In early spring, I had the chance to meet up with Chris Dyer in Ghent, Belgium, while he was visiting the family of his wife, the lovely Valerie. As he regularly spends time in this part of Europe, and in order to avoid getting bored and to take advantage of this time away from Montreal, his home city, he met with the local street artists and ended up collaborating on a bunch of projects. And because Chris is so generous and positive, he naturally became friends with many of them.
For me, it was an opportunity to explore the city with Chris, to get his take on Ghent and see what he’d painted there. Actually, as he said to me, Ghent should be re-named Bue the Warrior City! When you enter Ghent, you see Bue’s art everywhere. Whether it’s illegal or legal pieces, his art covers a multitude of walls and doors… All of it painted in a joyful spirit, yet always controlled.
While we were walking through the city, looking for some cool spots where he used to paint, Chris explained to me how he improved his bombing technique each time he worked with Bue. It’s the same gratitude you can feel when he speaks about his beginnings in Montreal, where he was invited, in the early 2000’s, to join an exhibition organized by the best of the best,Troy Lovegates and Labrona, after he moved from Peru for study illustration in Canada. What a lesson of humility, when you can hear the admiration and respect for his peers by an artist like Dyer! He also told me about his early life in Lima, Peru, where he began tagging as a teenager while he was part of a street gang.
Ghent is a small town compared to bigger neighbors like Brussels, but it appears to be an incredible canvas for Belgium street artists and graffiti writers. ROA is the most well-known among them, as are Dzia, A squid called sebastian, Resto, Bisser, Scarpulla, and of course Bue the warrior, just for named a few.
Thank you very much Chris!
Photos by Aline Mairet