For many McGill students, “do it yourself” is not just a concept, it’s a way of life. DIY applies to almost every aspect of our student lives: painting our apartments, cooking a hearty meal after a long day, or even learning how to knit so that both our necks and bank accounts won’t freeze come the frosty winter months. This crafty craze is now experiencing a reincarnation in the art and business worlds as well. DIY will be brought to life this month at Puces Pop, the arts and crafts segment of Pop Montreal, where up-and-coming artists and artisans are able to showcase their goods.
Puces Pop cements the Pop festival’s role as a wild mash-up of creative outlets. It is Marilis Cardinal and Amy Johnson’s responsibility, as co-directors of Puces Pop, to ensure that the event stays true to its purpose. “We want to make [sure that] the debt the artists put themselves in for their passions is worthwhile,” Cardinal said over coffee at Casa del Popolo on St. Laurent. It can be risky to make use of one’s artistic skills as a profession, but with a helping hand from curators like Cardinal and Johnson these artists are able to get some much-needed exposure.
In the challenging world of independent business it’s reassuring to know there is a community backing up the innovative DIY artist. Johnson agreed; “We’ve got a nice group of people here who are really supportive…they think that doing it yourself is really important.” The demand for a back-to-basics approach to creation has elevated Puces Pop from a one-time event to a thrice-annual gathering of this DIY community.
Johnson and Cardinal’s principal role is to carry out the screening process – a task that is in no way trivial. “It’s awful to pick someone who puts all this work in, but doesn’t sell,” Johnson commiserated. Nevertheless, she and Cardinal thrive on fostering independent talent. “It is very gratifying,” Cardinal explained, despite the endless hours on the computer and answering phones.
Whether you are in the mood to support some artists, find a unique accessory or meet some great people involved in the arts industry, a visit is sure to be worth your while. And, if none of the above seem to apply, look on over at the walls of your apartment. Couldn’t they use some artwork?