This Saturday and Sunday will be the 20th anniversary of Montreal’s most authentic graffiti festival, Under Pressure. Since its legally-ambiguous inception in 1996, the festival has been home to both local and international artists, ranging everywhere from Australia to Switzerland. It’s also where DJ A-Trak got his start, at 14 years old.
Over the past 20 years, the festival has been largely (and loosely) run by Sterling Downey (alias Seaz), a native to the graffiti scene and the city council member responsible for legalizing skateboarding on bike paths in Montreal. The festival is essentially a giant block party highlighting graffiti culture. Events around the city start on Wednesday, August 5th, but the real festival kicks off on Saturday in the parking lot at 179 St. Catherine Street, where there will be graffiti, emcees, DJs, dance battles, skating boarding, and much more. So in anticipation of what is bound to be a crazy weekend for artists and civilians alike, here’s 10 of the raddest pieces of graffiti and street art in the plateau!
1. These two tags can be found at the corner of Drolet and Mont-Royal. Looks like Mickey was quite the troublemaker in his younger days.
2. Located on the side of a dépanneur at the corner of Marie-Anne and Berri, these tags really bring some eye candy to the dep’s otherwise drab décor.
3. These three pieces, decorating the side of a building on Drolet Street, halfway between Marie-Anne and Mont-Royal, show off a colorful mastery of three different approaches to tagging.
4. You’ll find these five beauties in an empty parking lot on the corner of Mont-Royal and Coloniale. Just down the street at the corner of Henri-Julien was the site of the first Under Pressure festival in 1996.
5. This is perhaps one of the few times I’ve been happy to meet a shady stranger in a dark alleyway.
6. This vibrant tag can be found at the corner of Clark and Marie-Anne. Looks like homeboy here is a little tired of the hot weather lately.
7. In yet another alleyway towards the North border of The Plateau you can find this detailed tag prompting you to “drop your skillz.”It looks like this wall has seen more than its fair share of “skillz”over the years.
8. Right off of St. Laurent you can find this electrifying piece that skillfully works tags into a mural.
9. It may be a little unconventional for graffiti, but this old dépanneur is becoming something of a local icon for the artistic spirit in The Plateau.
10. This gentle giant looms in the shadow of Provigo right off of Mont-Royal and Clark. It may be more mural than graffiti, but the sheer size and skill that it must have took earned it a spot on this list.
If you know of or are the artist responsible for one of these pieces, don’t hesitate to let us know so we can give credit where it’s due.