Thursday, July 7, 2011
a1one in Montreal
Since moving to Ontario from Vancouver last fall, the jermalism street art campaign has seen an extended hiatus. Honestly, I feel as though I said what I had to say on the walls of Vancouver, got it off my chest in the most therapeutic way imaginable. Publicly and anonymously, I passed the burden onto the viewer, to the people of Vancouver, and then I left it there. Street art literally saved my life, that's why i ink it to my skin. I do have a couple pots simmering on the stove, cooking up some fresh street art ideas, but to speak on a project before bringing it to fruition diminishes it substantially, as I've said before.
Since October, all of that same time and energy I put into owning Vancouver with words, has been spent searching out, exploring and documenting abandoned buildings in Ontario and Quebec. Hospitals, churches, schools, factories, hotels, houses, a massive greenhouse, a nazi P.O.W. camp and an insane asylum, just too name a few. Places that are long forgotten, silent and free of the hustle and bustle that once was. Sometimes left to vandals and thieves, or reclaimed by nature's wrath with water and mould. It is in these moments, in these places, that I am content. I am beyond passionate about this project, and ninja IX and I are happier than ever living life on the road, exploring. Please check out my ABANDONMENT ISSUES blog and read up on some of these amazing places.
That said, I had a hankering to put something up. With no inspiration flowing through me, i reached out yet again to my friend a1one in Tehran, Iran, and asked him to send me another package. a1one is the undisputed king of Middle East graffiti culture and has been a personal inspiration to me for years. His artwork is so very rich in culture and style, with his characters often beaming with bright colours and intricate line work based on ancient Middle Eastern pattern and motifs. His work has been political when it has needed to be and he has been one of the strongest voices emerging from Iran during the most recent uprising.
I should add that out of respect for the urban exploration community, I have vowed to change my ways and not get up inside abandoned buildings unless they are already established graffiti spots, so as not to cause any detriment to the site from an exploration perspective. I would ask other graffers and street artists to respect the clean abandoned spots as well, so that we may enjoy them. But with that said, I am not a judge or jury, just a friend with a request. This location under the freeway in the south of Montreal is a classic graf spot, and was the perfect place to add a splash of colour, ninja IX and I, a1one in Montreal.
This canvas was a gift that accompanied the package, it is a1one's depiction of a classic scene, ''jerm IX chugging a bottle of Jamaican Rum'. Framed by my father in law Daniel N, it hangs above our bed and glows in the dark.
This was not the first collaboration with a1one, and will surely not be the last either. I am constantly inspired by this man. Here are some of his pieces that I put up in Vancouver as well as the tattoos that he designed for me.
Up next, a1one in Toronto. Peace be with you brother.