When I was planning my trip to Montreal last week I was disappointed to realize that I would be missing the Montreal Mural Festival by only two days. I would have loved to attend and watched the artists in action around the city. But, as soon as I noticed that there were mural walking tours available after the festival (and throughout the year), I booked one right away.
After meeting my guides at the corner of St. Laurent and Mont Royal, we set off back down St. Laurent. The tour took us down main roads, side streets and back alleys. We saw small pieces, enormous building-sized visuals and countless incredible works of art.
Not only did I get to see and learn about a lot of Montreal’s best street art, but it was simply a good way to see the city itself. I’ve been to Montreal a few times, but have never gotten to know the city really well. It was a nice way to explore a new part of the city.
By the end of the tour, I felt like I had learned a lot about each artist, and even became a fan of some new ones.
Here are my favourite works from the Montreal Mural Tour:
The largest and possibly most vividly bold piece from the festival, by Kashink. Kashink draws her inspiration from her numerous travels around the world. Her explosive style gives life to bug hairy, colourful characters that would be considered unattractive to the majority, male stereotypes of villains, gangsters and improbable ogres–or jolly orange tennis players. There was something about this wide open space and the colourful cones and stripes of the parking lot that made it one of my favourites to photograph ::)
I have been a fan of ROA ever since I first saw one of his incredible pieces in Sydney, Australia. I’ve seen several around the world since, and just can’t get enough. I absolutely love his style and way of spray painting each stark black line over a clean white base. These enormous pieces must be so time-consuming, but are totally worth it in my opinion. ROA uses minimal amounts of colour in his work, and only to make a strong point or to draw the viewer into one spot (often red blood and coloured eyes). ROA is probably my favourite muralist/street artist in the world.
Pixel Pancho is an italian street artist from Turin, who specializes in combining tech with nature, emphasizing on a possible future where nature takes back over.
Kevin Ledo’s portrait of a woman from the Hupa Tribe in Northern Calofornia. The work is done with spray paint and gold leaf on metal siding, which greatly impressed the Montreal art community. This was also one of my favourites.
Member of the Polish duo Etam Cru, Betz creates soft murals, using a dark purple as the deepest shading tone. Bezt is a very humble artist, not wanting to boast about his work and calls himself more of a really good illustrator than an artist. He doesn’t give descriptions of his work, he just wants people to appreciate it.
Troy Lovegates may be better known by the name “Other.” Troy often photograph people as he travels and turns them into art. In this image, a homeless man in Ottawa asked Troy for a ride to Montreal, Troy said “no, but I’ll take your face”, and painted the same face on both men.
This artist’s name is Zoltan. Yes, Zoltan.
A work still in progress mere hours before Puerto Rican artist Alexis Diaz’s flight out of Montreal. With each line intricately painted in stroke by stroke and a pastel gradient underneath of phantasmagorical and ultra-detailed animals, this was probably my favourite piece from the entire tour. Influenced by the surrealist movement, Alexis imagines a World where animals mix with humans. Sounds like a good world to me.
Since 1996, street artist Stare has been making his mark on Montreal’s cityscape. From tags to major murals, this versatile artist has successfully emblazoned himself on many of the surfaces around town.
Portuguese bull fighting. Bryan Beyung is a muralist who lives and works in Montreal. Influenced by graffiti, he creates unstructured and dynamic compositions; the concept of freedom of expression meets precision with his technique.
Zema is a multi-disciplinary artist from Quebec and defines her style as “pop-surrealist, low-brow-trash-cartoon”. Zema has been in the graffiti scene for 15 years, has been part of many art shows and is now a tattoo artist at Tatouage Royal.
. No friends ;]
Have you ever been on a street art tour?