"Blogging isn't journalism, it's graffiti with punctuation."

Stikki Peaches

Inside @Station16MTL’s Street Art Gallery

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.

Huge, amazing pieces by Stikki Peaches, a local Montreal artist and personal fav!

Pure Maple Sizzurp piece by What Is Adam, like an Warhol-throwback!

Took me a moment to realize those are guns.

Dain! I’ve photographed Dain all over NYC! International fav!

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!

More full-size Stikki Peaches!

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!

BACK OFF HE’S MY BOYFRIEND. Get your own.

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?

Oh sheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet.

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!

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Stikki Peaches et la ville de Montréal

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!


More from Montreal’s Stikki Peaches

the last time i was in montreal, i discovered the brilliant work of Stikki Peaches, and him and I struck up a bit of a correspondence after I blogged about his work:) I was back in Montreal a couple weeks ago to visit ailing relatives, but I still managed to sneak away for 45 minutes to do some proper graff hunting, and of course i came across more of SP’s work. dude fucking OWNS montreal, his work is everywhere, and is truly the most prolific.

his tagline is “what is art ruled the world?/et si l’art dominait le monde?” accompanied by colourful interpretation of pop art and culture.

i found this trove of his work mostly in and around du Mont Royal between Saint Denis and Saint Laurent.

check out my Stikki Peaches category for more of his work!


what else is in the teaches of Stikki Peaches?

the great thing about being a blogger is that sometimes you don’t even have to do any work at all, the work finds you!

one of my readers emailed me these new snaps from Montreal of street artist Stikki Peaches (who is also a friend of this blog).

SP is infamous for wheatpasting the plateau and Mile End with his “What If Art Ruled The World” series.

check out the awesomeness, and also check out my Stikki Peaches category for more of his great work.


the Ossington strip

handsome & gorgeous

i had previously found one of these “handsome & gorgeous” stencils in kensington market back in august

Bonjour Christine,

It is 5:01am.
I got out of bed at 3:30am, could not sleep, ate too late.

The other day I was drifting up the main to the Mile End and then back to the Plateau ( cuz I’m dat cool ) and I spotted Stikki Peaches work all over. Even as far as on Chabanel in the garment factory hood.
I think Stikki Peaches might be going all city soon.

So, today I woke up and I could not sleep so I decided to look for Stikki Peaches ( as I type this I hear something crawling in the ceiling, I think it might be a giant rat ) on the webz and I found your online memory data silo.
Interesting.

I lived in Toronto for a while and also Vancouver but most of my life I lived in MTL. I’m originally from central america, Guatemala.
Where am I going with this? Oh yea.

So, when I lived in Toronto and Vancouver I loved to see who was going up on what wall, who was throwing a tag here and there. Back then SPUD, JAFAR and a few others had gone all city but my favorite became TRIK.
TRIK here TRIK there TRIK en haut TRIK en bas TRIK to the left TRIK to the right TRIK on the rails TRIK in the toilets TRIK.
You get the idea.
Ok, so the proliferation of locations for a writer is not uncommon in the game, but here is why he became my favorite.

I had to go back to Guatemala due to a death in the family.
I had not been there in 20 years and there was a cultural shock.
I felt out of place, in the home land, wow. I missed poutine, I missed the Wheat Sheaf’ giant moose and I missed the west coast rain. (sheesh, this is starting to sound like the vinyl cafe. Ok I like the vinyl cafe)
One night as I walked up and down the little cobble stone covered streets of Antigua, something caught my eye as I passed a street light post.

There it was, written in a fine tip blue sharpie, TRIK.

I smiled, je me suis dit ” tout est en ordre et la vie continue”

It is now 5:35am.
Thank you for your time and thank you for your blog Christine.

