This page is usually full of my ruminations on movies and occasionally the odd drawing or two, but I went to Montreal last weekend and found some unlikely inspiration there.
If you didn’t know that I’m a fan of graffiti and street art, well you just learned another thing about me. If you’ve seen my drawing style, it’s really not a huge surprise.
I get it. Sometimes it can devolve into an eyesore, yeah. (Who are you, Rudy Giuliani?) But when done well, graffiti is at the very least a record of human existence in often bleak cityscapes, and at its very best, it’s energetic and colorful and more aggressively expressive than the kind of art which is usually constrained to galleries.
What I found interesting about Montreal is the way the graffiti sprouted out of more innocuous settings. At home in New York, graffiti has struggled to escape the association with urban decay. Montreal, however, is like a cross between an American college town and a European city. There seem to be dire stretches, as with any populated city, but a lot of Montreal to my eyes was straight-up beautiful, pastoral and ingratiating.
As I rode into town by bus, I first started to notice the graffiti in Montreal. I started snapping pictures of it, just because I was snapping pictures of literally everything. But as I started to really walk around and experience the city, I noticed graffiti in places where there was no reason to be, and some places where I can’t imagine how or why it was even put there. And there were also plenty of pieces in obvious places that I photographed just because they were cool or weird or both. The more I looked around, the more distinct and demonstrative the graffiti seemed to become.
So it’s different than what I usually do here, but here’s a photo-essay of my graffiti tour of Montreal. It’s in chronological order, so it gets progressively more interesting as it goes on. Hang in with it!