Old Factories Becoming Art Spaces

“I had a studio which has since, one of the buildings that was knocked down on the street called de Richelieu on the corner of College Street, right below the Ville-Marie Expressway. It was actually in Westmount, so I had pool pass privileges. Literally, I’d walk out the building and I’d step into Saint-Henri but our building was, in fact, in Westmount so I’d access the library and all the amenities.

To them, they were kinda socked when I told them my address at the Westmount library, like, “I didn’t know we were acquiring new streets.” I said, “Well, you’re not. I live in Westmount, but in a factory.” In order to make some money, I had about 4,000 square feet in that building and we would have bands come. We would kind of establish a kiddie to raise money to upgrade, paint the building, what have you. ‘Cause we would show inside the space.

The guy who owned it before me had a framing business and he had subdivided a bunch of spaces so, when I took over the space, I was able to rent out rooms to other artists in the neighborhood. I’d help subsidize my income in the early years, when I was in my thirties, I guess.

I had a dark room in there and we’d do shows. We had parking in front. It was the early days, 80s, 90s in Montreal where you could get big, industrial space cheap. We took full advantage of it. It was like Andy Warhol’s factory in there. We had people coming and going. All kinds of parties, bands playing, keggers, the whole bit. It was a lot of fun.”