-Methuselah (not his real name)

Il n’y a pas de quoi, mon chum.

fanks for the past-midnight-musings. glad you appreciate! next time i return to montreal, we can wander with a sharpie.


the more i know people, the more i love the smiths


i leave today! Via Rail is putting me on the cross-canada train from Toronto to Vancouver (with a brief stop in Jasper, Alberta) to blog, vlog, and live-tweet the train experience, and upon arrival in Vancouver, I will be speaking on a panel for the Social Media Week conference. The panel is “Brands, Agencies, and Influencers” and we’re discussing how to build personal brands, the relationship between brands and bloggers, and the ethics therein. if you’re gonna be in Vancouver on September 19th, register to hear a sistah speak here!

most of you know that i’m a huge travel junkie, so being able to explore my own country as much as i’ve explored others is a huge opportunity, one that i couldn’t pass on. it takes a bigger woman than me to refuse such a generous offer.

i’ve travelled the european rail networks extensively, and i swear by them because they’re fast, they’re efficient, and they’re inexpensive. i’ve always been a critic of our canadian rail system, so this experience is the opportune time to prove me wrong.

time to whip out my backpack and load it up with travel essentials. tell me, what does one wear to a panel discussion? business casual? i have my pencil skirts and blouses buried somewhere.

more importantly, what does one wear on a train for three days? Via Rail has set me up in the swanky sleeper touring class cabin, where i will apparently get my own shower, and my meals prepared by a kickass chef. i get my own cabin as well, NO SHARESIES!

when i rode the rails in europe, I always had to settle for the 4 bed or 6 bed couchettes shared with complete strangers who snored, had screaming children, or yipped out the window at every train platform we crossed.

one time, when travelling for over 24 hours from lisbon to budapest (it’s a fricken lonnnnnng train ride, with stopovers in paris and vienna), there were no couchettes left, and i had to sit upright in a compartment with 4 others all night. it was THE WORST.

in india, you didn’t even get a separate compartment. you just slept right out in the open, no curtains, no privacy, and everything at risk of being stolen.

anyway, ADVENTURE TALLY HO!

see ya on the west coast, suckas.

*   *   *

speaking of Social Media and influence, I tweeted this on the 10th anniversary 9/11:

as you can see, it was RT’d by more than 100 people, which actually happens quite a lot on my end, but that number was probably increased when it was RT’d by my main man:

now i finally know what celebrity tweeters have to endure.  some people were INCENSED by those nine little words. amazing how one little pacifist sentiment can incite so much furor. some of the messages i received in response to that tweet were ripped right out of Team America, surely. most of them were xenophobic and racist comments directed toward arabs and muslims, i might add. twitter really is the only refuge for the scoundrels.

hey everybody! got an opinion? you should post it on twitter.

PEOPLE WILL SHIT THEMSELVES.

I worked at the CN Tower during 9/11. I quit shortly thereafter, as did everyone else. I don’t just mean employees, I also mean guests and customers. Towers became taboo.

“Hi Christine,

Let me introduce myself…i’ll go by the name stikki peaches…its my street artist name!
I was sent your link from a friend of mine which knows about my work, and i just wanted to say thanks for the appreciation, exposure and love for what i do, and what other artists do. I’m the ” What if Art ruled the World? ” guy. 🙂 
Unlike a lot of street artists…i like to raise a question, universally, and throw it out there, and its been quite funny, cool, interesting to see and hear what ppl think, either on the web ( blogs ) or with ppl i may meet when actually wheatpasting one of my stencils. I try to keep a really low profile, but sometimes where i chose to lay my art down, isn’t actually the most secluded places. I guess it makes it more exciting. Anyhow, again a big thank you, and if you’re ever in the St-Laurent area again, check out Bernard street, i got a couple of pieces put up around the alleys there too. Little Italy as well.
 A la prochain…Take care.
With luv…SP.
( This message may self destruct in 3….2…1…ok maybe it won’t but whatever…) “

i’ve been blogging about Deadboy‘s street art and graffiti for months and months now, and we talk often.

guess who i finally met?

YES YES YA’LL.

Deadboy had informed me a few weeks ago that he had been asked to participate in the street art showcase  which drops in toronto on september 24th, and the official media announcement was last week at City Hall, so i went to support the man in the mask.

 i actually didn’t realize he was the one in the mask until he waved at me and came over to say hi. seeing as how we’ve never met before, and i have no clue what he looks like, i just assumed he was someone else. as he got closer, i looked at his mask and was like WAAAAAIT A MINUTE, that’s the mask used in his street art!

anyway, we spoke for about an hour, and the press conference was actually super interesting. turns out the Street Art Showcase has received invitations from Bristol (banky’s hometown) and 5Pointz in Queens!

imma be out of town on the 24th (going to Peru!), but you should definitely check out the showcase. follow them on twitter for updates. support Deadboy, tell him Estima sent ya.

speaking of City Hall….

