Street Sketches

The inconspicuous beauty of graffiti art

peru_websmall2.jpg Peru Dyer: Spontaneous street artist. Photo by Luna Bégin.

By Jessica de Gruchy

For Peru Dyer, graffiti is a selfish act. “You don’t want to say anything, you just want to get something that you don’t understand out of yourself,” he says, suggesting that graffiti can be cathartic in its exploration of style, imagination, and self-expression as much for the artist as for the art itself. “There’s so much political art and it’s usually a drag—it’s not a good way to promote the attitude you want people to have.” In other words, art that is creatively inspiring to both artist and viewer can be more effective in producing a positive public mind-set.

Peru has participated in dozens of public and private exhibitions and art projects across Canada using this same philosophy, including recently painting a completely environmentally friendly mural using natural pigments at the Earth Festival in Vancouver. His future endeavours include painting a series of vans, cars, and trucks at the Montreal Fringe Festival in June coinciding with Formula 1 weekend. As usual, he has no plans for the designs he wants to create, preferring to work spontaneously in the atmosphere of the moment. He is working on gathering 10 artists for the occasion, in order to have a wide range of styles and interpretations. Peru also has a show lined up for the collective “them” in Toronto at the end of June, followed by a group exhibition in Vienna and a solo exhibition in Barcelona this August.

Despite the steady influx of Peru’s international recognition, he does not plan on leaving Montreal any time soon: “no matter wherever I travel on the earth, this is my axis.” Some of the inconspicuous murals blossoming on the walls of Montreal’s abandoned buildings and alleyways are by Peru’s own hand, and—if given a closer look— demonstrate quite literally the writing on the wall