In 2019, Frankfurt's Lord Mayor Peter Feldmann was a guest in Toronto to celebrate 30 years of twinning between Frankfurt and the Canadian metropolis. Also present at the time was Frankfurt artist Justus Becker, who was allowed to create a public mural there. It was planned that this would be continued in the Main metropolis this year as part of the Book Fair with Canada as the guest country. Since then, many plans have had to be overturned - but Frankfurt did indeed get a mural. This is thanks to street artist Alexander Lazich aka Bacon from Toronto, who completed his artwork in the subway shaft at the Messe station on Tuesday, October 13.
"Last year, during my delegation trip to Toronto, I was able to inaugurate the wonderful mural by Justus Becker. I am very pleased that this year we were able to bring a piece of art from our sister city to Frankfurt. In these difficult times, it is especially important to maintain contact with our partners around the world. Together we can address the consequences of the pandemic and support the economy, such as the creative industries in this case," said Lord Mayor Peter Feldmann at the presentation of the neat host gift.
The design Bacon created for Frankfurt is based on the City of Toronto's motto "Diversity our Strength" and the European motto "United in Diversity". Bacon has depicted two heraldic animals representative of the two twin cities. The eagle stands for Frankfurt, the raccoon for Toronto. When creating the artwork, the Toronto artist had to orientate himself on the colour scheme and design of the subway station. For this reason, the painting was created and realized in black and white.
In order to find a suitable surface for the large-scale work, VGF was involved in the twin city project. Of the various possibilities, the Festhalle/Messe underground station proved to be the most suitable in terms of the necessary criteria of overall size, visibility and location. Especially in the last point, the station is very attractive, since it is not only frequented day after day by many Frankfurt residents, but also regularly by international trade fair guests or concert visitors.
After the selection, elaborate wall improvements and preparations had to be carried out before the space could be made available to the artist Lazich. In the process, the artist was only able to work on the mural between 11:30 p.m. and 3 a.m. for about ten nights - due to regular subway service. For this, even the line operation of the U4 and U5 subway lines had to be reorganized.
The resulting graffiti artwork is a strong, highly visible symbol of the city partnership that whets the appetite for Canada's postponed Book Fair appearance as guest country in 2021. It is an important contribution to urban culture in public spaces and will point out the active city partnership with Toronto to all viewers in the future.
Thomas Wissgott, Managing Director of the Frankfurt Transport Authority, added: "We are very pleased that we were able to provide the artist with this space for his great work. It enhances the station, arouses curiosity, informs and creates a connecting atmosphere between cities, nations and people."
"I like beautiful things that everyone can appreciate. I try to imagine something that everyone can look at and find a little bit of themselves in when they see it. Even if it's just something that's beautiful to the eye. That's my aspiration when I'm working at the station, because there will be so many people there getting on and off. I want to create something that people can look at while they're waiting, that has so much detail that every day viewers can discover something new that they might have missed the last time they were there," Lazich said of his work.
About artist Alexander Lazich (Bacon) <./strong>
Artist Alexander Lazich, artist name Bacon, has made a name for himself around the world with his distinctive graffiti style and vibrant murals. He learned on the streets in the 90s from the pioneers of Toronto's original graffiti scene and is now a master who teaches others.
Internationally, he is known for his colourful works that line the streets of Toronto. Bacon sees street art as an art form that is passed down from one generation to the next.
His work has evolved to deconstruct traditional graffiti spraying techniques to create an abstract style, intermixed with typographic elements typical of graffiti. His use of a mature color palette and blending of realism with stylized graffiti fonts gives his work a unique look.
In 2016, he came to the attention of a wider audience with "Machu Pichu" - his contribution to StreetARToronto's mural project "New Seven Wonders of the World". This was the beginning of his career as a full-time artist. In addition to commissions for the StART art program, corporate and private clients, he painted a wall for the Museum of Graffiti in Miami, received solo exhibitions and participated in international festivals. Most recently, Bacon has been working on large-scale murals and works on canvas in the graffiti style.