June 3, 2008



Photo by Jeff Kirk
EGR is a Toronto artist and illustrator with an impressive portfolio of illustration in numerous print and online publications (Globe and Mail, XXL, Pound); corporate work (Universal Music, Royal Bank, General Motors); murals as well as a number of private and group gallery exhibitions. She’s dope and I thought it was high time for a feature on ugsmag.

I saw you in a video with New York City’s TATS crew doing a mural for a guy who proposes to his wife, how did you link with those guys?

The way that came about was that it’s a pilot for a reality based TV show.

Are you now a part of the legendary TATS crew?

I’m not going to be out writing TATS crew, but if the pilot picks up, it might involve me relocating.

Did you get started doing graffiti and moved on to illustration?

I was going to school for illustration and it was something a group of us would do on the side; we would stick stickers up in the hallways; I’d be sticking stickers up on the streets of the Toronto. I had been working as an illustrator for the Globe and Mail and Toronto Star, so I’d be coming to Toronto all the time. From there, there was a live painting gig offered to me called “Take Back the Decks”; Muchmusic interviewed us and it just snow-balled from there. I never thought I’d be doing straight up aerosol work for companies.

Is illustration your bread and butter?

It is yeah. It’s split between illustration, fine art work, commissioned work to corporate illustration and mural work. The whole live art thing [for events] has come about…


What are your thoughts on art school? Is it wack?

I think it’s amazing, I think I love it. I think one of the worst things is seeing really wack tags, it drives me kind of nuts, so I think art school is wicked. It inspired me so much, if it wasn’t for art school, I don’t know what kind of art I’d be doing. It introduced me to so many different kinds of art, the teachers were amazing; it’s not until you’re surrounded by all this stimulus can you find out what you’re really interested in.

What about the idea of a graffiti art school?

For sure! With the kids right now, I’ve been visiting classes and teaching them how to spray paint. I made sure they wear masks and gloves.


Graffiti is pretty male dominated, how did you get involved?

One of my best friends in high school was really into graffiti and so is his girlfriend and they still piece to this day. That probably helped, having an artistically inclined girl that could take it on. All my friends in college we were really supportive of each other’s work.

Do you think the internet is ruining the essence of graffiti some how?

In a way. Prior to the internet there was an east coast style or a west coast style; or that’s definitely European; there still is that, but with the internet you can bite European styles without even going there.

Is there a difference between doing a legal wall and bombing in the Canadian winter? Is there an essence behind it?

There are many different mindsets and I’ve had my taste [of them]. One of them is the hardcore, sport or the game; the essence of graffiti is to get your name up, no matter the weather. Painting a legal wall doesn’t have “that feeling.” That’s the one thing that makes me want to step away from the whole idea of mentoring that, because I don’t want to promote that [to kids]. I would want to focus on aerosol as a medium, that’s what I’m focusing on. The whole underground aspect, that’s definitely what makes “graffiti” graffiti.


Do you think graffiti in Canada dying?

What do graffiti artists do when they grow up? I’m sure many are active in animation or graphic design; if they’re doing stuff on the side, they might not want to post it in a mainstream way. It’s such a small subculture here in Canada; we’re just waiting on the kids to have their peak. I’ve noticed a lack of funding and dedication in terms of certain expos that we’ve had in Toronto. Thank god for “Style In Progress” – hopefully it’ll happen this year. (And it will! July 12 & 13, go to www.styleinprogress.ca for info).

What kind of paint do you like using most? Montana?

Well, Montana Gold held up really well in –15 [at Blue Mountain]. My favorite was True Colors because it’s super low pressure, but it’s hard to get nowadays. I’ll use hardware store paint if I have to.

I prefer oil on canvas, but I often feel like it’s not done until it’s sprayed with aerosol or giving it a marker force-field.


Do you ever have trouble being a female in a male dominated medium?

There is a graphic novel coming out right now documenting 20 different graffiti artists and their stories; DAST is illustrating it. It talks about a story where I go with a group of guys to a painting event and one of the other guys gets upset because he’s got an issue with me and other guys. He ends up giving me his camera to take pictures as opposed to paint.

I find it really hard to keep super tight or keep being part of crews too – that probably doesn’t have anything to do with being a girl, but I stick out more. I’m not going out and tagging highways or doing all the hardcore bombing. I don’t feel like it’s a disadvantage anymore.

Should graffiti be legal?

Just thinking of the eradication program, where anybody who owned a business or building with graffiti on the building had to remove it. I don’t know. I’m torn. Sometimes I see tags and I wonder why somebody would do that on someone’s front door; it can be an eyesore. That’s where I would want to become involved and getting them to develop their skills. It’s such an egotistical thing for just a juvenile name.

For more on EGR check out www.egrart.com.




12 Responses

  1. It is thrilling to read of other female graf artists,
    I was drawn to EGR in my Graffiti Women book by Nicholas Ganz
    Her style is supreme, and the fact that she incorporates it into her
    daily life. I wish their was more room for art in all our lives.
    1 luv

  2. EGR is dope, I always have been a fan of her work..
    I peeped that trailer for the pilot episode..it seemed like it would do about as much good for the graffiti culture as the White Rapper Show did for rap music, but its a genuine idea, and my opinion is from a writer’s perspective.

    Good Read though, big ups EGR.

  3. cool. I recognize a couple of these pieces from old Pound magazines. still have them too! great work man.