Montreal’s infamous street art has become a core part of its culture and identity.
A painting on the side of a flower box is one of the many displays of creativity found in Montreal’s Gay Village. Located on the corner of Rue Amherst and Ste. Catherine Street, the ghostly and haunting quality of the characters’ faces draw in passing pedestrians.
The painting was created by artist Aleksandra Panic during Amherst en Arts, an event where local artists gathered along Amherst street to display and sell their work. A number of artists, including Panic, painted the sides of the flower boxes located along Amherst Street. According to Panic’s website, her paintings distinct characteristics include the “folkish elements and primitive shapes” along with the “dramatic contrast between primitive, generalized body and detailed face.”
The primitive ghost-like beings, contrasted with the bright red and orange background, make for a piece that is open to many forms of interpretation. The characters’ faces bring to mind old renaissance books of saints and demons, or of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tales. The different textures and shapes of the characters create a deeper and more three dimensional effect. The brush strokes along the edges of the characters’ hair make it appear wispy and tangible. There is almost no shading or shadows except on the two characters’ faces, which gives them a mysterious aura. However, the bright background makes the characters appear less sinister and perhaps even hopeful. The red and orange gives a warmth to the whole painting and contrasts with the facial features. The dichotomy of the mural makes me want to know more about the characters depicted, to observe, talk and reflect about scene. Like most paintings, it sparks a conversation and a discussion about my interpretation. Luckily, such art is publicly available in many places across the city, having gained in popularity with addition of the art fairs taking place in various Montreal boroughs, like the Gay Village. All you need to do is pay attention.
Check out more of the painted flower boxes along Amherst Street this fall. To see more of Aleksandra Panic’s work look on her website, or on her Facebook page called: aleksandrapanicartist. You can find some more of her street art at Plaza St Hubert.