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