Monday, July 21, 2014

Old School Bestiary

The facade of the Grant School
At the end of our street and through a catwalk, there is an abandoned school. Recently, we discovered something interesting there.

A detail of the front of the building.
Built in 1922 as the Grant School, it is a beautiful old building, and we walk by it on our way to a nearby busy street, with bus routes and shopping. It was in the yard of this school that Kane did his whirling Dervish dance.

The building has been vacant for many years and will (soon) be turned into a community centre. In the meantime, it has become an attractive target for vandals. Hence, the boarded up windows.

The back of the building, with a couple of (ugly) modern additions.
It had been a while since I'd been through the school yard. To my surprise, there were some new arrivals.

What's that on the right?
At first, I called this graffiti, but it is a far cry from the scribbled signatures that mar our public spaces and parks. I think "street art" is a better description.

Reindeer in front of a supermoon.
There were other pieces.

This is on a secondary building at the site.
(Kane is in each picture because I was having him practice his stay. He did extremely well.)

(Also because he's really cute!)

Isn't he? (I call this picture "camouflage.")
No, really. Isn't he?
Yup. He's pretty darned photogenic.
Okay, so he has his derpy moments, too.
Back to our story.

Sheep (looking kind of Stephen King-ish)
Manta ray and divers
My favourite: elephant.
None of the pictures are visible from the front of the building, and each is signed 2419.

When I got back home, I googled and learned that twofouronenine is an Ottawa-based street artist. He or she has an Instagram account and a website, and calls this collection Bestiary, for obvious reasons.

I love these pieces. I'm not sure what will happen to them once construction starts -- or once snow flies and the maintenance crews come for snow removal (they have to keep access clear for fire trucks). I hope these works won't be painted over or just thrown out. That would make me sad, though I realize that transience is part of the nature of street art.

In any case, I'll have my eyes out for more of 2419's work.

(Have you added Ottawa to your vacation bucket list yet?)


  1. Looks like 2419 is inspired by Banksy-- and you're right, while it's technically graffiti, it's lovely. Reminds me of a number of years ago when Fish was doing art on buildings-- got to the point where businesses took walls/boards and wrote on them something like "reserved for Fish", hoping he'd decorate their building. (He later went to art school in Montreal; no idea what he did after graduation).
    And yes, Kane is adorable and very photogenic. it's not just you that thinks that way :)

    1. I noticed the similarity to Banksy as well, though the art seems to be less politically motivated.

  2. Wow! What a find! They're pretty impressive. And so is Kane! :)

  3. My favourite is the one of the manta ray. So dreamy...

    Amd yes, Kane is awfully cute!

    1. The manta ray looks good in the close-up shot, but not as compelling from a distance. They are all impressive.


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