Bees and Graffiti

July 20 2017 Cover

There was definitely a couple crawling through my hair. I took a deep breath, keeping my cool.

It was still early in the morning, and I could feel the cool breeze against my scalp and hair that was partially still wet from my earlier shower. The shampoo and wax probably smelt pretty good to the bees now lingering in my locks.

I ignored the sets of tiny legs crawling there, lifted my camera and concentrated on taking some photos and remembering what JoAnn, the beekeeper had told me before we went out there.

If I left the bees alone, they would leave me alone.

Well, the bees clearly hadn’t held up their end of the bargain, but I figured I could at least hold mine.

I stepped around the series of boxes, knelt down for a closer look (heck, they were already crawling on me) and had my lens nearly on the ledge where hundreds of bees came and went.

All told, there were between 50,000 and 70,000 bees in the boxes before me.

That’s a lot of honey.

The reason I was standing before the boxes of bees at 9 in the morning in nothing more than skinny jeans and a t-shirt, was for a story. The apiary sat outside of Durham College’s Centre for Food, a building that houses culinary programs and a restaurant focused on field-to-fork initiatives. I thought it would make a great story.

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Leaving from there, I was back in the office for a couple more phone interviews before a surprising phone call took me out of the office and into a alleyway filled with graffiti.

Now, as a teenager, I loved graffiti. I was fascinated by the art-form, the history and the underground culture. I was fairly decent with paint markers and Sharpies (perhaps I should dig out a couple of my old black books?). However, when it came to translating my sketches into paintings, my skills can only be described as fair with a paint can.

Regardless, as I went on to journalism and turned my attentions to writing, graffiti has stuck with me and my interest remains.

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The Paint Factory opened in Oshawa late last year, and while selling paint and graffiti supplies, they also provide a legal space for people to paint and help kids who may otherwise turn their skills into an illegal act and steer them in the right direction.

I was there to interview the businesses owner Chad Tyson, a pretty significant guy in the GTA graffiti community, and an absolutely stand-up dude to talk with.

I’m really excited to tell his story (which will appear in an upcoming edition of The Express).

I also plan to do a special edition for this blog on the work he does and his history.

It’s a great story.

For now though, I’m off.

Thanks for reading,

J.J.W

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