EGR

EGR

EGR likes to get high – by climbing ladders, scaffolding, recycling bins or whatever else is available. Of course, she doesn’t have much choice in the matter, as a graffiti artist – but it helps that she actually enjoys heights. Of course, getting high is just part of the high. “The rush, the scale of it and the fact that you can get your whole body into it, the physical side of [graffiti] is the best,” she says.

Since ’96, EGR, pronounced “Eager,” has gotten bizzy on the streets of Toronto, and more recently in music and style magazines, music videos and galleries around the world. Her first inspiration? “One of my high school buddies happened to point out the graffiti he did with some friends behind a shopping mall along the train-line of my home town,” says EGR. “That was it – I wanted to do it. I got my first five cans of Krylon, and the rest is history.”

EGR

History that includes painting with one of graffiti’s living legends. “I was really grateful to paint with Zephyr when he came to Toronto a few years ago,” says EGR. Apparently, the feeling was mutual. “Zephyr had this moment where he was like, ‘Wow, who would have thought I’d be painting with EGR one day?’, and I was like, What?” she says. “How did this happen? What a crazy moment that was.”

Inevitably, being a female in the graffiti game comes with its own unique hardships. “I have had beef that only girls would specifically have to deal with,” says EGR. “For instance, some guys need to feel a sort of ownership over the female in the group.” Guys want to know if she’s single, or has a boyfriend – non-issues for male graffiti practitioners.

“There is more attention on the girl [doing graff], whether we like it or not, and it’s not always good… It can be downright intimidating,” she says. “I am lucky that now a lot of people might know who I am, so they are respectful, but I have had to earn that respect.”

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“I don’t really care what people think,” says EGR, “but I do feel it’s a responsibility to rep at shows for the younger girls, so that they know there are other girls getting up and putting themselves out there.”

To that end, she is effusive when talking about the recent book, Graffiti Women: Five Continents of Street Art, by Nicholas Ganz. While pleased with the number of women featured, “there were women that were missing also,” says EGR, “which means that there are more women contributing to the culture than you’d even think.”

“The book shows that women can rock it just as hard as our male counterparts, but we bring a viewpoint that is completely different,” she says. While women can be hardcore, fiery and politically charged, they also “bring forth an emotional vulnerability and sensuality that men just cannot express. Not to say that men don’t have the same emotions,” clarifies EGR. “We just may be better equipped to communicate these emotions, and coming across in such a hardcore public medium just makes it that much more, well, hardcore.”

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That aesthetic is very much in keeping with EGR’s own steez. “On the street my style is more rugged and loose, yet recognizable by the characters and the sultry look in the eyes of the EGR girls,” she says. “My attempt is to portray figures that are both powerful yet vulnerable, hard-edge but with a soft touch.”

Launching a new website in the Spring, EGR is also busy participating in group shows and travelling to promote the website.

More Info: http://www.egrart.com

Rick Kang

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