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‘Glorified littering’: Junk street art installations popping up around Montreal

Click to play video 'Street art installations made from junk popping up around Montreal' Street art installations made from junk popping up around Montreal
From trash to treasure, how one Montreal artist is transforming discarded materials into urban sculptures. Global's Brayden Jagger Haines reports. โ€“ Jan 25, 2021

From the Van Horne skate park in the Mile End to NDG’s Saint-Jacques Escarpment, bizarre art installations are popping up around the city.

Prowling panthers, massive abstract beasts โ€” it’s all put together from the imagination of the artist under the pseudonym Junko.

It’s a fitting name, for all the art he creates is entirely made from miscellaneous “trash” that he finds on the street.

“Basically, they’re carefully arranged piles of garbage,” Junko said. “You can call it glorified littering.”

Read more: Black Lives Matter street mural removed from Ste-Catherine Street

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Using things found on the street like car tires, bike frames, even shoes, everything is a workable piece in Junko’s creations.

Car bumpers are a common staple in his creatures.

“They’re definitely a popular item for me,” he said with a laugh.

Over the past few months, he has put together some six different statues around the city and abroad, all varying in size from small to towering.

A timber frame made from recycled wood holds the installations together.

“I’ve been making art my whole life,” Junko said. “My art has always been around creating creatures and characters. This is a new chapter in that.”

He says finding the junk isn’t that hard in the city but finding the right piece can be.

“Sometimes it’s extremely easy. I’ll be walking and find something and carry it home,” he said.

Read more: Montreal’s Mile End construction project ends up on residents’ doorsteps

While shying away from the spotlight, Junko says he isn’t trying to make a point with his art, which he says speaks for itself.

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“There no deep hidden meaning, it’s just a way to expressing myself,” Junko said.

That so-called trash is getting a lot of likes and recognition on social mediaย and on the street.

“There is a lot of art in the neighbourhood, so it’s good, I’m not against it,” resident Nick Barry-Shaw said.

Junko sees his form of expression as a legal grey zone.

“The people are into it but I’m not sure about the city, though,” Junko laughed.

Read more: Pointe-Saint-Charles mural defaced by graffiti a chance to reconnect with community, creators say

He said that unlike graffiti, his street art is not vandalism but simply “an organized pile of trash.”

So far, all four art installations in the city have not been taken down, according to Junko.

The young artist says there is a lot more art to come and people should keep their eyes peeled.

“I’m just getting started so, yeah, you can expect more work,” he said.

Click to play video 'Outdoor art installations are popping up around Montreal' Outdoor art installations are popping up around Montreal
Outdoor art installations are popping up around Montreal โ€“ Jan 25, 2021

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