I’m a huge fan of street art and graffiti until a tagger decides that the white walls of my building are fair game to practice his craft. It’s not like you’re Banksy, cowboy. Anyhow, I’m fairly certain that many feel similarly. When it’s on some other wall, it’s somewhere between tolerable and a Michelangelo ceiling. When it’s on my wall, 10,000 hours of community service scrubbing that shit off. To be fair, graffiti artists, like skateboarders, claim that a lack of legal space drives them to “get creative” (read: get creative on my building).
This is why events like Under Pressure deserve support and attention. The street art festival allows this vibrant and talented group of individuals the chance to showcase their work in a legal way without pissing anyone off. The art produced will be of the highest quality; Montreal is recognized worldwide for its international graffiti and wall mural talent. If you want to see a few well known artists, as well as the shy ones you may have never seen before, this a chance to see their work. The festival takes place along the stretch of St. Catherine near Foufones, Cabaret Underworld, and the Fresh Paint gallery (221 St. Catherine E). A walk along the street and its surrounding alleyways gives access to a number of the murals in production. In addition, many things associated with graffiti culture are incorporated: music, dance, and skateboarding.
Things already started earlier this week, so we’ll just recap the weekend program.
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The painting begins today with each artist and crew assigned a wall space on which to work. Keep an eye out for some familiar names: En Masse, Chris Dyer, Antoine Tavaglione, Roadsworth, Labrona, Nixon, Laurence Vallieres, Produkt, Isaac Holland, and Garbage Beauty. You’ve seen their work around the city. Trust me.
Inside, the Fresh Paint gallery hosts a musical and art extravaganza with the High on Beats team during Art Attack 5. Expect both DJs and artists to represent. The artists featured are the Freshbrainz crew, Nixon, Miss Wüna, Lilyluciole, SCRIBE CSX, Arnold, SJ VRiend, Loopkin, and Graffiti Lachine. High on Beats provides the music. Also, there is an international paper toys exhibit with LSNR, Isaac Holland, Gribouilliz, Osmose, MC Baldassari, and Aude Guivarch. Fresh Paint Gallery (221 St. Catherine E) 6 p.m. $5.
Graffiti culture goes hand in hand with breakdancing. For those who want to make the journey up to Jean-Talon, the Up Yours Dance battle started on August 6, but continues today with a Jam session of 1 vs 1 in Popping, Locking, and Bboying. Espace 215 (215 Jean Talon W). 7 p.m. – 10 p.m. $15.
Music and art together on the street. Imagine that. The music on Saturday includes DJs Overflow, Lexis, Manifest, Nitrous, R-Cola, Generic, Dave Dialect, Melodrastik, and Spacekadet. Check out the murals in their many stages of production too including work by GUstav Balderdash, Gene Pendon, Martin Lachapelle, K6A, Hoarkor, Monstr, Mr DuPonT,Miss Me, and Adida Fallen Angel.
Highlight of the music program for the night should be Heavy Pressure at Cabaret Underworld with Trash Family, Mr. Nokturn, and more. Cabaret Underworld (1403 St Elisabeth). $5.
For the Up Yours Dance battle, the jam session of 1 vs 1 in hip hop and 2 vs 2 in Bboying. Espace 215 (215 Jean Talon W). 7 p.m. – 10 p.m. $10.
In addition, skateboarding now makes its appearance in the Rumble for Fame. This competition has a pretty substantial cash prize.
More music and hopefully the murals will be coming together at this point. For DJs, check out DJ Class, Vilify, The Shah, Manzo, Fuhious, Mana, Redd Dredd, Wreck, Goontribe, Goldenchild, and many others.
One cool thing about Under Pressure is the number of women who are participating in the art component. Usually women are somewhat less visible in the community, but the event seems to be friendly. Keep an eye out for Tiffany Moore, Carolina Espinosa, Marie Maude Polychuk, Delphine Delas, Louisa Donnelly, LIly Luciole, Jennifer Hamilton, Alysha Farling, and Bianca Hlywa.
The big event of the night is the arrival of Afrika Bambaataa, creator of the Universal Zulu Nation (a political and socially aware group of rappers, dancers, and artists). Bambaataa defined and shaped breakbeat music with his pioneering electro-hip hop. Foufounes Electriques (87 St Catherine E). 9 p.m. – 2 a.m. Free.
For the Up Yours Dance battle, it’s time for the finals. There are 1 vs 1 competitions in Popping, Locking, and Hip Hop. No need to go up to Jean Talon for this one. Keeping it real, a parking lot is the studio today. Judges are QueRoc, Benzo, and Toby. DJs Mars, Benito Turntable, and Victorious provide the beats. Under Pressure Parking Lot (St. Catherine and Hotel de Ville) 12:30 p.m. – 3 p.m.
The finals for the skateboarding Rumble for Fame take place this day too.