The 19th edition of the international graffiti convention Under Pressure is upon us! It is the largest and longest running festival of its kind in North America.
Started by Montreal graffiti artists to show the positive side of street art, it is an event for the community and by the community. Everyone involved in making it happen volunteers and most of them have been involved since the early years.
This year, as always, the Under Pressure team has put together an amazing program. Here is a preview of what is coming up through the week:
The festival opens Wednesday August 6th with the 22nd edition of Beaux Dégâts at Foufounes Électriques. $5 entry will allow you to see six teams paint live for two hours with music from High on Beats. Plus you will get to vote for your favorite team with your empty can of beer.
On Thursday August 7th, the Fresh Paint Gallery (221 Ste-Catherine E.) will host their seventh Off The Record Conference. This time, guests will speak of Hip Hop and Education. It sarts at 6pm and entry is $2.
Friday night, the Fresh Paint Gallery will host the 5th edition of Art Attack where artists Otek, Lapin, Mad Dog, Sime and Asur will be painting one of the walls to the sounds of live music from the High on Beats team.
Then, over the weekend, you can witness local and international artists fill up the walls along Ste-Catherine between St-Dominique and St-Elisabeth. The street will be shut and a stage installed in the parking lot next to De Bullion. There will be live music both days from noon onwards. Also on the agenda are a skateboarding competition with $1000 cash prize and Bboy and Bgirl competiton.
At night, you can keep the party going with the Heavy Pressure evening at Cabaret Underworld on Saturday night for $5 and, to close up the festival on Sunday, DJ Afrika Bambaataa will perform live at Foufounes Électriques for free.
Many things happened in the Montreal arts scene in 2013 and Forget The Box was there! Let’s take a look at some of the highlights:
Early February, Cabaret 87 at Sala Rossa celebrated the 25th anniversary of AIDS Community Care Montreal. It was a very successful evening hosted by Antonio Bavaro and Ryan Ghinds with performances by artist Danny Gaudreault and friends.
March brought us the 20th edition of the Edgy Women Festival, a celebration of feminist art. This year featured events at a gym, on an ice rink and finished up with Edgy Lucha, a sexy boxing evening covered by Keltie.
Summer came around and so did full coverage of the 10th edition of the Montreal Infringement Festival featuring a multitude of awesome events including a haunted mountain walking tour that Bianca reported on and plenty of music goodness and stage performances which Jason (also a performer this year) covered.
It also brought the Fringe Festival. Jerry, Chris and Stephanie checked out quite a few events this year including the Hopegrown Productions debut at the festival, Jon Bennett’s Fire in the Meth Lab was also a must and Jerry checked out Peter ‘n Chris exploring their bodies in an improv comedy which almost gave him a spleen injury due to so much laughter. Also Forget The Box teamed up with Yelp for their annual party Yelp Helps during the fest.
Then it was time for Zoofest! Jason and Chris went down to Café Cléopâtre to check out an unforgettable Burlesque show with the Bad Ladies and Detective while Jon Bennett’s show Pretending things are a Cock gave Bianca a new understanding of dick jokes.
The summer also gave us Fantasia and Just For Laughs and many more music-specific events that Bianca will cover in our Year-In-Review music.
In early fall, Stephanie reported on Ain’t Misbehavin’, a great production at the Sadie. Later, in November, Jordan checked out Pure, an incredible dance performance by Charles Koroneho from New Zealand at MAI.
Meanwhile, Halloween was definitely sexy this year thanks to Tales from the Crotch, a burlesque play produced in 24 hours, another awesome project by Glam Cam production with the participation of our awesome Jessica!
A different type of event happened at Café Zosha early this year. Music for 12 Domestic Lamps was an interesting installation and performance using lamps and sounds reviewed by the lovely Naakita! She also went to discover the new exhibit at the DHC Art Foundation where artist Thomas Demand filled up the gallery with an installation of animations and photographs.
