A story about street spaces and paint, lots of paint, and one artist with a passion to end the road dominance of the car.
In Montreal, a local artist named Peter Gibson has been transforming the city’s summer streets and signs with his love of stencils since 2001. After three years of artistic interventions without municipal consent, Gibson was left with 53 counts of mischief and potentially $100,000 in fines.
Peter Gibson, also known as as “Roadsworth” had a large gaggle of followers who campaigned to reduce the penalties for his illegal paint activity on city streets to a few community service hours. As one of Montreal’s city planners stated, this was the first time that citizens actually stood up and insisted that a public artist be supported and that the public art should stay. Even better, the community hours that Gibson was required to do were spent painting murals like these. Montrealers loved it. An urban legend was born.
Roadsworth divides his work into three categories-ground, wall, and street. This artist is a musician by day, and a true street artist by night. With Montreal winters, the salt and sand erase the work within four or five winters. But that just creates new opportunities to create art, whimsy and delight within the established parameters of the sidewalk, cross walk, and city street.
Alan Koh has created a documentary called “Roadsworth: Crossing the Line“. Roadsworth is now in demand around the world to paint in public places, and is currently in Minneapolis as an artist in residence with the Big Car Collective. He was also part of the 2016 Mural Festival occurring last week in Montreal.