of Toronto-brand Lowbrow art.

Lowbrow and street art is acclaimed in international markets such as New York, L.A., Tokyo, London and Paris with Toronto rising on the up-and-coming list. Influenced by pop culture, and characterized by a strong sense of humour, the macabre and a rejection of the conventional, the Lowbrow art movement has made a quick rise in popularity over the last decade. Despite producing some very recognizable Lowbrow artists such as Gary Taxali and Ray Caesar, the larger Canadian market has yet to fully embrace the movement. Like many of Canada’s musicians, actors, and directors, our local Lowbrow artists are more warmly received outside of the country than here at home.

But all of that is changing...

Due largely in part to “The Banksy Effect”, the Lowbrow genre is more highly valued. Banksy, a British street stencil artist, pushed the genre into the world of acceptable art after selling his pieces for over half a million dollars at a London auction house. Since then art collectors have been paying large amounts to have pieces from the growing body of street artists such as KAWS and Shepard Fairey (of Time Magazine Obama print fame).

Enter: Toronto. Toronto is home to some of the most talented Lowbrow and street artists of our time. The unfortunate fact that Toronto collectors have been slower to embrace the movement can be seen as a major benefit to those who are currently prepared to buy and support Lowbrow art. A simple matter of supply-and-demand economics, the Lowbrow art sold in Toronto can be had for more reasonable prices than seen in larger markets, simply because it will not sell otherwise. This means that buyers who are “in the know” can leverage this to accrue a fairly impressive collection before the market catches up to the rest of the world.

Upcoming is the We Kill You exhibit running from April 23rd to May 7th at the Gordon Daniel Art Gallery, located at 460 Parliament Street. WKY has made a huge splash in the international toy and art market, with solo shows in Arizona & California and further abroad, and is happy to return to grow and support the Toronto scene. The “I Lose Track of My Mind Sometimes” show will mark WKY’s first solo show in Toronto. “I love doing shows out-of-country,” says Justin Pape, the artist behind We Kill You “but it would be nice to support and help cultivate a greater Lowbrow community here at home. I won’t devalue my work, but I will be selling different types of pieces, to make sure that collectors of all budget levels can afford to walk away with something that makes them happy.”

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