Taymaz shared his thoughts with us on photography as well as the art of love for Valentine’s day. He also reviewed The See by Jessica McCormack, a beautiful book with great artwork and covered Chinese art and it’s importance in today’s art world.
March brought us Nuit Blanche which is always packed with interesting things to do. Naakita took a look at what was happening in the streets while Stephanie reported on her night at the museums.
Summer came around and brought us a new festival, Mural, a celebration of street art. Local and foreign artists covered a few walls along the Main and its neighboring streets during the St-Laurent Street Festival.
Meanwhile, the original graffiti festival Under Pressure had it’s 18th edition in August. This self-funded event run by an amazing team of volunteers is still going strong. The Fresh Paint Gallery, run by the same team, moved to its new location and still showcases great work by many different artists.
A new festival started this year, the Pitch Fest, a celebration of the soccer culture, it happeneed just a few weeks ago. Luminotherapy, the light festival is on until next year so make sure to check out the awesome installations all over the Quartier des Spectacle area.
Looking forward to what 2014 has to bring us, be ready for some more awesome coverage of everything that matters on Forget The Box.
Following my latest article on volunteering, I must now write about my favorite volunteer experience so far which is at the Fresh Paint Gallery!
The Fresh Paint Gallery is an alternative and self-financed project managed by the Under Pressure festival’s team of volunteers. The first gallery opened up in 2011 and was located in an old building on Ste-Catherine which used to host French newspaper La Patrie. The gallery was open in that location for quite a few months, getting as much as 3000 visitors monthly. The gallery is now upstairs at 221 Ste-Catherine E. at the corner of Ste-Elisabeth!
What is this gallery, you wonder? The purpose is to fill in empty spaces along Ste-Catherine and give a chance to artists from Montreal and beyond to fill it up with their art. From the moment you walk up the stairs, you are welcomed by art by Adida Fallen Angel on one side and by Delphine Delas on the other side. The art changes regularly in a very organic fashion as in it will not necessarily change all at once but one room or one wall at a time. It makes it well worth checking out regularly. You might even witness artists in the middle of taking down or putting up some art. The challenge for the artists is really to use the space fully, not just hang a painting on the wall. Most of the exhibits are inspired by graffiti and the street art movement.
The gallery runs by donation, there is a minimum $2 per person required. If you give $5, you will get a CD or a magazine and by giving $10, you will get a poster. There’s also a shop where you can get some prints. Also available is awesome Montreal streetwear with merchandise from the Under Pressure Festival as well as from Artcore.
The gallery also hosts conferences on a regular basis. The first one happened during the Under Pressure festival and was about women in Hip Hop culture. The next conference is this Friday, October 18th at 6 p.m. featuring artists such as Emmanuel Laflamme and Shawn Davis, who will discuss learning art in the streets versus art school education. More info here.
Another upcoming event at Fresh Paint Gallery is Beaux Dégâts, an art mashup evening. It started at the old location but is now hosted by Foufounes Electriques due to lack of space at the new location.
Six teams of two to five artists have two hours to paint a canvas after being given a theme and some restrictions. At the end, the public votes by putting their empty beer can in a garbage in front of their favorite piece. The winning team gets to destroy the others’ work! Wednesday, October 23rd will be the 13th edition. Don’t worry if you can’t make it this time, the next one will be Wednesday, November 27th. The event starts at 7 p.m. and there is a $5 entrance fee.
Go check out the gallery whenever you have some free time for some awesome art! If you are interested in volunteering, check out the recruitment page on their website and get in touch with the team or just come say hi!
Fresh Paint Gallery is open from Wednesday to Sunday, 12 p.m. to 9 p.m.
The Under Pressure international graffiti festival was on last weekend along Ste-Catherine between St-Laurent and Hotel-de-ville and what a great event it was! For its 18th edition, mother nature backed up the festival with beautiful weather, which was enjoyed by everyone.
