Montreal has shown up again on our radar this summer because of the second annual MURAL festival, a large gathering of art fans, performances and live painting. The quality of the work is high and appropriately placed center stage, and the caliber of the event draws a good cross section of modern public art fans who are there to see the art and meet the artists rather than rush past it on the way to the next music performance, beer tent, or drug deal.
A majority of the 20+ artists made their mark initially by doing graffiti/street art, about a third of them are Canadian, and all of them were stunted by heavy rains the first two days of the four-day event. By the weekend the sun had cleared the way for block parties, DJs, live painting, tours, and commercial vending along the Saint-Laurent and the golden age of murals was in full effect once again.
Impossible to place into one stylistic category, many of the massive pieces this year are singular portraits, or at least figurative, appealing on the whole, and with a handful of abstract and surreal tableaus. Transgressive themes, as in many street festivals around the world, are almost disappeared or nearly imperceptible -- an irony of sorts considering the rebellious street culture that many of these artists evolved from. Ultimately, it is the quality of the endowment that gives it staying power and many of these new pieces will endure into the future in Montreal.
Artists for the MURAL festival include: 123 Klan, Bezt from the Etam Cru, Zilon, Alex Scaner, Inti, Vilx, Cyrcle, Zema, Alex Diaz, Seth, Fred Caron, 2501, Zoltan, Kashink, Kevin Ledo, Bryan Beyung, Miss Me, Stikki Peaches, Mathieu Connery, Alex Produkt, and Le Diamantaire.
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