Remember when Bansky pulled that art-stunt of vending his iconic prints for a day in Central Park, New York and made $420? One woman even talked down the price to two for $60.
Forget Banksy. For $125, you can own a screen print by an international street artist. For $6,000, you can have a Station 16 artist come to your house (or business) and paint a mural. Score!
Montreal’s street art gallery and print shop Station 16 is in the midst of a Kickstarter campaign entitled A Global Street Art Story that aims to raise $20,000 to allow 16 artists from around the world to create 16 silkscreen prints in 16 months.
Gallery co-directors Emily Robertson and Adam Vieira want to give exposure to artists from less conventional places. “We’ve been working for the last two years to promote local street art and bringing in artists from New York and London,” Robertson says. “But we also think it’s our responsibility to educate people with what’s happening in world. Showing only London, New York, and Montreal is showing the trendy side of street art. The reasons for doing it here are different from Morocco where street art is done for political reasons.”
The artists chosen would come from outside North America. “We want to get people talking about street art as a global movement,” says Robertson. She confirmed that the first artist to sign on (not officially, though, and pending funding) is Barcelona artist el Pez.
Robertson talks about how street art has a different aesthetic around the world. “In Morocco, calligraphy is more popular. In Montreal there is more figurative work. It’s interesting to see how different countries address political issues and use street art as propaganda. We sort of attempt to do that in Montreal, but the issues just aren’t the same here as they are around the world.” She notes that artists in different countries favor different palettes and have different aesthetics. She mentions that they have been in talks with artists from Brazil and New Zealand, though nothing is official yet.
One thing Robertson points out is that even though street art is regarded as illegal almost universally, the consequences for making it vary as well. “Here, if you get caught, the cops tell you off, fine you, or you go to jail for a few days. In other countries, the penalty can be death. The jail system is different in other countries too. In every country it takes huge amounts of guts to create art for the people, on your own time, and assume huge amounts of risk.”
Not every piece is political, of course. “Pez is the first and he’s not political. He’s extremely fun,” she says.
Station 16 has been in the international public eye before — mainly for a robbery of over $50,000 in art that took place in early November. “Everyone around the world was talking about it,” says Robertson. The Kickstarter campaign will hopefully achieve the same kind of attention. “We’re really hoping this project has the same impact,” Robertson says.
This campaign has attracted worldwide sponsorship. The aforementioned pledge gift of $125 for a silkscreen print sold out once and is being re-offered in two ways: a choice of 1 of 3 prints, or a print chosen in random. And keep in mind, quite a few people have pledged this sum without knowing who any of the 16 artists are. “It shows people trust the quality of the work we produce,” says Robertson. “There’s a lot of trust form our regular clientele and fans. They know they’ll be satisfied with the products they are receiving.”
Of all the pledge gifts, though, Robertson thinks the mural is the real win. “It’s an amazing opportunity,” she says.
Station 16’s Kickstarter campaign, A Global Street Art Story, can be reached here and ends on December 27th.