magenta foundation: “flash forward” recycling bins.

Usually Canadians are pretty reserved when it comes to their public art. “Polite”, we could say, and just really bring that whole stereotype of the overly-cautious Canadian to life. It gets a little dull sometimes, especially in comparison to the ground breaking, architecturally daring public spaces that pop up in Europe and other places.

That’s why I get such glee out of this. We’re talking bright, in your face, acid-magenta coloured recycling bins featuring the work of up and coming Canadian photographers. On a grey, drizzle-filled winter day in Toronto, the brief respite these babies deliver from the monotony of your morning commute is enough to make any art-lover break down in tears.

(Artist: Nik Mirus)

(Artist: Adam Rankin)

(Artist: Scott Connaroe)

(Artist: Jeff Harris)

The Magenta Foudation is Canada’s first charitable publishing house, whose mandate is to nurture new Canadian artists and set them up for success and recognition on the international scene. Flash Forward is their yearly emerging photographers competition. Last time around, the artists chosen for Flash Forward got the added rush of having their work displayed on recycling bins around downtown Toronto.

The benefit of this is obvious. Metal recycling boxes are ugly. Art is pretty. Plus Toronto’s downtown core can benefit from all the added artistic exposure it can get. Aside from a few bright spots, it’s not exactly an area where accessible public art is popping up everywhere you look. Each time I came across a new one of these while I was walking around downtown it was like finding a chocolate egg on Easter morning. Plus I get a little misty eyed thinking of all the people who maybe wouldn’t have been interested in fostering or even noticing Canadian artists who had their attitudes changed by discovering works of art in such unexpected places.

Kudos to everyone involved in making this happen, and I can’t wait for next year.

(Artist: Eamon MacMahon)

(Artist: Adam Harrison)

(Artist: Jesse Chehak)

(Artist: Jamie Campbell)


  1. […] magenta foundation: “flash forward” recycling bins. – shape+colour […]

  2. […] Left: I like the ones used in Montreal near McGill University. Right: even better are ones in Toronto that serve another purpose: Art! The Magenta Foundation is Canada’s first charitable publishing house, whose mandate is to […]

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