..and another one…

see what i did there?

lol.

interesting viewpoint.

do i think that graffiti and street art is vandalism?

the short answer to that is no.

the long answer is FUCK NO.

another brilliant and colourful Spud bomb, right across the street from MuchMusic.

CHRISSY MAD! CHRISSY SMASH!

i’ve not blogged about the Good Bike project lately, because there are just soooo many bikes to cover, and i see so many of them, i doubt i could ever photograph them all before they’re busted or ripped up. but this one on queen and spadina caught my eye because it had a name on it.

the Good Bike project ladies put Jane Jacob‘s name on another bike, so i’m wondering if Isabella Angel is an activist like Jacobs?

site specific work is the most ingenious work.

i love the idea that someone saw that sewer hole with the pylons and envisioned something else for it, something that is clever and provocative and colourful.

*   *   *

speaking of colourful, i was invited to the Diet Coke TIFF fest this year.

i went last year, and as you can see from my blog post at the time, it was a much smaller affair, just our little twitter crew. we all fit into 2 limos at the time. now the Toronto twitter crew has grown so much such that the attendance was easily over 500.

i didn’t bring my camera but raymi‘s photographer colleague made up for that.

there’s ameet off to the left. we met last year when he used to date a friend of mine, but we kind of run in the same circles, so we bump into each other from time to time.

this looks inappropriate.

raymi says she looks like sharon stone in this pic.

and i look like rachel weisz.

our movie would be box office poison.

my friend paul wrote a round-up of the night’s events for The Grid, and decided to link up one of my tweets about the night in the article (go to 10:30pm, and the hyperlinked “REALLY” in brackets at the end of the paragraph).

i stand by my love of veggie poutine, dammit.

and hey, i write for The Grid too, ya know.

Estelle was brilliant, and i managed to elbow my way to the front.

she’s so gorgeous.

and her shoes were fierce, miss thang.

reg and i were made into flipbooks. watch this video until the very end, where i vent my frustation in caption-form.

*   *  *


i meandered by a venue last night that i shouldn’t have. i saw the scooter and took off running.
go away. please go away.


have love, will travel; if you need loving, oh baby, i’ll travel

this is the first of many more TIFF film reviews to come. Sigh, bring on the festival clusterfuck! Every year I say I won’t do TIFF again, and every year I cave. I just love movies too much, and reviewing them! Being a freelance film critic always wins out over sense and reason. I’ve been covering TIFF for donkey’s years, but I’ve been a patron for a lot longer.

Actually, guess where I was the morning of September 11, 2001?

It was the really crap film Century Hotel, I only wanted to see it because I was a huge OLP fan at the time, and Raine Maida acted in the film (badly). The screening started at 8:45am. After the 90 minutes of pure oblivion, I walked out of the screening, which took place at the ROM, and called mum to say I was headed back to university for my classes.

She told me what had gone down.

I don’t think I understood the full gravity of the situation over the phone.

So I flippantly giggled.

And that’s all I want to say about that.


montreal graffitigasm time!

this was on boulevard st laurent, i think he’s holding a quill, but he’s wielding it like a weapon.

the pen is mightier than the sword, indeed.

this “world of shit” tag was everywhere.

this was off of avenue Duluth, and the following were a series of wheatpastes on the same wall. they blew me away.

the tag on them says “what if art ruled the world?” and  i found similar wheatpastes by the same artists all around the plateau.

i LOVE wheatpastes, i think they are the probably among the best kinds of street art you can do. stencils, and sculpture are also among that group.

when pigs fly!

these two colourful spraypaint murals were across the street from the wheatpastes.

i don’t remember my visual mythology well, but phil said this was Thor.

oh phil, thmile when you thay that.

ha!

hahahah!! for those of you who don’t speak french, this translates to ‘the duchess of my balls.”

now now, don’t get teste.

this was buried deep an alleyway that had zero illumination, so my flash was the only way i could make out the details.

i just liked the face with the hands. his arm is like a branch i’d like to swing on.

