Archive for June, 2010


Cirque Turcot

It’s forty-two years old, and no one really seems to know what to do with the Turcot Interchange.

When it was first unveiled in time for Expo ’67 (a time period which was marked by a flurry of megaprojects under the stead of Mayor Jean Drapeau that also included the Montreal subway and Ville-Marie Expressway) it was a towering marvel of modernist efficiency. It still is the largest highway interchange in Quebec. It handles more than 30 per cent of Quebec’s total truck traffic.

Now it’s crumbling, and the city, province and community groups are fighting over what to do next. The City of Montreal proposed a 10-year, 5-billion dollar plan which, in typical Montreal megaproject form, envisions a three-level Colosseum-like concrete megastructure taking its place.

The Quebec Transport Authority promptly rejected this plan and came up with a proposal to bring the expressway down onto embankments, a development which will require the expropriation and demolition of some 130 homes and which will create a new barrier cutting through the neighbourhood of St. Henri. This plan will also increase the highway’s carrying capacity by more than 10 per cent. This move has been resoundingly panned by environmental groups arguing that we should be trying to have less, not more, cars on the road.

A coalition of environmental and community groups, engineers and planners has put forth a third proposal, which calls for the preservation and maintenance of the beleaguered interchange and the gradual reduction of its carrying capacity. Public transit services are proposed as a means of taking up the excess slack. As it stands, the recession has placed a damper on this hot-button issue, and City politicians seem to be doing as much as they can to keep the issue under wraps. To make things more interesting, the head of Projet Montreal might be involved in keeping Turcot deliberations a secret.

This is an issue that needs to be brought back into the public eye.
That’s why I came up with a series of Turcot-themed posters. I give you the first in a list of alternate proposals. The magnificent “Cirque Turcot”, which promises to pay for itself in popcorn sales by 2044…

And to my readers…please make use of the fundraising widget on the right side of the page. It’s free to use and raises money for To Write Love On Her Arms, which is a great cause.


New Posterchild stencil, “Harper’s Army”

New piece by Toronto’s Posterchild, fresh for the G-20 summit where Toronto’s 41 and 42 Division were given the chance to run amok. Huge props to Posterchild. This is gorgeous.

And if you haven’t seen this yet, watch it. TOPD overreacts to peaceful protesters singing our national anthem


An ongoing update…

It has been a while, hasn’t it? First of all, some new stuff is coming. I have been rather sick these past two weeks and am only now starting to recover.

Secondly, “The Art of Swap” is heading into final editing. I’m tweaking some written sections to include more references for interested readers to check out, playing around with cover designs and finishing up the swapbox blueprints.

As for Ottawa, a number of interesting things have happened since I was last there. Alas, I am much too busy working on a plan to go to Burning Man to write a long, drawn-out update about them…but that is coming at some point…

EDIT: Montreal art show and sale this Canada Day (aka the real Fete Nationale) 10-4 PM, St. Philip’s Church grounds (corner of Sherbrooke and Connaught Streets), Montreal QC. Come one, come all! Over 50 artists and artisans, including MaksWerks!


New Stuff from Ottawa

’cause anyone can throw sneakers up over a phone line. This one’s part experiment, part tribute to ABOVE and his arrows. Maybe next time I should follow the Elmaks crescent-moon up with a whole solar system.


On the BP oil spill…

A number of things have been making me more angry and frustrated over the past few weeks, and chief among them is the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The stories of deliberate neglect and corporate pursuits of any and all loopholes in order to reduce liability and circumvent the need to install important, blowout-preventing equipment have already hit the news over and over again. I’ve got a personal connection to this tragedy and it hurts me to see some places I love so much destroyed by waves of thick, toxic oil. I’ve been to Venice, Louisiana and gone swimming in the Gulf of Mexico. I’ve planted marsh grasses in Lake Pontchartrain and gone canoeing in the wetland bayous. I had wanted, after graduating, to work for a summer on a Louisiana shrimping boat…a dream which seems to be ruined right about now.

After reading how much BP was spending on PR firms, I felt I had to do a little something for the activist effort down in the Gulf South…

Flickr link for all sizes

I made this image in about 30 minutes with Photoshop and Illustrator (much of which was spent creating different image layers and using Free Transform to pull apart different layers of the logo so as to optimize it for stencil making), and I’m making it available for any and all non-commercial activist work. Use it as you like, folks.


Princess Hijab

A friend of mine recently introduced me to a Paris street artist who goes by the name of Princess Hijab.
Princess Hijab’s style involves editing ads by painting hijabs and chadors on female and male figures…

…which she says is done as a cheeky attack on a pervasive, hypersexed consumerism through the use of symbols that are, particularly in France, being seen as anti-Western and anti-French. It’s the covering up of one ostensibly sexist image with a depiction of an article of clothing that’s seen by many Westerners as sexist and controlling.

She’s managed to offend quite a few Muslims and French nationalists so far, which to me is a sign that she’s pulling off some provocative and interesting street art.