Artist Michael Comeau works on the wall, the print sheet and the page and has created posters for the streets of Toronto since 1999–including many of the Gladstone’s beloved past parties.
Michael is our second artists to transform the windows of the Art Hut with generations of his gig and party poster ephemera. Viewable from the street and lit from behind, Curbside Mosaics will create a cultural mosaic that will read differently depending on where you stand. Step back. Stand on the sidewalk. Cross the street. Look up close. What do you see?
We sat down with the artist to learn more about “Curbside Mosaics” and the power of posters to bring communities together. See the installation on display from Oct 28-Nov 14.
You’ve been a longtime friend of the Gladstone’s and have illustrated and printed posters for many of our parties including Hump Day Bump. How do you think posters help to bring communities together?
The effect of posters is ever changing. It helps to serialize a party as if each chapter is to be written each night. Culture exists simultaneously for each of the senses and posters will give a graphic representation to what is an ethereal event. First it promotes and then it archives a movement through culture. Someone once pointed out one of my Hump Day Bump posters and could locate the one where she met her partner. A marker in time for the space (the Gladstone) inhabited by the people (partiers).
Will you be highlighting any Parkdale/Gladstone/Toronto specific posters? If so, what do you think they say about our city? (One of the goals of the Art Hut will be to imagine how we can build community in a post-gentrified Parkdale).
I created a large series of posters for Hump Day Bump, a Gladstone Hotel weekly Wednesday queer dance party as well as for Vazaleen a party thrown by Will Munro who was involved with the Beaver next door that are woven through out the installation. They and others were printed at the collective Puchclock on Dovercourt when I also lived in Parkdale before having to leave both because of gentrifying forces. It speaks more to an earlier time when party posters were feasible and necessary. They used to hang on the streets and change colours like seasons of leaves. I used to be able to print into the night and trade a fresh poster for a drink at most of the bars in the area.
What inspires your unique style and concepts and what are some of your favourite screen printing techniques?
There is no end to inspiration. Playing music, the wallpaper in the movie Only God Forgives, reading comics in languages I can’t read, old paper back book covers, dank memes, hood lit dances, my beloved Frederico Fellini… I could go on. As for screen printing, I am pretty into large colour bleeds.
The Art Hut is on a mission to facilitate new ideas, creative expression, collaboration, and new ways of experiencing art, culture and community. How will your project contribute to this ongoing conversation?
When I paste up a large print collage I imagine street scapes where the public could paste up layers of their posters, their culture. Barcelona and Sao Paulo are know as graffiti cities because of their liberal policies toward public art and because of this novel expressions native to those areas emerge. Toronto could allow its citizenry a more direct unlegislated access to it’s spaces.
Aside from your upcoming project for the Art Hut, what else are you working on right now?
I am in the midst of a sci-fi romance comic book for Koyama press called Winters Cosmos. I play in the band New Horizzzons. I’ve been piecing together 20 years of sketchbooks and smaller strips into a one man anthology series call Slomeau for Colour Code to publish. I created a sketchbook workshop I sometimes teach.
Follow Michael on Instagram here.