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Young Artist of the Week: Kevin McDermott, the DIY stencil guy

Despite having first tested the waters of visual art at 28, self-taught artist Kevin McDermott has already made a big splash in Montreal’s local scene just a few years later. Working primarily in photo-based stencil work and embodying a streetwise, DIY graffiti style all his own, McDermott’s work  takes on notions of mass production and pop culture imagery. His pieces are one of a kind and, with more interest in the process than the finished product, he disposes of his handmade stencils immediately after use. With a mantra that “art is not about the artist,” and a blog by the same name, McDermott’s growing body of work reflects on the collective significance of images both known and novel, sombre and amusing.

Sub V gallery will showcase a series of McDermott’s most recent work, accompanied at a March 4th opening party by beats from the likes of locals KenLo Craqnuques, Maxime Robin and V-Looper, as well as a raffle of one of McDermott’s original works –appropriately, a portrait of rapper Atmosphere.

I asked McDermott some questions about life, art and Montreal. Here’s what he had to say:


My favourite object:
3-way tie: Snowboard – Long board - Bicycle

My Current obsession:
President’s choice.

My favourite place:
I haven’t found it yet… so in the meantime: Top of Mont-Royal [or other mountain], with snow-skate and/or my dog Umaa, lost in the white noise of a blizzard, where I can’t hear people complain about the weather.

Can everyone make art?
Yes. And also No.

Best movie no one’s ever heard of:
Old Boy.

The commercial art world: necessary evil or source of validation and inspiration?
It’s easy to hate commercial art from the outside. I’ve found it’s even easier to not pay attention to it at all.

Most overrated artist:
I plead the fifth.

Most underrated artist:
Etienne Martin [find him on the google].

One day with a historical figure: who do you choose and what do you do?
Charles Bukowski: Spend the day at the horses sitting a few rows up from him.

Can art go too far?
No. But the interpretation of art can.

Best place to see art in Montreal:
Right in front of you.

My strength:
Is constantly being put to the test.

My weakness:
I’m a really, really nice guy.

The starving artist syndrome: self-imposed cliché or economic reality?
I just quit my part-time job a few weeks ago… Ask me again in 6 months.

Best new trend in art:
I-Phone Hipstamatic App… NOT! Real answer is DIY.

(My) life is:
Not going according to plan.

Art is:
Not about the artist.

Words to live by:
[insert sneaker ad quote here]


Beats & Cuts
Vernissage & Beat Session – Friday March 4 / 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Show until March 31
Sub V | 5666, Sherbrooke W.
Follow Kevin McDermott on Twitter: @KevinMxDermott