Tuesday, June 23, 2015

KIRSTEN

At the top of a ladder, reaching far to the right with a can of spray paint, Kirsten McCrea delicately adds a little bit of colour to the street art she is creating. She has come to the Live Art Festival as a participant selected to beautify the concrete columns in Underpass Park under the Richmond Street ramp in Toronto's downtown east.

Originally from Edmonton, Kirsten was always drawing and creating. After a trip to Montreal at the age of 18, she fell in love with the art scene there and felt a real affinity to its creative vibe. Eventually she moved to Montreal, becoming very involved in collaborative art and working with street artists.

After five years in Montreal, Kirsten now calls Toronto home and has been deep into the art scene here for the last three years. "It's great being here today, I like this more than the high-brow gallery world," she says of the street art festival going on in Underpass Park here.

On here own she paints and draws as well as running a small art subscription publishing business that she founded five years ago called, Papirmass, (www.papirmass.com). "Every month I send people an art print that has art on one side and text on the other," she describes of the mailed art service which features a different artist every month. Since starting, she has mailed out over 50,000 art prints. As her website says, "Art in the mail. Mail made fun"!

KIRSTEN FUN FACT: "I was famous, briefly, for one night in China when I was 17 years old!" Kirtsten explains of her evening of fame. Her father was a jury member of Shanghai Film Festival and one night they were to attend the opening party. "My father told me, 'This is like the Oscars of China, bring a really fancy dress for the gala.' " Kirsten explains of the upcoming evening. "So I brought my prom dress which was this ridiculous pink Barbie dress. I don't know what I was thinking when I bought it! I show up at the gala wearing this thing!" The flashback is becoming palpable as Kirsten re-lives the evening. "Every other woman wore a pant suit or total business casual dress!

The result was that everyone else there thought I was famous," she says describing the autographs that people wanted. No matter how much she tried to explain to those who could not speak English, dozens and dozens of people in a line reaching around a corner waited for her autograph! She eventually did sign autographs as the only way out of the situation!

"I spent the entire night signing autographs! I didn't see any of the films I didn't eat any of the food! I kept saying, 'I'm not famous' but people were really, really insistent," she says of the time she was the most famous in her life!

PHOTOS: SPENCER WYNN


Kirsten's painting can be seen in Underpass Park



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