It was action time last week in Montreal with the second edition of MURAL festival. I will talk of the festival more generally in a next post, but today I want to focus on one of the exhibitions that took place in the line-up of the festival: End Orphans, a solo show by Alex Produkt. Actually, I was here in Montreal to assist in organizing this show curated by my friend André Pace, art addict, collector and owner of a private gallery, so I guess that my appreciation is not quite objective as I have been involved in the organization… But this show was a real beauty! Part of the festival, it also provided the opportunity to Alex to have his own wall (above). For me, one of the best events of the show was also the amazing documentary that Ian Lagarde made during the last months, following Alex at work at his studio, in the streets, trying to capture a small part of his soul. The least I can do is to invite you to have a look, and get inspired by one of the purist street artists I’ve ever met.
Artists in Montreal these days are stuck working in their studios or homes, since the last few weeks have been incredibly cold! So, what follows bellow were mostly done in the fall and early winter. Nearly too cold to paint on walls, Labrona and 500M managed to get outside for a few hours to paint a fresh piece, their first of 2014. Produkt also was very productive on the streets this fall, upping his street art game. And also works by HoarKor, Nixon (old piece, but great location) Gawd, FLN, Waxhead and Cryote. Stay warm.
Better Out Than In is nearing it’s end, but we still have a few days left of daily Banksy goodness. Today’s piece is in Coney Island. As pointed out by Animal, the numbers on the barcode seem to be a reference to a portion of the human genome (if I understand that site). If robots with spraypaint looks familiar, Lush thought so too, writing “Did #banksy just politely rip me off today? You decide, I rip people off everyday anyways.” Funny stuff.
While Labrona and Troy Lovegates (aka Other) were working on some beautiful murals in Montreal this summer, they found time to escape into the lowlands of the city, to continue to express their art, night and day, despite being exhausted by all the work they were doing on their own murals! (See the mural of Troy Lovegates here, and the one Labrona is now working on at the end of this post.) It’s always amazing to be in front of a mural painted by these incredible artists, but the pleasure is the same when you are front of an illegal piece in the street. Can you feel the sweet sensations of the summer? Anyway, I do! Meanwhile, Labrona took some breaks alone and with Alex Produkt and Troy Lovegates went out on some solo missions too… a great summer for all of them, actually.
Detail of the mural Labrona is actually doing with MU in Montreal (a large ceiling in 2 parts)
When I started to hunt Montreal illegal street art, it appeared to me that a city is not static as usual people can think it. When you look closer, you can observe the walls change by the art that sticks on them. I was able to see the evolution of the streets and in the same time I saw ordinary places becoming amazing spots. When an artist, or a group of artists take over a wall, a door, and make it themselves, they give a soul to the city. Below you will see the transformation of some pieces whether completed or fixed. Interestingly, from a collective action or an individual one, it results that the urban environment is likely to be changed and magnified. The walls are for everyone but some of them exclusively belong to some artists. Hope they stay like this!
Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Aline Mairet, a street art blogger and photographer based on in Montréal. Check out her blog here.
Here’s an idea of what you could found when you walk on the streets and alleyways of Montréal. When street art wakes up after a long, cold, snowy winter, the artists bring colour and beauty to the streets. Here is the work of Anser, Labrona, Gawd, Produkt, Chris Dyer, Qbnyc, 500M, Waxhead, Omen, 52Hz, Stikki Peaches, Listen, Wzrds gang and Stela.
And this last piece, a splendid door by Labrona. A commission for En Masse.
Every serious art show should have a theme, subject, or a suggestive title. This show does all that but it also makes an exception. The title doesn’t refer to a specific subject or theme, but tries to say something about the works of every artist who takes part in this show, about the strange gathering of a few people from different parts of the world, different backgrounds, experiences and styles, who want to meet and show their works and paint together. And it also tries not to say too much…
The works of each of the 8 artists in the show, have a more or less obvious magical, fantastical component or feeling: the geometrical, almost abstract fantastical characters of 1010, the intricate world populated by chubby cute creatures of Aitch, the paintings/collages of pop characters, crude colors, hyper realistic landscapes and potraits of Juan Carlos Noria, the expressionistic compositions of characters grouped almost like in magical processions in the works of Labrona, the delicious multi eyed/handed/faced monstrous characters of Noper, the magical mix of realistic portraits, intricate colorful patterns and grotesque members in Other’s characters, the dreamy/nightmarish characters or pencil drawn animations of Produkt and the colorful backgrounds, mystical graphical signs and the cute or grotuesque fantastical creatures of Saddo.
Also, the 8 artists are somehow connected to each other – either they met at some point in their lives, lived in the same city or worked together before in different formations;, but never all of them appeared in the same show, under this line-up – and now they are brought together not through the powers of hazard or fate, but almost…as if by magic.