Recently I was invited on a personal tour of Station 16 Gallery in Montreal. I’ve been friendly with its founder Carlo for about four years now, ever since I facilitated an introduction between him and a local street artist. So when I told him that I would be back in my old Montreal stomping grounds, he took a couple hours out of his busy day to show me around the ever-expanding gallery.
Station 16 is located on Boulevard St-Laurent in the heart of le plateau, where the gallery’s presence has boosted the community’s economy and sprouted new growth and development for local businesses. Montreal was hit hard by the economic downturn, and there are still many empty retail spaces around. So Station 16 partnered with the annual Mural Festival to reinvigorate interest in this historical and trendy area.
The goal of Station 16 is to feature and promote local urban artists as well as international favourites. The great thing I noticed when I entered the gallery was how busy it was. Most art galleries are usually very quiet, with one or two patrons an hour, and the receptionists’ shoes usually cost more than your entire annual salary. For many people, visiting art galleries is an intimidating and perhaps snobby-elite experience that feels alienating and ostracising. Not Station 16. Kids, teenagers, families, tourists, street art enthusiasts, art collectors, and dealers abounded the ground-level gallery. It’s a very inclusive and welcoming experience, with a no-pressure enviro, and fosters a sense of community. I think that encouraging everyday people in the process of appreciating, critiquing, and collecting pieces of art is a good thing, and removes the exclusivity that surrounds the art world.
Pure Maple Sizzurp piece by What Is Adam, like an Warhol-throwback!
Took me a moment to realize those are guns.
Olek, my beloved guerilla-knitting-yarn-bombing babe with a clever turn of phrase here. This is actually a silkscreen of her work, but it comes out very 3D! It looks like there’s actual yarn in there! I’ve photographed her in Montreal, NYC, and London!
Le Diamantaire! You can’t turn a single corner in Paris without running into his street diamonds. They’re prolific!
Now this is my kind of toilet. The entire walls are covered in What Is Adam pieces, and what’s that on the loo?
It’s my boyfriend HANKSY!
Enzo Sarto is one half of my NYC favourite Enzo & Nio!
This is the back of Carlo’s computer! I see WIA, Stikki Peaches, Enzo & Nio, Shepard Fairy…. “Never forget how awesome you are.”
How could I?
Station 16 is located at 3523 Boul St-Laurent in Montreal, within walking distance from metro stops Mont-Royal or Sherbrooke. If you go, tell them Chris says hi!
One of my New York fav’s Olek put this up on Brick Lane for International Women’s Day.
I love yarn-bombing and guerilla knitting!
Brick Lane is a pretty Asian-Indian-Pakistani-Bangladeshi area, so it’s great to have such a strong pro-choice statement amongst people who historically haven’t had access to abortion or women’s rights.
You’re still here! Fanks for not leaving!
Regular munchkins (aka readers) of this blog will notice I’ve taken a couple weeks off from blogging. This is like a full time job, yo! First I was in Montreal visiting my family, and then I came back and started planning another international backpacking adventure for later this year (more details on that in a later post).
But did I stop taking graffiti photos?
The short answer is no.
The long answer is FUCK NO.
I was only in Montreal for four days but I took over 400 photos of graffiti and street art. I might be OCD.
I captured a lot of amazing pieces, but the first artist I want to profile is probably Montreal’s most prolific and well-known artist, Stikki Peaches. I’ve been documenting his shit for a long time now (check out the category I dedicated to him!), and he never ceases to impress. I told him I was coming back to la belle province, so he sent me on a little graff-hunting excursion through the plateau and Mile End areas.
This Marilyn Monroe wheatpaste piece was on de Gaspé and Saint-Viateur, placed on an abandoned garage.
Stikki Peaches’ tag line is “What if art ruled the world?”
these 3 wheatpastes were on Van Horne near St. Urbain. It’s Vanilla Ice, Princess Di, and Queen Elizabeth.
This kind of has an Andy Warhol feel to it:)
I have to say, I really enjoyed wandering around Montreal during a hot August. I was born and raised here, but I haven’t lived here since 1993, so you forget a lot, especially the vibe Montreal has, which is very unique.
On this particular day, I wandered up from Mont-Royal and St. Laurent, up to Van Horne, across to Avenue du Parc, then hopped on a Bixi Bike down to Saint-Viateur, had lunch, hopped on another Bixi bike back down to Mont-Royal, then grabbed another Bixi down to Saint-Catherines and Papineau where my family came to pick me up. If you know that area of Montreal at all, you know that’s one helluva excursion! IN CHUCK TAYLORS NO LESS!
This SP piece, which is a James Bond body with a Darth Vader head, was on Van Horne near Avenue du Parc.
now THIS is really exciting to me. It looks like just a broken down baby carriage, but it’s so much more than that.
This is a collaboration between Stikki Peaches and Olek! Olek (whom I’ve blogged about before) is an NYC guerilla-knitter who was so inspired by SP that she came up and collab’d on this piece with him (among a few others scattered around the city). She knitted his catchphrase “What if art ruled the world?” on this kinda carriage-cozy, see?
Also knitted on it is the red square (the symbol of the Montreal student protests which occurred earlier this year). In the red square, she knitted “contre l’elitisme” which simply means “against elitism.”
This was on Bernard near St. Laurent.
I will blog more in another post about the Montreal student protests because, lemme tell ya, I found SO MUCH GRAFF AND STREET ART dedicated to its cause!
This is another Vanilla Ice wheatpaste, which was in the mouth of an alleyway near Mont-Royal and St. Laurent.
he almost is presented as a James Bond baddie here, with the gun, the lipstick, the purple glove, and the lolly. PUSSY GALORE.
to the extreme, i rock a mic like a vandal!
Another one of his Princess Di’s on Marie-Anne and St. Laurent.
Anyway, now that my New York blogging is now done (2 months later!), for the next little while, The Spadina Monologues is going to be Montreal-centric!
It’s a beautiful city, the Europe of North America, and I hope each and every one of you finds the time in your life to visit Montreal at least once. I think it’s the jewel of Canada, the best city we have, and I’ve travelled to a lot of great Canadian cities so I can speak with some authority. I may live in Toronto, but as they say, j’ai laissé mon coeur à Montréal!
On y va!
found this shopping-cart cozy on east 4th street between 1st and 2nd avenue.