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Various posters on a white wall
All Arts & Culture The Print Issue

Writings on the wall: How the posters on our walls reflect who we are

Words by Madeline Liao

Visuals by Madeline Liao, Em Vu & Karin Petrosian

I open my newly arrived package with careful, gentle hands—taking the utmost care not to damage the contents inside. As I take out the delicate paper, I stare in awe at the newest addition to the collage that is my bedroom wall. 

As I try to piece together the poster puzzle on my white wall, taking down and putting back up what’s already there, I try to find the perfect spot for my newest treasure. It’s a vibrant print from artist Shinsyl of a cozy, sunlit room that I wish to transport myself into. After going through this exact process over a dozen times, the walls that were once barren just two years ago have become a space that brings me instant joy every time I look around my room. 

Posters and prints have the power to breathe life into a room. Whether it be art prints, photographs, posters of your favourite K-pop group or even ripped-out pages from a magazine—these simple pieces of paper brighten up many Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) students’ walls, including myself. 

For Karin Petrosian, a first-year RTA media production student, putting up posters is her way of showing off her interests. Petrosian, who is a fan of the K-pop groups ENHYPEN, Seventeen and BTS, has various posters and postcards up in her desk space. 

“I could put anything up. I can put art or pictures of me and my family, my friends, but I chose K-pop posters, just because it’s something that I really enjoy,” she said. “If I’m having a bad day, [it] just makes me a little happier.” 

Fourth-year nursing student Em Vu echoes that sentiment. She said the process of arranging posters and seeing them on display is “really therapeutic.” She recently moved rooms and hasn’t had the time to put up posters, but her old room had a combination of K-pop posters, art prints and Polaroids of her friends. She said she’s planning on putting up some of these decorations again once she’s settled in. 

“It was like a creative outlet for me because I really liked figuring out where to put everything,” Vu said. “It’s kind of like a mini art gallery.” Her favourite moments were when the morning light shone through her window, creating the perfect lighting for her gallery. 

While some people may have mixed reactions to seeing a wall full of posters, it doesn’t stop collectors from showing off their prized possessions. 

“People are like, ‘[why do you] have pictures of random men on your wall?’ but it’s what makes me happy,” Petrosian said. “And they’ll have movie posters that [are] the same thing with different execution.” 

Vu said she’s garnered some questions from people who’ve seen the mosaic of posters in her room. “It’s really overstimulating if you go in for the first time,” she said. But she still recommends everybody put posters up if they have access to any. “It’s good to show off your personality and make your space like your own.”

Poster-collecting is not a new concept. The appeal of putting things on your wall is something many people like Vu and Petrosian remember indulging in as a child. From teen magazine posters to printing out photos of boy bands, the extra bit of serotonin one gets from seeing their favourite celebrities, places or artwork on display is a special type of feeling. 

I, for one, hold my silly little papers near and dear to my heart. And who are people to judge? 

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