I finally had the chance to catch up with Carlo and Adam from Station 16, a silkscreen print shop in Montreal that has tapped into both the local and international street art scene.
Art Intake: What’s new with Station 16?
Adam: Since launching our e-commerce two years ago we have been gaining a lot more attention and credibility in the art world. For instance, more artists have been contacting us as well as more established artists are willing to work with us. And, we’re also working with LNDMRK, a project by Galerie Yves Laroche.
It’s great, we’re seeing more people in the art community reach out to us, wanting to collaborate with us.
Art Intake: Tell me a bit about Station 16. What made you decide to open a print shop/studio?
Carlo: I’ve been in the textile screen printing business for 20 years and I’ve always been passionate about art and three years back I wanted to diversify my business and feed my soul. I realized that I had the ability to start an art department, so I started with one artist and from there it spun into what it is today. We currently work with 16 artists.
Art intake: 16 artists?
Adam: Each year we try to work with 16 different artists, some of those artists we might reprint, but we try to keep it around 16 artists each year.
Art Intake: Who are you working with right now?
Adam: We started the year with Troy Lovegates, who’s originally from Toronto and used to go under the street art name “Other.” He’s really well known within the Street Art Community. When we were in New York for Fountain, people would easily point out his work. As far as Canadian Street Art goes, he’s a really well known name. It’s really interesting working with him, because he’s a screen printer at heart; silkscreen is his medium of choice.
Carlo: Lovegate’s has been painting trains for like 15 or 20 years.
Adam: He has very unique style for painting trains; he’s more of a painter than a graffiti writer. It’s really cool.
We, also, started working with Jason Botkin, one of the directors for En Masse. At the end of January, he had a solo show at LNDMRK. We invited him into the shop and he made a variant silkscreen edition.
Art Intake: Is Montreal’s Street Art scene influencing the big picture?
Adam: the cool thing about Montreal’s street art and graffiti community is that it dates back as far as the 80s just like New York. But, because Montreal isn’t the big city New York is, a lot of these artists left, and the ones who stayed here, fell into the shadows of the bigger names.
While we were in New York, we heard from a lot of people from the New York scene say it’s getting a little bit redundant, a lot of famous New York artists seem to be going else where in the world. I think Montreal has an exotic European city feel and some local names have really blown up internationally.
We actually just added Omen to Station 16 he’s one of the founding fathers of Montreal’s Street Art scene. Omen was painting faces at time when everyone else was still writing. In a sense he’s Montreal’s first street artist (making art in the streets) he was doing this in the late 80s.
Art Intake: What are you doing to get your name out there? I understand you participated in Nuit Blanche and Fountain Art Fair.
Carlo: For Nuit Blanche, we set up live screen-printing, because we really want to bring attention to the process of screen-printing. A lot of people don’t know what a limited edition silk screens is, they think you push a button and an image magically comes out of the machine, like a printer or something, they don’t understand the hands on process of print making. It’s an art form.
Art Intake: You just got back from Fountain Art Fair, how did it go?
Carlo: It was great. We just received an email from RJ Rushmore he’s a blogger for Vandalog; he said we were his favorite booth at Fountain. We found that Fountain stepped it up this year by adding a lot more exhibitors and professional lighting. It was just set up a lot better than previous years.
Art Intake: Would you change anything about the Montreal Art Scene, or would you add anything?
Carlo: I think we’re well received from the community
Adam: People are really into what we’re doing
Carlo: We’re keeping it real by not commercializing it.
Adam: We try to be fair with our artists, by not limiting their creativity.
Art Intake: Do you think the Montreal art scene accepts street art as art?
Adam: Defiantly some galleries. Not every artist we work with is a Street Artist; we also work with some Fine Artist as well as Pop Artist. But, I think the gallery scene is a little bit closed towards Street Art right now. That is another interesting thing we’re doing with our art gallery is we’re giving these street artists a venue.
Carlo: What we did find interesting was the target audience in New York compared to Montreal. The collector that was coming into the booth and purchasing prints was generally a lot older, 40s, and 50s.
Adam: We could see a pattern, web designers and lawyers – people with really good jobs. They seemed really interested in the style and free spiritedness of the art form.
Carlo: In Montreal, the demographic of people who are buying it are much younger. We’re trying to broaden our scope
Art Intake: What are you working on these days?
Our next print is going to be Ace London. He’s a London based Street Artist.
Art Intake: Any interesting projects?
Adam: This June, Montreal is going to have its first mural festival, Mural-Festival. LNDMRK is organizing it; the festival will include five international names, as well as, 10 local artists. A bunch of the empty parking lots around the Mile End will become sites for this festival. We’re going to have a chance to work with the international artists coming to Montreal for the festival. We really think it could become the Art Basel of Street Art.
Art Intake: What kind of art do you collect? Emily mentioned you collect art.
Carlo: That’s how it all began. One day, I went into the gallery, where Emily works and I bought a screen print by Riopelle. Then, I said “hey! I could do this.” Besides the Riopelle, I have an Andy Warhol print, Mr. Brainwash, Faile (art duo), Stikki Peaches, What is Adam, Charming Baker, and some of other stuff.
Art Intake: Is there any artist we should be keeping our eye on?
What is Adam, Stikki Peaches, Queen Andrea, Hanksy…
Art Intake: Any message for collectors looking to start a Street Art collection?
Buy what you like.
*This interview has been edited down from it original version. The thoughts and opinions expressed within this interview don’t necessarily reflect Art Intake’s.
all photos courtesy of Station 16.