Under Pressure festival 2017

The 22nd annual Under Pressure festival took place last weekend along Montreal’s Saint-Catherine street. The event drew an awe struck public, many of whom are new to the world of graffiti, break dancing and hip hop.

Under Pressure
Under Pressure / Photo by Kieron Yates

Each year, this gathering of spray can artists comes together to rejuvenate the artwork sprayed and rolled along the brick work of the cityscape that surrounds the famous Foufounes Electrique bar.

Perhaps its the smell of the paint. Maybe the live break-dancing. Or the thumping beat of the live DJs. The sense of culture and belonging. Whatever the case, the Under Pressure festival is a draw each and every summer.

The festival opens on a bit of a downer. Last years work is blotted out. Painted over in black. Thus creating a fresh canvas, ripe for new new ideas and paint work.

Once the primer is dried, the artists arrive armed with paint of every color. Cases and cases of it. Sketch books filled with plans. Fresh ideas ripe for fresh paint.

And it begins all over again.

The things that can be achieved with a bunch of spray cans and a lot of know-how and practice, a healthy side of patience and a heaping helping of artistic vision, is simply astounding. With DJ’s spinning records and dropping beats from rooftop mixing tables, and MC’s spitting rhymes on the stage, people letting fly in break dancing battles, showing off moves that look like they’ll either end up as contortionists or emitted to the local trauma unit. Under Pressure is quite a lot of fun.

If you missed the live painting; worry not. There are two things you can do. Go see the artwork now that it is completed and on display for all to see, and get yourself out to the event next year, and have yourself a party.