The 519 Church Street Community Centre’s Green Space Festival has become an intrinsic part of Toronto Pride. Though they’ve operated as separate events in the past, Pride partygoers often associate the madness of Church Street with the oasis-like escape of The 519 park and its daytime vibes. But it’s not all DJs and drag queens and dancing, a major part of what makes the Green Space events so successful is the look. Every year their team reveals a bright, fresh and unique visual campaign. This year might be their greatest feat yet, and we spoke to the Montreal-based artist, Etienne Dicaire to find out how it all comes together.
Daily Xtra: The new look is fierce! What was your inspiration for this year’s Green Space Festival design?
Etienne Dicaire: Over the years Green Space has sort of made everything animal / forest related its trademark, so I was looking for a fresh spin on that. Toys immediately put a smile on your face, they bring a childlike wonder and playfulness, and that’s what Pride celebrations evoke to me. Also, as a designer, I was looking for a challenge, a way to move beyond the Photoshop collage.
You can tell the level and attention to detail was on point for the image. What was the process like in putting it all together?
There was the process of scavenging the city’s toy stores and goodwill stores for every kind of animal figurine and prop. You have to look for animals that best represent the vibe of each party (kitschy and fluffy for Starry Night, wild and ferocious for One World, all the tree-dwelling animals for Treehouse, etc). Then comes the building and painting of miniature sets, and finally the photoshoot.
How long did something like this take to complete?
Honestly, at some point I stopped counting! I started gathering things back in October and we shot the pictures early January. It really was a labour of love, but I didn’t mind because it was so much fun.
Green Space has always approached its marketing and promotions in a unique and colourful way. Why do you think this helps make the event so successful?
I think partygoers know that if a lot of thought and care and creativity went into the visuals, then they can expect the same attention to details from the party itself. Also, a lot of the gay parties have the same kind of very sexual imagery, with shirtless muscle boys on their flyers, and we’ve always steered clear of that, both to stand out and to be more inclusive. It positions us as something different I think.
What is your favourite part of the Green Space Festival and what makes it so special to you?
Beautiful venues, good-looking people, great acts, and all the money goes to community programs. What’s not to like? Working with the Green Space team, I see all the work that goes on behind the scenes and it’s very rewarding to see it all come together.
Like the Green Space Festival Facebook page to get updates on performers and DJs, as they roll in!