Hello / Goodbye Chinatown

In the spring of 2017 I was given notice by my landlord to vacate my apartment as he required the building for personal use. Thinking I had to leave my home — and possibly the neighbourhood — I began sketching the storefronts at the end of my street as a way of saying goodbye. Over the summer I completed over 25 storefronts along Somerset. My landlord eventually changed his mind, allowing me to stay in my home and ultimately continue the study of Chinatown in 2018.

As with much of my work, these sketches are about capturing meaning through time and place. Change in cities seems inevitable, and sketching, for me, is a way to both observe the familiar, and preserve a moment in time.

The tentative title of this series not only reflected my personal goodbye to my neighbour- hood, but also a fear that these storefronts in Chinatown may disappear, caught up in the pressures of development and gentrification.

Places are given meaning by individuals and communities. As time passes more meaning is given to a place. More people experience a place, traditions are developed, and routines established. The decay of paint, the stains on bricks, the fading of signage, is a physical reflection of that meaning.