Windsor's defunct businesses become blank canvas for street artist
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It's Homer Simpson like you've never seen him before.
The iconic cartoon father, pasted to the side of a shuttered 7-Eleven in Windsor, cries out in pain, blood dripping from his hands and wrists. Dubbed "Homercidal," he's the work of street artist Ben Frost.
"It's as if consumerism has affected Windsor in a way that's burst the bubble," he says. "Homer has the blood of the workers on his hands."
Although he's based in Toronto, Frost recently left his mark on Windsor. In addition to the Homer piece, he affixed a two-headed Dewey (of Duck Tales fame) to an abandoned Kentucky Fried Chicken, and a somewhat disturbing version of Bambi to the former Home Depot location near Devonshire Mall.
Working in the tradition of other street artists — including the infamous Banksy — Frost uses his art as a form of social commentary.
"In a lot of ways, it's about using corporate imagery as a way to take the power back, taking their logos and what they're feeding us, and subverting it," he says.
Each location was chosen for the way it resonated with a particular design, Frost says. The KFC duck clearly invokes urban legends about the company using genetically modified animals in its food, while the Home Depot piece is a comment on mass-produced goods.
"It's a nod to a consumer culture where we're just creating simulations of the same stuff," Frost says. "Especially at a place like Home Depot where there's five million $1 paintbrushes. There must be a machine somewhere that's just spitting them out."
Frost's pieces are "paste-ups," paper posters affixed to public spaces using simple adhesives. The method allows him to install art much faster than traditional graffiti, and helps minimize his chances of a run-in with the law.
"Because it's paper, you can only get in trouble for littering rather than applying paint to a surface," he says.
There are rumours that some of his Windsor pieces, which were put up on Nov. 15, have already been taken down or painted over. However, Frost already has plans for a return trip.
"Windsor's a great spot," the ex-pat Australian says. "I met a lot of artists doing cool stuff. It was quite alive."