I recently read a quote from you within a Street Art book that “RoadsWorth, Inspired by political beliefs to create art in the space beneath out feet”. Would i be able to ask what these political beliefs are, and how they relate towards some of your best pieces?
I wouldn’t say I was motivated by any particular ideology but rather a common sense reaction to conditions present in my own environment. It seems clear to me when I look at most cities and given my basic understanding of geopolitics and environmental science that the lifestyle we are leading as a whole is unsustainable and generally unsound. Global warming, wars waged over diminishing oil resources, a widening gap between rich an poor and over-consumption in general are some of the factors that aggravate already strained relationships between populations. It seems obvious to me that anyone with common sense would want to mitigate the effects of these factors if peace and general well-being are truly the objectives of a responsible society. Such statements could be construed as revealing of anti-capitalist sentiment but I would argue that it is more common sense than ideological affiliation that determines my outlook. Yes there are aspects of the status quo that I object to and it so happens that the status quo in the world and North America in particular is based on capitalist notions. While I am not one to renounce a system wholesale I do feel that there are harmful fundamentalist attitudes that apply just as much to political systems such as capitalism as they do to religion for example. While some acts of rebellion call for a complete reversal of a given system my brand of rebellion is less “revolutionary” in the sense that it advocates a mitigation rather than a renunciation of the status quo. Sometimes I fear that if certain conditions are left unchecked then a revolution will in fact be necessary and the pendulum will have to swing abruptly to the other side which historically has always resulted in suffering and hardship. In other words if the world were human then I would say that its health is seriously compromised and that it should start eating better and exercising rather than waiting until it requires aggressive and invasive surgery.
Having said this, when I started doing street art I didn’t think of what I was doing as art at all but rather a form of activism. My target for criticism was “car culture” in general which to me epitomizes some of the attitudes and issues raised above. I started by making bike paths around the city because for me the bicycle is not only my primary mode of transportation but also a symbol of a healthier and more human approach to city living. With time my preoccupations became more aesthetic and varied politically, poetically and symbolically.
also i am going to include (with your approval) the images Dandelions and Footprint within my paper, and i am mainly interested in any background information you could give me, such as how they were thought of in the first place, what the process of getting it down was etc, anything you could tell me would be helpful.
The Dandelions I did in a parking lot with the approval of the owners so I wouldn’t call it “street art” in the pure sense of the word although perhaps I falsely represented it on my website. There is no deep meaning behind it other than the notion that nature has somehow reclaimed space that is designated to cars and human industry in general. It was also an opportunity to explore the idea of representing movement with static imagery. The dandelion seeds flying away in the wind is also meant to suggest that perhaps other parking lots will be taken over by this weed, by nature.
The footprint was done illegally and took a long time to execute because I had to be very patient as it was in a very exposed location and I had to wait for traffic to subside long enough to lay down each section. I like this piece a lot because it can be read on a political or not so political level and it was accomplished by making relatively few alterations to the existing cross-walk.
my final question is that i read that you were arrested for producing your fabulous pieces; how was it that you were released? who fought on your behalf? what truce was made between Montreal’s city council and yourself?
I was lucky to have a local gallery owner by the name of Chris Hand come to my rescue in the sense that he started a bit of a “save roadsworth” campaign on his blog which was quite popular at the time and he put me in contact with a great lawyer who specializes in “civil rights” cases and who offered me his services more or less pro bono. I also had the fortune of having the local media more or less on my side which I think had a huge impact on the eventual outcome. While in the beginning I had 83 counts of mischief brought against me (eventually boiled down to 51) and threatened with potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines and jail time, I ended up paying about $300 and doing 40 hours of community service. I was on probation for a couple of years but now have no criminal record.
if i could also ask, what would be your favorite piece of roadsworth street art grafitti that you have completed yourself and why?
really hard to answer that question but I like the footprint a lot for reasons expressed above.