Born in Toronto and Hamilton raised, Robinson made his mark in the city not only through his street art, but through his shop, the Boom Spot, which opened in the early 1990s. The shop, located at 277 King East, dealt in all things hip-hop, including clothing, skateboard gear, graffiti magazines, mix tapes and custom screen printing. Robinson said of the Boom Spot, “We set up the store to service the youth in the area who were travelling from Buffalo to Toronto to get their gear, and also to make the hip-hop scene a little more visible” (ArtsBeat, 1997). While running his shop, he continued to nurture his creativity by sketching at the front desk between interactions with customers. As interest grew in his artistic works, he decided to open a gallery within the shop to display his art.
Photo: Leon ‘Eklipz’ Robinson at the Boom Spot, c.1990s.
A pioneer in community formation, Robinson was fervently involved in endeavours larger than his personal art practice. In 1995, Robinson organized Ontario’s first Concrete Canvas, a graffiti art festival originally held on the roof of Jackson Square, which is still active today.
Photo: Participants of Concrete Canvas, organized by Leon ‘Eklipz’ Robinson, c.1999.
‘Art has always been for me a positive path, it’s always been a light. I don’t want to paint and draw in a dark space… At the end of the day, a lot of people get back a commission that is maybe their son or daughter and all of a sudden their joy and happiness now spreads back to me. Those are things that I love with my art. I love giving a portrait to someone and they’re like ‘oh my gosh it looks exactly like so and so’. To me as an artist, those are the moments that really weigh and want me to elevate my game.
– Leon ‘Eklipz’ Robinson, 2019
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