Before painting, we had to first get the blessing of various City of Toronto departments: Real Estate, Culture and the City’s Heritage Architect. We then paid for the tower’s complete restoration which included sandblast cleaning and then repainting the supports and a base coat on the tower itself. Traditionally water towers were the signage for manufacturing facilities and for towns alike. Our design simply includes our company colour in the background with three logos around the surface of the tank, in keeping with many water tower designs in past and current use.
Q: How did you get into painting landmarks and murals?
A: I studies Economics at York but after taking some art courses, realized that that I had a desire to add colour to our bleak cityscape, whether through commercial art projects or as a non-intrusive graffiti artist (an example of my FLOWERS series in the ‘90’s, above). Since 1991 I’ve been the owner/operator of Global Colors, with my main roles: Small Business Manager, Project Manager, Art Director, Mural Painter, Display Designer and Fabricator, Installer, Photographic Documentor and Site Supervisor. I typically manage a group of between three and ten artisans and installers on simultaneous projects.
Q: With the advent of digital, describe the difference/advantages of your hand painted murals.
A: Global Colors is a production and design company that works on monumental one-of-a-kind displays that require a mixture of materials and media. We work on projects displayed in outdoor public spaces that require the crafting and installing large-scale displays. Our primary media are hand painted murals, three-dimensional sculpted and fabricated forms and large inkjet banner printing and installations. We generally receive final artwork or developed concepts from our customers and realize them in physical spaces. Most of our work is done in downtown Toronto but we do work that is seen across Canada.
Q: What is involved in painting a historic object like the water tower?
A: Weather: we needed about 2 weeks to complete this project with a guarantee of 10 degree daytime temperature with no snow or rain. Approvals: being that this was a national heritage artifact, we had to get sign-off from the city on the methods, materials and design for the restoration and decoration of the tower. Equipment: A Skyjack is essential for work of this height off the ground and the ability to wheel around the circular object helped. Safety harnesses are a must. We painted the solid green first and then masked in the stripes and logo art which was then painted by hand.
Q: Can you give examples of some other projects around TO that you are well known for or particularly proud of?
One close-to-home at Steam Whistle is this hand-painted public art mural designed by artist David A. Oram. We were given a lithographic print of the artwork and rendered it directly onto the brick wall using acrylic paints. The mural dimension are (34′ x 25′). It is painted on a west wall beside the coal silo at the Roundhouse Park. The mural is adjacent to the Toronto Railway Historical Association’s outdoor locomotive and train display area.
Another project that was a lot of fun was the San Pellegrino installation at the corner of College & Clinton in Little Italy. We made that brand literally jump off the page: https://www.facebook.com/CieslokMedia/videos/1025331917510944/
I haven’t worked for Steam Whistle in some years but think of them often when I see their green chalkboards, vehicles and other marketing materials around town.
See more artwork from Toronto Artists in our Roundhouse Art Gallery.
Posted on May 03 2016,