the other week, i was walking around downtown with a couple friends, when my friend started going off about how he hates street art and graffiti. my jaw hit the floor. i thought street art was one of those things that everyone – at least all young people – loves. like daft punk. or beer. i asked him why, and he careened off a list of (stupid) reasons, the most prominent one being banksy. just “banksy,” no explanation. and i mean, i understand. banksy has reached that cult status so much so that he shouldn’t even be considered “cult” anymore – he’s basically the urban outfitters of the graffiti world. don’t get me wrong. i’m one of those people that’s like “i loved banksy before everyone else loved banksy” (but i actually did love banksy before everyone else loved banksy) (seriously), and for me, it’s not about how popular he is, but about how much his art speaks to me. for me, street art will always be about giving soul to an urban landscape, sending a message, and using the streets as a canvas for something beautiful, thoughtful, funny, or poignant. how could anyone possibly find something to hate in all that. i was convinced he just didn’t know enough about montreal street art, and that if he did, he would love it.
one of the best things about living in montreal – i think – is watching the city come alive during the summer. it overflows with art, music, colours, spirit, dancing, singing, painting, loving. it’s (obviously) my favourite time of year to be a montrealer. next time you’re walking the streets of montreal, keep an eye out for these amazing artists, because their work definitely deserves a double take. here are ten montreal street artists you should know.