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For many people, graffiti conjures up visions of vandalism and social protest. It has a raw uncensored quality that evokes powerful emotions. Even if it doesn’t appeal to you, you can’t ignore it as a form of artistic expression. 

Prolific interior designer Kelly Wearstler recently posted photos of graffiti and street art on her blog MyVibeMyLife . Kelly has built a highly successful career by setting trends; not following them. She seems to soak up ideas that others miss. 

Kelly says she and her sons are inspired by street art and graffiti.

Here in Canada, freight trains are a favourite canvas for graffiti artists. These photos are from Canadian Benching.

 There are countless websites and blogs devoted to the art of graffiti. I found it amusing that many of them also feature Google ads for graffiti removal.

How do these images influence the kind of art and furniture we choose for our homes? This question was on my mind when I first saw the work of Murray Duncan, artist and co-owner of Hardware Interiors. By combining text and graffiti, Murray creates urban art that makes us think. He uses multiple layers of metallic paints, powders, oil crayons and resin. The end result is edgy, but never offensive. Murray and his business partner Jordan Tabachnik are known for the distinctive vintage and salvage pieces they design and build. Their store is a mecca for interior designers and design buffs looking for unique furniture, lighting and accessories.

 

The text in Murray’s artwork is not meant to be taken literally.

Here’s an example of the cabinetry doors Murray creates. Each one is unique.

Murray’s artwork works well with the natural, modern pieces HARDWARE creates.

 

 

HARDWARE is located in a historic landmark building in Toronto’s Riverdale/Leslieville area. Dating back to the early 1900s, the store has 14 ft ceilings, tin ceilings, double bay windows and magnificent leaded glass transoms.

Murray and Jordan travel widely to find the vintage pieces they use to create custom furniture and mirrors. Murray has been working with Aster Cucine in Italy and the design firm Workshop/apd in NY on a collection of custom artwork for cabinetry doors. Murray’s art is available at HARDWARE, the Parts Gallery and the Art Gallery of Ontario rental department.

You can find out more about HARDWARE here. The store also features the work of a number of other interesting contemporary artists. Photos courtesy of HARDWARE.