Mc Baldassari Interview!

 

How did you first find out about Under Pressure? Did you start off as a spectator or an artist?

I had heard about it before here and there, but the first time I knew exactly what it was was last summer when I participated.

 

What are your comments and thoughts about Under Pressure’s role in the last 19 years in growing the public’s acceptance and knowledge on street art?

I know it’s been an event for a longtime  in Montreal. I saw a poster of it when it that dated back to the 90s and I think it’s great that it lasted so long and that it’s kept going strong regardless of other new events like it, like Murale.

MC

Other than Under Pressure, have you done work on the streets?

Not alot, I started doing arts 4 years ago, studying in industrial unitl 2010. I really started doing art in 2010, and I wasn’t a resident of Canada back then, so I didnt want to get arrested by police or anything. So I hadnt done any street art, but it’s always on my mind.

 

You have also exhibited at the festival’s Fresh Paint gallery. How does your art and approach differ from the gallery to the festival?

I think it’s funny because Fresh Paint was a mix of 2 universes: street art and a regular canvas exhibition. The exhibition I had at the gallery was a pretty big murale for me also compared to my usual canvases, so it was almost the same thing as doing it on the street. You have to think of doing those murales as a whole; it’s not just putting a canvas on the wall, you are creating a universe where people can come inside and explore.

 

What effect has the gallery and the festival had on your career as an artist, professionally and personally? Has it helped you grow in any way?

Yes of course, that was the biggest wall I had ever done, so it was a pretty big thing for me. I don’t think a lot of artists have an installation like that; a whole wall and canvases they could also put up. So it’s great for my experience and portfolio. This also gave me a lot of feedback from people who saw my work at Fresh Paint, and it really gave me good visibility. Thank you to Fresh Paint and Adrien and everyone!

Interview: ARLY

The eighteenth edition of the Under Pressure festival was a success.  We met with some of the artists who participated in the previous editions and talked to them  about Under Pressure and the importance of the festival in their opinion and how it has influenced or helped their careers.

La dix-huitième édition du festival Under Pressure était un succès! On est parti à la rencontre d’artistes ayant déjà collaborés avec Under Pressure, afin qu’ils nous donnent leur point de vue sur le festival, et l’influence qu’il a eu dans leurs carrières.

 

Under Pressure: Can you tell us about your experience with the Under Pressure Festival (as an artist or spectator).
ARLY: I first attended the festival in 2001 as a spectator before I was drawing or painting.  Seven years later I attended as an artist for the first time.  I had applied to Under Pressure to paint with very limited skills and was granted that opportunity.  Years later, as my skills developed, Under Pressure would provide me with more opportunities to display my work to a growing audience.

UP:This year marks the 18th edition of UNDER PRESSURE, what are your impressions and comments on the last 18 years? Do you think Under Pressure has played a role in the acceptance and education of urban culture in Montreal and its evolution?
ARLY: Under Pressure definitely plays a roll in public education.  For the most part I think people are interested and want to be educated and under Pressure provides an outlet where the public can peer into an otherwise obscure and secretive culture.  Acceptance only goes so far, however.  Although Under Pressure teaches about all aspects of graffiti culture, the festival itself only showcases the more artistic colourful side that people can easily understand.  Because what’s the harm in young people expressing themselves through colour if it’s sanctioned by the property owners and the city?  And people are eager to show their support because it makes them seem more tolerant of this graffiti when arguing against the illegal side.  True acceptance will come when people realise that all the “beautiful” graffiti they want to show support for only exists because “scribbles” and “bubble-letters” exist, and that every graffiti artist who’s work made them say “wow” also does or used to do what they condemn for being vandalism.  True acceptance will come when the public recognizes important and influential graffiti artists and gives all their illegal work the same treatment as a certain stencil artist over in Britain.

UP:At a time where there is a clear commercialization of urban art, graffiti and street art, Under Pressure has maintained and stood the test of time while catering to a larger public and helping build a constant following. What do you think the secret is in the longevity of Under Pressure?
ARLY:Under Pressure had already established roots in Montreal before the art form really exploded into pop-culture.   It had already built a foundation in a time when there was a larger quality-per-capita ratio for artists in the city.  As the quantity of artists grew through the generations, more and more young people wanted to be part of the heritage of our city’s graff scene.  The festival has provided artists with wall surfaces in highly visible, frequently trafficked areas, and lots of public attention.  Something every graffiti artist wants, and there are always new graffiti artists each year.

