Muralfest: Fun Even for Gangster Grandmas

people using street art to make light Iregular. Interactive Street Art. Photo Rachel Levine

From roosters to gangster grandmas, the art at mural fest is vibrant and a perfect addition to the liveliness of summer in Montreal. Starting at the corner of St Laurent and Sherbrooke St W, Mural Fest takes place from June 6th to 16th and is the perfect way to explore the Plateau and Mile End of Montreal.

large rooster mural
Birdo mural. Photo Londynn Ostroff

Exiting the St Laurent metro station to an abnormally chilly but delightful day, my friends and I, excited to explore our city, take an unexpected but highly recommended detour to Chinatown (a left on St Laurent) instead of towards Mural Fest (a right on St Laurent). Although not anticipated, this minor detour allows us to pick up some snacks at Patisserie Harmonie that fuels our journey back towards Sherbrooke and allows us to see a couple of extra murals, most notably the May an Old Song Open a New World artwork painted by Gene Pendon and Bryan Beyung greeting visitors as they enter the gates of Chinatown. With a red bean filled bun in hand we make our way up to the entrance of the festival.

dog made of discarded Bixi bike parts
Bixi Junko Street Art. Photo Londynn Ostroff

Greeted by a blow up pineapple, an empty stage, and an interactive sound screen, honestly I don’t know what to expect. Upon further discovery and reading, the interactive sound screen titled Fortunes is part of a five part interactive circuit with stations throughout the street. The artist “Iregular,” a digital art studio, created the interactive standing screens that sense the people in front of them and reflect their movements. The concept is based on the idea of luck, each exploring a different facet of it.  The sounds emitted are what I would describe as spooky techno waves, but my friends on the other hand find them to be kind of comforting. Definitely an interesting idea and I can imagine fun for children to discover.

Grandma mural on building
Graffiti Granny (A’Shop Mural). Photo Londynn Ostroff

Mid-day on a Monday, while not being the most ideal time to get a full feeling for the festival, is optimal for getting ample time and space to look at the murals and the multiple booths that line the street. Some of my personal favourites are the BIXI sculpture, Looking Back a mural by D*Face, the large rooster painted by Birdo (aka Jerry Rug), Sorry is Not Enough by the artist Denial, and the updated graffitiing grandma mural (vaguely reminiscent of Gru’s mother from Despicable Me). I also get to see some artists mid-paint job, a nice reminder that people’s hard work and artistic eyes are behind these murals that we often pass.            

man painting
People making street art. Photo Londynn Ostroff

Overall, I highly suggest visiting Mural Fest as it is a perfect way to explore the vibrant Plateau and Mile End areas and discover new artwork and artists.

Mural festival continues through June 16th with block parties on the 14th-16th for people 18 and over featuring musical acts by HOMEBY6, Rick Ross, and Bonne Famille. For details on the festival and the murals, click HERE.