The Fringe Tourist Trap

Client: Toronto Fringe Festival

The Fringe Tourist Trap was presented as part of the 2011 Toronto Fringe Festival’s inaugural Visual Fringe. To celebrate the quick, dirty, and urban nature of the Toronto Fringe, I offered it an unofficial mascot: Midge the Fringe pigeon, a feral city bird with an entrepreneurial agenda. The Fringe Tourist Trap existed as a nightly parasitic pop-up shop next to Toronto’s iconic Honest Ed’s department store (legendary for its brazen marketing and the theatrical salesmanship of its namesake).

I created all of the various mixed-media pieces for sale in the shop, including prints, a pigeon-skull lamp, paper dolls, penants, and a handmade stuffed animal. But the focal point was and a 4-foot photo-op of Midge herself, carved from plywood wood and painted by hand. True to the tourist trap ethos, “everything must go”–and it did!