Sterling Downey, the founder of the festival, told me during a phone interview that they estimate about 20 000 people were at the festival over the weekend. Downey said that the greatest thing about the festival is how organically everything goes each year thanks to the many dedicated volunteers and great coordinators. The greatest accomplishment for him is how they have managed to keep the festival small, as in it’s accessible to the community, not pretentious or driven by economic reasons but purely fun! The artists feel like it’s their festival and they own it.
Many walls were painted by about 80 artists or writers from all over the world. Downey mentioned that there were artists from all over Canada, the States, South America, Germany, France. The festival doesn’t pay for anyone to come so it all depends on the artists budget and if they can make it to Montreal! All the artists are on the same level when they participate to the festival.
Most of the side streets on the North side of Ste-Catherine were painted as well as the building of La Cremiere which got taken over by Mr Clean! The walls behind Foufounes Electroniques are now all covered with new work. It’s very nice to be able to walk around and watch artists paint live in front of you, makes the whole art more approachable in a way and less underground.
As Montreal artist FLN (Futur Lasor Now) told me “The festival is a very important festival for the community. It gets people who only have a negative view of graffiti to see a whole bunch of different sides of it and it also brings everyone together which is also good.” FLN had a blast participating for the first time at the Under Pressure Festival, you can see his work just off Ste-Catherine on De Bullion street. Walking around the city you might have seen his many very original stickers! Check out his facebook page.
A skate ramp was installed outside of Foufounes Electriques on the Saturday and there was a skating competition on the Sunday with a cash prize of $1000 for the best trick!
There was live music all weekend with many different DJs playing great beats. Sunday afternoon was the Up Yours! Crew Battle BBoying with some amazing bboys and bgirls, the moves done by some were so impressive, it must have been quite hard to judge and choose the best. The crowd was huge with most of the people sitting down to be able to watch the action in front of the stage.
The Fresh Paint Gallery at 221 Ste Catherine E was also a great place to visit over the weekend. It moved recently from it’s first location a bit West on Ste-Catherine. the 1st gallery was around for 16 months. The idea behind the gallery is to keep it constantly moving, ephemeral, which reminds you of graffiti. it is an alternative self-financed project managed by Under Pressure festival’s team of amazing volunteers! The artwork changes about every 6 weeks to two months. The exhibition that is on at the moment is about language, it’s called Alpha-Bête Can’t we all just get ensemble, it offers art from many different artists such as Lapin, Carolina Espinosa, Eric Clement, Isaac Holland and many more. The entrance to the gallery is by donation and is definitely worth checking out! The gallery is open from Wednesday to Sunday from noon until 9pm. There is also a lot of artwork for sale at very affordable prices!
All and all a great success yet again for Under Pressure, if you missed it this year, make sure to join the festivities for the 19th edition next year and in the meantime get your dose of graffiti by walking around the area and checking out the Fresh Paint Gallery!
The 18th edition of the Under Pressure Graffiti Festival is about to take place over the weekend. After a bit of a scare that the city wouldn’t support the Festival with the usual street closure, it seems that all is now ready to go!
The Festival started in 1995 as an inside event called Aerosol Funk and was founded by Sterling Downey. 18 years later it is the biggest and longest running graffiti Festival in North America, now that is quite impressive! Go Montreal!
The fun has already started. Six teams of artists competed against each other last night at Foufs.
Tonight, there will be a talk about women and hip hop at 630pm at the Fresh Paint Gallery, a pop up gallery located at 221 Ste Catherine E that also plays host to Friday night’s opening party. Entrance for both events is by donation.
During the weekend, the main action will be along Ste-Catherine E. between St-Dominique and Hotel-de-Ville. Live music will be happening from noon both days, with quite a few sets happening through the day all the way up til 7pm on Saturday and 8pm on Sunday.
Want to party a little, make sure to pop in the Cabaret UnderWorld on Saturday night from 9pm onwards for a minimal $5 entry. Of course, there will be an official after party at Foufs on Sunday night.
There will also be a breakdance competition happening Sunday afternoon from 3 to 5, which should be quite impressive!