Chainsaw-wielding men at Toronto’s Cherry Beach now memorialized in giant painting

It would be pretty hard to forget the time when two bloody men with chainsaws terrorized the public on Cherry Beach in Toronto last summer after an argument with anti-maskers, but a new painting by artist Viktor Mitic ensures you never do will.

The Serbian-born, Toronto-based artist used his discreet style of sketching characters in bullet holes in the new piece depicting the men of the incident, titled Safe Harbor. It is now on display at the Oeno Gallery in Prince Edward County.

“When I first saw the news clip on blogTO, in which two characters were turning chainsaws and following a crowd, I thought it was staged, almost like a well-scripted movie scene,” Mitic tells blogTO, about what inspired him to the piece. “A slow scene on the verge of vigilante justice.”

But the artist says he saw the incident as more than just a shocking sight.

Instead, he felt that it perfectly portrayed the outrage so many Toronto residents experienced as a result of the pandemic.

“The two men exposed the brooding frustration and helplessness caused by the lockdown,” he says. “That dynamic, I believe, is something that has been latent for some time and comes out in a surreal and terrifying way.”

And the fact that it all happened on Cherry Beach – one of Toronto’s most popular summer spots – was the cherry on top.

“The environment for it was perfect,” says Mitic. “A quiet scene by the lake and trees that is absolutely Canadian. I felt that an event like this was historic and deserves a large format painting on canvas done in my usual way of working with paint, gold leaf and live ammunition through. “

Mitic’s post-pop-inspired paintings have appeared all over the world, from Japan to New York City, and he is known for his particularly unique use of live ammunition.

“Mitic involves two different forces in his work of art. He transcribes powerful images of peaceful or destructive historical events and infamous or iconic people and undermines them with something unexpected,” says the artist’s description of the gallery.

“Mitic uses the power element of shooting the canvas with real guns and live ammunition to create a clear association of the point effect. Those smoky craters in the canvas that are made from the bullets together form a beautiful but destructive aesthetic.”

“Safe Harbor” will be on display at the Oeno Gallery through April 18th.

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