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Graffiti artists collective creates massive mural in Montreal

A'shop, a Montreal collective of graffiti artists, is determined to bring art and colour to a city that "has way too much grey." Recently it completed a city-approved, five-storey mural: an Art Nouveau-inspired take on Our Lady of Grace.

"The idea was to step out of our comfort zone and show the public what graffiti artists can be capable of," A'shop's Kris Wilk told My Modern Metropolis.

"There is an amazing amount of quality work being produced within Montreal's graffiti scene. Unfortunately, bad press and political strategies often only show the 'negative' side of it, creating unneeded friction between citizens and our culture."

"The main thing that struck us was the public's reaction while we were painting the mural. Some people gave us the cold shoulder at first, thinking we were painting an ad. Then when they realized we were reviving an old wall with a mural, they ... came back to see us everyday. That really fueled us," A'shop graffiti artist Fluke told The Montreal Gazette.

"Within days we had the whole community involved. People invited us for lunch and the Jamaicans at the local barber shop were giving us high-fives!"

The mural took 16 days to complete and used 500 cans of spray paint in over 50 colours. A'shop hopes the giant mural will inspire similar projects to revive dead spaces across the city.