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Elusive Montreal graffiti artist Stare blasts the walls of Yves Laroche with «Star d’un soir»

Since 1996, graffiti artist Stare has been making his mark on Montreal’s cityscape. From tags to throwies to major murals, this versatile artist has successfully emblazoned himself on many of the surfaces around town. To spread the wealth, Stare has also taken his paint pens on the road, leaving his personal brand on numerous cities around the world. Having participated in exhibitions both local and international, Stare is about to present his first solo show, Star d’un soir, at Galerie d’art Yves Laroche.

A hard cat to pin down for a chat (these graf artists are so elusive!), NIGHTLIFE.CA spoke instead with associate partner and gallery curatorial director Louis-Nicholas Coupal to get the skinny on all things Stare, stars, and soirs.


How did this exhibit come about? Why did Yves Laroche choose to feature Stare’s work now?
The Star d'un soir exhibition originated with Stare himself, as he had been working on his unbelievable Polaroid-esque series of canvases since late 2011. This new body of work was ready to be unveiled and he has chosen our venue and team to showcase it. I've personally been a fan of his work for over a decade.

What makes him stand out from other graffiti artists?
What stands out in his work is how it’s amazingly soulful, yet intricate, meticulously crafted and technical. His experience with the medium, his honest and personal subject matters, the flow and balance of his typography and style just blow me away. He is a very deep, real and impressive artist.

Stare is a big time muralist, and does brilliant letter work on concrete and urban spaces. How does that translate into a gallery space? What will his gallery work consist of?
His indoor work is very relevant with his public work, as this Polaroid series beautifully depicts his street work that once was but is now washed away. Stare’s gallery work tends to give a new existence to some of his public work now physically gone.

Stare is also a co-founder of Montreal’s legendary NME crew. Can you tell me a little bit about NME, and why they’re so important to the scene?
The NME crew is a group of influential style writers. Although their core is definitely from Montreal, some of their members have come from France and the United States. Their public work is very powerful and appears very tight and organized (color coordination, balance, preparation). They have had a strong impact on our city, notably in the early 2000’s.

Where would Montrealers see Stare’s work in the city? Why are the works so important to Montreal’s urban landscape?
Stare's work is omnipresent in Montreal: tracksides, private commissions, high visibility downtown joints. I believe they are a very important part of our cityscape because his approach and the techniques he uses offer a neatly executed critique on corporate advertising, which floods our purview daily.

So really, what’s the deal with Stare and the fly-by-night store signs on derelict shops?
His sign work says that style sometimes is the only product. Style is substance. To set up intricate and beautiful store signs on abandoned property says a lot about his take on our era and our city. There is an absurdity to it. But it is so beautifully executed and thought out. It’s powerful, confrontational, and definitely evocative for those who see it.

Star d’un soir (showing jointly with Saturation 2013)
From April 10 to 26
Yves Laroche Galerie d'Art | 6355 Saint-Laurent | yveslaroche.com