The 100 #49 – Gregory Alan Elliot …

Gregory Alan Elliott is a much loved Toronto street artist, poet and all around good guy – his tag is seen in this first photograph. Gregory describes himself on his Twitter account: Toronto artist, 4 adult sons. Designer, poet, lover, friend. Help many in many ways, loyal to a few. Enjoy everyone like they’re your double rainbows. Coffee?

Gregory talks about his art and life:  “I have been signing my full legal name to my graffiti around Toronto. My first stencil was out front of Toronto’s first Graffiti Festival about 15 or 20(?) years ago. It said “DEFY THE LAWS OF GRAFFITI!” and had my full legal name underneath. I guess I was trying to suggest that graffiti artists should take ownership and responsibility for their art… even if it meant fines and court costs. When I meet graffiti artists, and describe the concept, it really blows their minds… which is a good thing.             I consider myself an experimental artist, illustrator, poet, etc… I work professionally as a graphic designer, and have worked in television and advertising. I grew up in Toronto Advertising Agencies. I do “charity” design for people who are dreaming/trying to build better communities– like and Garden Jane.

WHY?  No idea really… You have to do SOMETHING while you’re on the planet, if my art or short poetic turns-of-phrases bring a smile to someone’s face, then that is good. If it makes them think too, even better… and, if it makes people discuss and debate their lives, then that is reason enough… isn’t it?

As well as his street poetry and art Gregory originated the concept of SNOETRY, so appropriate for Toronto winters. He describes this art as: any image or phrase drawn or written in the snow. It does not have to make sense or rhyme… It can be clever, or not. At the very least, it can be a random happy face on a snowy car windshield… Or it can be a huge I-LOVE-YOU the size of a football field. After every snowfall, there are fresh opportunities to express oneself on a small or grand scale. Spontaneous. Temporary. Fully editable or erasable by any passerby, SNOETRY is cold hard democracy in a time-honored, yet always fresh medium…

Gregory’s optimistic artistic quest is to create beauty where there is none, to give people a reason to smile, to make his city just a little nicer.

Gregory made headlines in the summer of 2008, when he anonymously put up six philosophical street signs along Toronto’s  Queensway, urging motorists to think beyond the banality of rush-hour traffic. One quoted Shakespeare – “They do not love that do not show their love” – another by Mother Teresa: “If I love until it hurts, then there is no hurt, but only more love.” 

Gregory’s response to any acclaim is – “I don’t do this stuff for fame as much as the idea that it always brightens people’s day and/or makes them think,”


Wikipedia / Google Images.

The 100′ series was initiated by my 100th Post in April 2012. As text and images are the essence of my blog my intention is to present 100 pieces of textual art from historical and contemporary artists and from my own hand. To view the series to date click on ‘The 100’ in my Category Menu.

17 thoughts on “The 100 #49 – Gregory Alan Elliot …

  1. Here’s to #49!!! It was a pleasure to learn about such a beautiful, soulful, trailblazer.
    Possibly my favorite: “Be a Pencil, not an Eraser” that certainly would’ve caught my attention. And it’s now something I will think about all day!
    Keep up the great work/research – it’s a joy to visit your cafe’


  2. Be a pencil, not an eraser – I absolutely love this one. and I’m thankful to you for keeping my mind open to every kind of art.


  3. What a great introduction to a marvelous Canadian poet. I love the guy! I’ve been following graffitti artists around Kelowna and may post some of their work. I used to think that graffitti was simply destruction of private property. But I think that destruction is more the province of ‘tagging’. My hope is that graffitti and muralists can be incorporated into the stream of urban art culture. Yeah…let’s be pencils – not erasers! (lol).


    1. Some cities in England are way ahead incorporating street art into their urban art culture. A friend in Bristol keeps me updated about an annual street art festival there with wall art commissioned from street artists from around the world. Another blogger, John at ‘Notes from the Milkman’ also informed me about a similar festival in northern England.


  4. Not Guilty. January 22, 2016. That anonymous “sexually harasses” comment above is likely one of the many angry online politicos who wanted me off of the internet so they could spin their crazy and inaccurate politics without any disagreement from others, like me. The 3 year 2 month long Gregory Alan Elliott court case in Ontario, Canada set a precedent for Freedom Of Speech online. Thank you Mr. Clinock for posting photos of my street art, or micropoetry, or whatever people call it. Regards, GAE


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