Art and Art-making on the Streets

I was recently in Montreal on vacation. I had never been there before, and found the city to be a great combination of a modern North American city and an ancient European one. Of course, that’s exactly what it is. This picture was taken in Old Montreal, where the narrow streets are mostly stones and bricks, the buildings don’t even have gangways.

Rue des Artistes, Old Montreal

Just out of view, to the left, is a scruffy, curmudgeonly looking man, sitting with his back to the street, painting a picture. He’s surrounded by his other pieces which are for sale. He’s clearly posted above his work a sign saying “No Pictures” with an outline of a camera and a line through it. My camera, although it’s digital, has a shutter sound effect when the picture’s actually taken. It’s loud enough for him to hear, sitting 10 or 15 feet away.

I get the dirtiest look of the entire vacation.

Before I can try to say it wasn’t him I shot, I only manage a feeble point in the direction of the street where I took the picture and my own look of “oh, sir, you misunderstand!” before he abruptly turned his back on me and continued on with his painting.

I thought it was a little rude. I also thought, “Dude, your stuff isn’t so good that someone’s going to want to steal your ideas by taking pictures of it.”


I took another pic of the street, and moved on.


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