What is the idea behind this piece? What does it represent?The idea was to step out of our comfort zone and show the public what graffiti artists can be capable of. There is an amazing amount of quality work being produced within Montreal’s graffiti scene. Unfortunately, bad press and political strategies often only show the “negative” side of it, creating unneeded friction between citizens and our culture. Graffiti as a form of visual language can be hard to comprehend for most. We thought it would be interesting to paint this mural in a more common language, using imagery that anyone can understand, initiating dialogue and building bridges. For this, we chose to inspire ourselves from Alphonse Mucha, father of Art Nouveau (1860-1939), a style of art that most people know or have seen before. Of course, we gave it our own flavor and used N.D.G as the main theme. The end product being our take on “La Notre-Dame-de-Grâce” or "Our Lady of Grace.”
How did you decide on the "Lady of Grace" subject?
“Our Lady of Grace” English for “Notre-Dame-de-Grâce” (N.D.G) is the name of a residential neighborhood of Montreal located in the city's west-end, where the mural was painted. We decided to bring this fictional character to life so that this borough could have an iconic symbol of its own.
How much work went into prepping for this mural?
We spent a few weeks figuring out the concept, planning the layout , collecting sponsors and gathering references that represent the neighborhood.
How did you get permission from the city to do this?
Through Help from the City of Montreal and the borough, Prevention N.D.G. - a local not-for-profit that works with the community - the city came up with a budget that was meant to be used in the context of beautifying an area and, though that can be done in many ways, we decided to propose this mural as a means to bringing some color to a gray part of town. After many months of negotiation and preparation, we finally got the ok on our project and got to work.
How do you think the mural turned out? Were you all happy with it?
We’re all very happy with the end result. The crazy part is that we’re more motivated now than ever and realize that this is only the tip of the iceberg for what we have planned for future projects.
Have you participated in any similar projects in Montreal or elsewhere?
We have been painting murals for a long time and most of them for free. Nowadays, we generally get commissioned by the commercial and private sectors. We’ve done similar projects in Europe and in different parts of Canada but this is the first time that we’ve had the opportunity to work on a community project in our own city that allowed us full control over our creation.
Do you think the city should finance more projects like the one in N.D.G? Why?
Absolutely, because it’s a gain for everyone. What better way to regain dead space.
Although graffiti communities are close knit and we often share similar values, the reasons why we do graffiti in the first place are not always the same. Some want their name out there and have little need for the artistic side of it. For others, there is a creative process. If we don’t acknowledge it and support it, we are preventing these people form potentially doing great things as artists.