Tuesday, October 27, 2009

September 2009: Dan Bergeron in Toronto

When most people develop photos, they look at them for a day or two and then put them in a box. After that two day window, the likelihood of anyone seeing these photos again is pretty slim. Dan Bergeron takes a different approach. Instead of tossing his photos aside, he wheatpastes them up for everyone to see. This Canadian artist generously took a second to give us an update. He writes:
"I started pasting my photos up outdoors around Toronto in 2002. In the spring of 2003 I happened to make a trip to London to visit some friends and I got up a bunch while I was there. That trip and the excitement of discovering the street art scene in London made me feel like I was part of a larger group of people who were spreading ideas and images with the same anti-authoritarian feeling as graffiti, but with different tools, approaches and sentiment."
"Generally, I work alone. The thing I like about putting work up outdoors is that it allows me to express myself without interference from anybody else. It also forces me to get to know and accept myself by spending a great deal of time alone to create and install the work. And if there was ever anything to go wrong with the police while I was installing a piece, being by myself means that I wouldn't feel bad for someone else getting in trouble if they were with me. However I do have assistants that work with me on large scale commissioned pieces. In terms of collaborating, I have only worked with Gabriel Reese, aka Specter. We completed A City Renewal Project with the help of Red Bull 381 Projects. It was a pleasure and I look forward to teaming up with him on another project sometime soon."
"When I took film in university I was really into old gangster films, especially the chiaroscuro lighting techniques. When I got into photography a couple of years later I first enjoyed fooling around with colors, especially the contrast of the color. When I first started to make my black and white paste ups I took my ideas of contrast and appreciation of the chiaroscuro lighting techniques that I loved and tried to give that feeling to my prints. Lots of mistakes ensued until eventually I got the work to where I liked it."
"There's a spot in Toronto 's west end called the Dufferin bridge. I've hit the wall there a bunch because I like the area and it feels like home."
"I've been extremely lucky in terms of having to deal with any repercussions for putting up my work illegally. But, but, there's always a but. Once when I was out priming a wall on an abandoned building, a large, irate dog walker from the adjacent park hopped a fence to intimidate and threaten me. We yelled at each other for a good 15 minutes until he left after realizing that I wasn't a punk kid that he could scare. The next 6 months every time I would see him in that neighborhood I would call him a Vigilante and he would yell an obscenity at me. Until finally on a very cold February morning I saw him and decided to ask him if we could squash the beef. Surprisingly he replied by telling me that he had started to notice my work and that he liked it and had a new respect for outdoor art. That felt pretty great."

Thanks, Dan! For more info, check out his website or Flickr.


  1. I think it's absolutely great. Just a fabulous way to kind of liven and freshen Toronto. I never knew who did that, though. Good to be informed, thanks a lot for the info.