UP: You have also participate Under Pressure’s FRESH PAINT Gallery project and have exhibited there, has your approach for the gallery been different from your approach to the festival?
ARLY: My approach to the Fresh Paint gallery was more reflective of my work as a portrait artist and muralist.  The Under Pressure Festival has always been a great platform for exhibiting styles within the genre of graffiti art, and Fresh Paint Gallery provides me with an outlet to exhibit styles in other genres.

UP: What consequences / influences / effects has the festival and the gallery had on your career and your perception of urban culture, street art and graffiti as an artist?
ARLY: In recent years, Under Pressure has provided me with many opportunities to exhibit my work and has promoted and supported me as a local artist.  The work I have produced for UP helped strengthen my portfolio and continues to attract business.  It has been very enlightening to meet other artist and discover their work.  Under Pressure has facilitated the emergence of young artists that would have otherwise never been discovered.

 

Under Pressure: Peux-tu nous parler de ton rôle au sein du festival.
ARLY:J’ai participé au festival pour la première en 2001, en tant que spectateur avant même de dessiner ou peindre. Sept ans plus tard, fut ma première participation en tant qu’artiste. Malgré mes pauvres compétences en peinture j’ai sauté sur l’opportunité et ai envoyé un formulaire d’application à Under Pressure. Des années plus tard, mes compétences s’étant améliorées, Under Pressure me permet de faire connaitre mon travail à un plus large public.

UP: Cette année marque la 18ème édition d’Under Pressure, quel est ton regard sur ces 18 dernières années. Penses-tu qu’Under Pressure ai joué un rôle dans la réception de la culture urbaine à Montréal et dans son évolution?
ARLY: Under Pressure joue définitivement un rôle dans l’éducation du public. Pour la plus part, je pense que les gens sont intéressés et veulent en apprendre d’avantage. Under Pressure fournit matière  pour que le public découvre une culture obscure et secrète. L’acceptation va plus loin. Bien qu’Under Pressure éduque sur tous les aspects du graffiti, le festival en lui même, montre seulement le coté coloré que les gens peuvent facilement comprendre. Parce que qu’est-ce qu’il y a de mal à ce que des jeunes s’expriment à travers la couleur si ce n’est être sanctionnés par les propriétaires et la ville? Et les gens sont enthousiastes à montrer leur support parce qu’ils passent pour plus tolérant envers le graffiti qu’en argumentant contre le coté illégal de la chose. La vraie acceptation viendra quand les gens réaliseront que tout les “beaux” graffitis qu’ils veulent voir et soutenir existent grâce aux “gribouillages” et aux “lettres ballons”. Tous les artistes graffeurs veulent quq le public qui dit “wow” pour certaines de leurs oeuvres le dise aussi pour ce qu’il condamne et considère comme vandalisme à l’habitude. La vraie acceptation viendra quand le public reconnaitra l’importance et l’influence des graffeurs  et qu’il donnera à leur travail illégal le même traitement qu’il donne à certain artiste-pochoiriste en Angleterre.

UP: A l’heure où il y a une certaine commercialisation de l’art urbain, Under Pressure prone un accès pour tous à la culture urbaine. Penses-tu que ce soit le secret de sa longévité ?
ARLY: Under Pressure a déjà établit les racines de l’art urbain à Montréal avant qu’il ai gagné la culture populaire. Il avait déjà construit toute une fondation à une époque où la porportion d’artistes de qualité par capitale était plus élevée. Comme le nombre d’artistes augmente à travers les générations, de plus en plus de jeunes veulent faire partis de l’héritage de la scène graff de notre ville. Le festival a apporté aux artistes une plus grande visibilité  dans des espaces de la ville avec beaucoup de passage et il y a tous les ans des nouveaux artistes graffeurs.

UP: Tu as aussi travaillé pour Fresh Paint, approches-tu ton travail différemment selon qu’il soit destiné au festival ou à la galerie ?
ARLY: Mon approche pour la galerie Fresh Paint était plus réfléchie que mon travail de portraitiste ou de muraliste. Le festival a toujours été une superbe platforme pour exposer différents style de graffitis, la galerie m’a fourni les outils pour produire dans un autre style.

UP: Quelle conséquence/influence a eu ta participation au festival sur ta carrière et sur ta perception de la culture urbaine ?
ARLY: Ces dernières années, Under Pressure m’a donné l’opportunité à plusieurs reprises de montrer mon travail, m’a encouragé et supporté en tant qu’artiste local. Le travail que j’ai produit pour Under Pressure a aidé à consolidé mon portfolio et continue d’attirer le business. Ca a été très instructif de rencontrer d’autres artistes et de découvrir leur travail. Under Pressure a facilité l’émergence de jeunes artises qui, sans cela, n’aurai jamais été découvert.

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