Michael Cho began creating drawings of the back alleys near his Toronto home in 2008. With this book, he has amassed a collection that speaks to the beauty of the urban landscape: sometimes grittily citified, sometimes unexpectedly pastoral, and always bewitching. Cho is a skilled draftsman, and Back Alleys and Urban Landscapes shines with lovingly rendered details, from expletive-filled graffiti splayed across backyard fences to the graceful twists of power lines over a bend in the road.
Back Alleys and Urban Landscapes meanders through the city, functioning as a sort of caught on-paper psychogeographical Jane’s Walk. With each season’s change, different color schemes become dominant, and a whole range of moods and moments are articulated. Cho lets the reader visit his city as a virtual flaneur, lingering equally over dilapidated sheds and well-groomed gardens in a dazzling tribute to the urban environs.