this was purposefully placed (probably by the owners of the house) on St.Denis.

i wonder if this guy actually climbed the street light?

phil and i found this while cycling along the canal off of vieux montreal. it’s like looking in a mirror, non?

she’s SO me.

i think the tag says “dayo” and i saw that tag a lot. anyone know who “dayo” is?

i was never a separatiste, but i appreciate the sentiment.

all of the abandoned buildings along the canal are perfect graffiti spots. as our bikes approached this building, i squealed and screeched to a halt on the grass, nearly knocking myself over.

close up! i’m assuming this was done by someone named ezar. i like the mathematical symbol before his name. i learned math in french, so that symbol will always mean “donc” to me. in english, i guess you could call it “therefore.”

donc ezar, this piece looks like a memorial to someone you loved. or someone you lost. or both.

either way, nicely done.

emotions are apathetic.

this was placed on Rue Jarry, on a wall that i think belonged to a dépanneur.

i’d like to think this is a comment on what you can find in a dep.

this was in the mile end area, and i got really excited, because i’ve seen this work in toronto before!

here it is again!!

le snob. le sigh. le tired. le mew. le meow.

i think this wheatpaste is by the same “what if art ruled the world?” wheatpaster guy. it’s the same theme and style.

awww, raccoon looks snuggley. i like how this piece has the painted frame. like it’s gallery work but buried in an alley next to a construction site.

curb your enthusi-gasm.

here he is again, the “what if art ruled the world?” guy.

this “teenage hookers” was spraypainted on the sidewalk in mile end, not far from casa del popolo

we went to the Belmont, and they projected this onto the wall.

i love the word ‘scrotum.’ it’s hard to weave that word into everyday sentences. it should be a ubiquitous word, like fuck or shit.

this was in an alleyway near sherbrooke and de maisonneuve. the fleur-de-lis on the corners of the portrait make me think this dude was a quebecois political figure.

same alley.

now for some street culture in between the street art! we went to mont royal for the Tam Tams! it’s a drumming circle, similar to the one held at trinity bellwoods, except this seems to be a festival where vendours can sell things as well.

i’ve always wanted to play a djembe, but who can afford them?

i’m sorry, but i am an extremely talented photographer.

case in point!

ps, krista, that girl looks like you!

the whole weekend, i kept repeating the same dyslexic-freudian-slip in my mind:

“i freak spench and english!”

also just like in trinity bellwoods, there are tightrope walkers at the Tam Tams. this one guy was so talented, he went there and back without falling, even though it was super windy.

omfguy. i don’t know whether to sleep with him, or stuff him into a bong and smoke him.

moment of clarity, scene of beauty, mind of chrome, skin translucent.

back to graffiti!

it’s also a long way down.

you just love me for my money. ADMIT IT.

clearly commissioned, but beautiful nonetheless

for what? zee germans?

“drunk asshole construction” was actually tagged all over the plateau. either someone isn’t happy with all of the development in the area, or that’s actually his name.

i don’t know who these two guys are, but i love this stencil. it’s full of heart. stencils are great, because they force you to pay attention to the negative space, and they take a lot of prep work:) this was in an alley off of avenue Duluth, right before it pissed with rain.

woah, hello.

i don’t understand the message, but the visuals are incredible.

have Spud, will travel.

fromage.

this piece was brilliant. it’s carefully drawn, almost like dot-matrix design, then cut into stickers, and carefully placed.

it’s the kind of scene you’d find on a church window mosaic. absolutely genius.

massive wheatpaste on the Studio de la SOCIETE CANADIENNE D’OPERETTE building on rue st. denis.

this building is famous for having other wheatpastes put in this spot.

spot a familiar image?

this was written on a church that was under construction. it translates to “a house of slaves, at least.” although, you could translate it to also say “a house of lesser slaves.

someone has gone over the original tag to make it say, ‘une maisoner de se espérée en moins.” which kind of makes sense, and translates to “a home to hope less for oneself.

when it comes to religious institutions, i am forced to agree.

stop procrastinating!

i have so many TIFF film reviews to write (and more to see!), but instead, i’m making googley eyes at you.

priorities: check.

ps: i’m fucking endearing in this video.