because the kids don’t play – event recap

It seemed like the better part of Toronto was clamoring to get into 99 Sudbury on a rainy Friday the 13th. But with no fashion week or free liquor promo in sight, what were they all so excited about? Art. Great big, beautiful art. And it certainly deserved the clamor.

Bryan Espiritu presented his first solo exhibit, Because the Kids Don’t Play. Based on the loss of childhood innocence, the pieces display classic Disney characters re-drawn to reflect the feelings in the accompanying poem:

Because The Kids Don’t Play

Because the kids don’t play,
We’ll bomb the slide.
No knees that bleed,
Nor heart inside.

Because the kids don’t laugh,
We’ll hold the joke,
Withholding hope
With a loop & rope.

Because the kids don’t love,
We’ll let them fuck.
And show them what is
Just enough.

Because the kids don’t fly,
We’ll make them sink.
Their growth ignored,
Explored to shrink.

Because the kids don’t live,
We’ll let it die.
Our joy destroyed by foolish pride.
Our souls devoid of a need to cry;
Of love & such,
Denied.

– Bryan Espiritu

The pieces were incredibly well made, each with an explosion of colour reminiscent of the characters we grew up with, but with new features, angles, or focus. Their stories were as individual as the characters represented.

A wall of smaller pieces had completely sold out by the time we arrived. Twenty one pieces. Doors had only been open 30 minutes. And there they were, all sold. The bigger pieces remained, but not for long, as they too would soon accessorize their name plates with little red stickers. One piece will even be making its way to our home soon. You can spot it in the video at 0:47 and in the photo below.

But what may have been most striking about the whole night, was the undeniable sense of pride felt by all who attended. Pride from the artist for the work, of course. But pride from the crowd for the fact that this level of talent was found here, within our city. Often we look so far out to seek the best, that we forget talent lives close to home too. And this feeling didn’t go unnoticed,  as Espiritu himself notes the incredible support he felt all night.

For those who couldn’t make it out, you can thank Espiritu’s team for the great video recap below. Enjoy.

Ryan Bannon, Bryan Espiritu (artist), Ryan Thomas (buyer, top right)

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