The King of Kensington has been given a new wardrobe for the summer, and not all of his subjects are happy about it.
A life-sized bronze sculpture of Toronto-born actor and director Al Waxman has been vandalized, getting elaborately painted with a blue shirt, neon green jacket, and white face and hands. An unknown symbol was also painted in the centre of his forehead. The statue — which now bears a distinct resemblance to Batman’s archenemy The Joker — sits in Bellevue Square Park, in the heart of Kensington Market. (via King of Kensington Al Waxman’s statue gets unwanted makeover | Toronto Star)
“Do I take it personally? No not at all,” said Abernethy. “(My pieces) are created for public space and they are created to be shared — there is no greater purpose for them. And however that plays out in a community is part of the narrative.”
Michael Viglione owner of Kid Icarus — a screen print studio shop located near Bellevue Square Park — doesn’t necessarily think that vandalism in the neighbourhood is a bad thing.
“Vandalism in general is an issue, but in terms of Kensington Market, a bit is tolerable,” said Viglione. “There is an anarchist undertone — it’s a part of the neighbourhood.”
Ryan Rubin works at Longboard Living, an Augusta Ave. store. He says there is a difference between vandalism and street art in the Kensington Market neighbourhood.
“Ninety per cent of the time street art is tolerated and accepted,” said Rubin. “But spray painting a statue of someone who helped the neighbourhood in the past — that seems a bit disrespectful.”
Waxman, a veteran actor, was perhaps best known for his role on the television show King of Kensington.