Bacon is one of Toronto’s finest and longer standing graffiti artists. Over the decades he has developed an incredibly unique and awe-inspiring style. The man is true to the art of graffiti, honing a clean handstyle and phenomenal technique, but yet also an eye and appetite for fine art. We had the pleasure of watching him wing a smoky maple leaf in about an hour with a couple spray cans – The design that is now available for a limited time on his collaboration T-Shirts.
Like many graffiti artists, Bacon doodled his way through his childhood and quickly was drawn to the world of skateboarding. He loved the style and characters that the skate brands offered.
“Before graff I used to draw all the skate logo’s and I would write my name in Christian Hosoi letters. I was totally inspired by skate culture my backpack was covered in skulls and any other kind of imaginary coming from that. I always loved the tags people would do with white sharpies on their grip tape, I loved the lettering and that’s really how I got into it.”
His career started in the early 90’s, where him and a bunch of friends would gather all the paint they had in their garages, brought it to local skateparks and ‘fucked around’, he remembers crafting his first piece he jokingly named the ‘Concrete Jungle’ – “It was huge and hilarious.”
Waves Apparel: How did you get into graffiti in Toronto?
Bacon: “It was really natural and just kind of happened the way it happened. I just met writers on the streets when they were painting and then met some of the older guys, I believe that graffiti truly is a pass down culture. I was taught by some of the best writers in Toronto, back in the day I painted with Whisper and ArtChild – those were like the first guys I met. Then from there I met Kane, Ren and Recka were all a part of teaching me stuff. I learned quickly – already being artistic to begin with – but I just kept going and going and not looking back.”
Waves Apparel: Is there anything that stands out to you as a defining time in your career?
Bacon: “I think travelling really opened my eyes to the art form. I lived in Australia in 90s and I met some really dope writers when I was down there. They had a big scene in Sydney, I met some guys who really knew how to paint. Then when I came back to Toronto me and the guys started taking trips to places like New York to paint and things like that. Travelling really changes everything, you just meet people and catch a different vibe with it. After that we went really hard and just wanted to make a name for ourselves, so we did, we went crazy. We were painting nearly every day.”
It wasn’t always ‘Bacon’ that he wrote, starting out he’d taken the original option of writing his first name – “it was super not creative, but when I was in Australia everyone used to rip on me for being Canadian and would call me Bacon, so one day I wrote it on a wall and it just kind of stuck and I never went back from there, that was in ‘99”
If you know his style, you know that it’s incredibly unique, often blending layers of colour achieving a super soft smoky texture – an almost water colour effect. However he’s still true to lettering and graffiti fundamentals.
“Most of my lettering is just a big tag, from there it’ll kind of create its own movement from the tag itself. Then I just add some funk and just little style bits like arrows and connections. But if you completely erased all of that extra stuff, it’s just a big gesture of a tag, and that’s really the root of my style.
While he still loves to paint a traditional graffiti tag in terms of the formula – sketch, fill, 3D, outline, background, drips, aura, shine – as it shows off pure style, he finds that these days the best direction to go is to just try not to get bored. This in turn helped to develop the immense skill set he owns today
“What if I do something completely different? Completely bonkers? Go a different direction with it? So, I did but you’ll still see me switch from style to style. I just try not to get bored with graffiti. I got to a point where I didn’t care and I was kind of bored I’m just going to do something completely insane and I know it’s not always traditional and some people don’t like it because it’s not ‘hip hop graffiti’, but it’s just an experiment really, I’m just kind of going nuts and having fun. But still having letter form in there, that’s really the roots of my style.”
Waves Apparel: Do you have any thoughts of what you want to do or where you want to go with your art in the future?
Bacon: “I think about that all the time, I like painting big stuff. I’ve been digging doing the murals, mixing it with graffiti lettering. I’ve also been doing a lot off canvas work, stuff that’s more permanent. As I’m getting older I’m getting into doing super large canvases, stuff that you’d need an 18-wheeler to carry it out kind of thing. I just want to incorporate everything I’ve learnt through graffiti and just doing art with it and seeing what happens. At the end of the day it’s good to have goals, but I think it’s important to just flow down the river and see what naturally unfolds in front of you and to go with it, I just love going out and painting”
- December 05, 2018
- Russell Pulkys