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City of Montréal drops charges against graffiti artist... and then hires him
July 3, 2008 12:34 PM   Subscribe

Montreal Graffiti/Street artist Roadsworth, who was arrested in 2005 and faced up to 250 000$ in fines, is back on the streets, this time with a permit and a commission. Interestingly, the title of the new piece (which stretches across multiple intersections on downtown Sainte-Catherine street) is "Défense d'Afficher", which means "No Postering". It seems as though he's commenting on the role of art and advertisement in public space, but maybe that's just my take. Thoughts? For a more in-depth discussion, read the Torontoist's article on graffiti), and for more examples, check out Vandalist, the same blog's photostream of T.O. street art, Streetsy, a great photoblog showing off various street art from around the world, and, of course, Flickr's STREETART pool.
posted by rssaddict (20 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
Quick aside: this is my first post, so any feedback would be appreciated! Thanks.
posted by rssaddict at 12:43 PM on July 3, 2008


Don't tell people it's your first post.

Also, great post. [Wassup KOPS/NME crews, Montreal!]
posted by humannaire at 12:45 PM on July 3, 2008


[One gripe. We know what grafitti is. The last link is kind of generic. Grumble grumble.</small]
posted by humannaire at 12:55 PM on July 3, 2008


I'm always torn, is it "street art" or "street vandalism"... I guess it all comes down to the question of having permission to alter someone's property.
posted by HuronBob at 1:15 PM on July 3, 2008


I see only two questions : How good are you? Does your art speak to everyone or just some ghetto subculture? In this case, the art is quite good and fairly universal.
posted by jeffburdges at 1:47 PM on July 3, 2008


Well, he's better than Banksy. (But then so is poking yourself in the eye with a stick.)
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 2:32 PM on July 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


First graffiti is vandalism, second it's art (sometimes).
posted by Daddy-O at 3:00 PM on July 3, 2008


Art Vandal, eh?
posted by dirigibleman at 3:08 PM on July 3, 2008


I'm still waiting for MySpace to kill grafffiti. (checks watch)
posted by longsleeves at 3:25 PM on July 3, 2008


It takes a special kind of arrogance and authoritarianism to decide that what you think of as your "art "will be on other people's property and the community's public spaces whether they like it or not.
posted by signal at 5:01 PM on July 3, 2008


pet peeve- the dollar sign goes before the number
posted by bhnyc at 5:45 PM on July 3, 2008


bhnyc said: "pet peeve- the dollar sign goes before the number"

bhnyc, not in Quebec.
posted by loiseau at 6:48 PM on July 3, 2008


signal said: "It takes a special kind of arrogance and authoritarianism to decide that what you think of as your "art "will be on other people's property and the community's public spaces whether they like it or not."

Oddly, most public space advocates appreciate well-crafted graffiti.

Corporations illegally using public space as free advertisement, now that's something worth getting upset about. And it's ridiculously common.
posted by loiseau at 6:52 PM on July 3, 2008


Oddly, most public space advocates appreciate well-crafted graffiti.

That's probably the weakest appeal to authority I've read this year.
posted by signal at 7:05 PM on July 3, 2008


I gotta admit I don't even understand what you just said or if I should be offended. Shrug.

I'm always a little surprised by how knee-jerk anti-graffiti Metafilter tends to be. It's interesting.
posted by loiseau at 7:52 PM on July 3, 2008


Spelling it out for you: you make no actual argument, just say "these people agree with me" (that's the appeal to authority part), and the people who apparently agree with you are 'most public space advocates' (that's the weak part).
posted by signal at 8:17 PM on July 3, 2008


bhnyc said: "pet peeve- the dollar sign goes before the number"

bhnyc, not in Quebec.


Ehhh, I live in Quebec and we do our dollar signs in front. You might have taken the amount from a French publication though, and they do things their own way. I note though that none of your links mention the amount and you have a French name, so I'll assume you got it from a French source, with French notation, and didn't link it because most Mefites couldn't read it?
posted by Billegible at 8:33 PM on July 3, 2008


Billegible, so do I. I find it's done both ways but frequently after the number. YMMV. I'd grant that anglos do it the American way more often.
posted by loiseau at 9:38 PM on July 3, 2008


Billegible: sorry about the confusion for the amount, it's mentioned in the 4th link, the Gazette article. Somehow I had failed to notice that it wasn't mentioned in the Mirror article I linked to first. My bad.

signal said: It takes a special kind of arrogance and authoritarianism to decide that what you think of as your "art "will be on other people's property and the community's public spaces whether they like it or not.

Arrogance yes, authoritarianism no. The mere concept of free use of public space, in my view, runs contrary to authoritarianism. And as for arrogance, I would tend to argue that all artists require at least a little arrogance to believe that anyone actually wants to hear/read/see what they have to offer.

I realize it's a sticky moral question, but I think the city's adopting an interesting approach here by taking a more moderate approach than the usual confrontational one.

What got me thinking about this whole thing in the first place was seeing the piece while walking downtown and really enjoying it. I don't remember ever walking down a street in my city before and saying to myself: "My, the sidewalks sure are beautiful today", and I'd love to live in a city where this kind of thing happened more often.
posted by rssaddict at 10:43 PM on July 3, 2008


It takes a special kind of arrogance and authoritarianism to decide that what your company thinks of as its "marketing agenda" will be omnipresent and inescapable in every community's public spaces whether they like it or not.
posted by churl at 1:46 AM on July 4, 2008


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