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2006 02 20
The Usual Suspects: Labrona
The next week's postings feature Montreal graffiti's usual suspects, a collection of some of the city's best and most prolific street artists. The artists were selected by documentary filmmaker Pablo Aravena, who has spent the last five years making Next: The Movie, in which he follows graffiti writers and street artists from the guts of the Parisian sewers to skyrises in Sao Paulo.
Labrona is a well-known Montreal-based graffiti artist whose signature style of freight painting has intrigued and impressed his fans for almost a decade. He started painting freights in the mid-90s with pal Other. Together they established their own unique style of painting trains using oil sticks rather than spray paint. This medium had previously only been used by train yard workers, migrant workers and hobos but now is being mimicked by graffiti artists across North America.
Labrona's dedication, albeit an addiction, to painting freights has resulted in thousands of paintings that have been spotted from the Alaska to Mexico and contributed to an intrigue and notoriety within the graffiti art sub-culture that he finds baffling but equally flattering.
Although his heart remains in the train yard, Labrona has recently been lured to the gallery by the prospect of reaching a wider audience and the promise of making some money from his art. He has exhibited his canvases in Europe and across Canada and the States, most recently in Pittsburg, Detroit and Austin and his work has been featured in the recent Thames and Hudson publication Graffiti World and in numerous magazines such as Pound, Beautiful Decay, Under Pressure and Modart.
The best way to see Labrona's stuff in the city is to go for a walk in the city’s train yards, but you can also check out his photolog here and his canvases here.
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