The streets of Mural City on Saint-Laurent Boulevard in Montreal offer an absolute treasure trove of murals lining the walls of every intersection. Montreal street murals have made the area one of the most vibrant artistic attractions in the world. Artists from around the globe have created various large scale masterpieces on the buildings surrounding the city. Montreal's stellar street art began in 1996 with the Under Pressure annual graffiti festival, which takes over Quartier Latin every summer and encourages artists to express themselves with large-scale art pieces. The festival focuses on community development, artist empowerment, and the positive development of young individuals. It brings together audiences with live painting workshops, skateboarding, and music.
In 2012, Montreal introduced the MURAL Festival with a goal of democratizing urban art. MURAL has grown into a remarkable worldwide festival of art that attracts millions of individuals every year. Portfolios of numerous foreign artists cover the central strip of Saint-Laurent Boulevard.The street has become a gathering spot for creative minds and represents the festive and imaginative soul of a thriving cultural scene. The festival allows visitors to see the captivating art of their favorite artists alongside live music, food truck gatherings and street fun.
The streets of Montreal are representative of a living museum. Saint-Laurent Boulevard, the focal point of the MURAL festival every year, has become a open-air art gallery that can be visited all year round. Urban art across the city also brings attention to unconventional styles of art. Graffiti art, often concealed away in dark corners and isolated alleyways, takes center stage at Montreal’s Saint-Laurent Boulevard as a genuine form of expression. From abstract to animated pieces, the murals are as vivid and dynamic as their color pallets.
This first piece was funded as part of the 2018 Montreal Cultural Growth Deal between the City of Montreal and the Ministry of Culture and Communications. The collaboration between artists Tremblay and Poni creates a dreamlike universe in which they tell tales of inner gardens, memories, poetry and simplicity.
During the 2018 MURAL Festival, Spanish artist Demsky painted this spectacular optical illusion piece that embodies the essence of arcade games and sci-fi films. He paints a world in which time is seen unfolding, generating loops of code and fractured doors to other dimensions. Demsky’s work establishes a new link between art and the intertwined relationship between time and space, concentrating on glitches and animating static compositions.
This vibrant piece by Montreal artist Five Eight is defined by light. The black line contrasts with bright colours, providing a deceptively lit appearance. The neon glow of the word “Free” almost seems life-like, providing a source of illumination of the surrounding environment and subject matter.
The playful palette and funky style of this entrancing piece by Monosourcil is hard to look away from. Monosourcil displays her vision of the individual in Western culture through a collection of caricatures. Either as a collective or separately, she gives birth to working characters that appear to be significantly different, miserable, and sporting a single eyebrow. They are often depicted as stiff businessmen, monsters, or robots.
One of the most stunning works of art in Montreal is the Quai des Arts wall piece decorated by En Masse. This all black-and-white work from 2011 still looks new and features the works of 10 local artists. En Masse creates bold works of public art that highlight the importance of collaborative imagination and the development of strong communities through effective communication. Their work raises awareness through an incarnated learning environment, inspiring conversation and creative insights by extending beyond the boundaries of art galleries and museums. Their street art creates growing awareness for the artistic force and ideas that underpin their work.
Montreal is an artist’s paradise. With murals and graffiti in every corner of the city, it is a unique and vibrant hub that promotes the spread of urban art. With this development, Montreal has become a hotspot for street art in North America, allowing visitors to admire innovative murals while also showcasing the talent of the artists and collectives behind them. Tourists are left astounded by the elegance and precision in every piece of art that embellishes the incredible city.