Highway Overpass Graffiti…or Street Art in Quebec City

Is this graffiti or is this street art in Quebec City? I suppose beauty is in the eye of the beholder. We stumbled upon this artistic display beneath a highway overpass while walking down Rue Saint-Vallier Est. Personally, I find huge masses of concrete to look quite ugly, so I rather enjoyed the bright pops of colour tattooed all over the barriers and posts. The highway ceiling above provided a reprieve from the morning rain as we explored the images painted all around us. In this area of Lower Town, the highway barrier divides Vieux-Quebec and the Saint-Roch neighbourhood, a place with industrial and working class roots. Saint-Roch is a recently revitalized area where the hip, younger generation live and work. It’s where old factories have been renovated into avant-garde art studios, coffee shops, and indie boutiques. Perhaps this giant concrete divide marks an entrance from old to new, where giant structures of the industrial age have been reclaimed by creative minds. Regardless of the intention, I’m glad that we discovered this spot. It showed an expressive side that sharply contrasted the clean, historic town of Quebec we had viewed until that point. We love visiting historic sites and the touristy spots of a city, but it’s also great when you can witness something not only artistic, but more personal.

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What do you think of this street art in Quebec City? Is it public art or is it vandalism?

18 Responses

  1. Karyn @ Not Done Travelling
    | Reply

    I’d heaps rather look at colourful art than ugly concrete any day.

  2. Sammi Wanderlustin'
    | Reply

    I’m quite into graffiti. I posted on facebook today about a Banksy that got removed by a town council because it was “racist”! Gutted. Was worth millions, and I adore Banksy. I’ve visited the Berlin Wall, Lennon Wall and went on a trail looking at the Graffiti in Granada, and some of it was utterly incredible. I love it, the vibrant colours, all of it!

  3. Steve
    | Reply

    To me it is art, as long as it is not offensive. I have enjoyed looking at graffiti art over the years.

  4. Hannah
    | Reply

    I love graffiti and consider (most of it- at least the good stuff) to be street art. It’s so neat and unique. I totally agree with you that the bright pops of colour add something to an otherwise dull and grey area here.

  5. christine
    | Reply

    I wish NY graffiti looked more like this!

  6. Jenna
    | Reply

    I always love street art and graffiti! This looks like a great spot–I would love to wander around and check it all out!

  7. Margherita @The Crowded Planet
    | Reply

    Whatever it is, I love it! I spent most of my teenage years hanging out with graffiti makers, some of whom turned into street artists!

  8. Vlad
    | Reply

    I guess it’s both? I love finding beautiful street art while travelling but in my hometown, there is a lot of graffiti, even on historical buildings or recently renovated buildings. Nevertheless, these look so colorful, they really enliven the area, I especially love the 4th one. :)

  9. SJ @ Chasing the Donkey
    | Reply

    I can really appreciate street art, especially when it’s done so well as this. Super!

  10. Anda
    | Reply

    It’s very interesting how street art evolved from vandalism to beautiful mural paintings in some places. I always wondered, passing by great street art why would the authorities would want to punish people who do such beautiful works. I don’t agree with it when it’s done on beautiful buildings or on people’s gates, but when it’s being done on barren walls it is actually a great service to the community, don’t you think so?

  11. Juergen | dare2go.com
    | Reply

    Lovely large photos! I think the majority of these pieces I would call graffiti, but some certainly have the quality of real street art.
    Upon arriving in South America I was taken by the quality of many street art pieces here, so I published several galleries (although it’s not really the topic/niche of our overlanding blog).
    ps: soemehow the formatting of your blog is “broken” in my Firefox browser.

  12. Chris Boothman
    | Reply

    Great question and honestly a tough one to answer! Personally I would go with street art as I generally don’t look at this sort of thing with dismay but at the same time I can appreciate that others consider this as vandalism. There is a real fine line and I guess it depends on personal taste and exactly the context that the art is depicting!

    Great review though guys, thanks for opening our eyes to this and making us think about what our opinions are on this topic.

  13. Mama Herself
    | Reply

    Anything that brightens up an ugly bit of concrete dominated wasteland is absolutely fine by me. I like the green and blue ‘I’m melting’ one best I think.

  14. Raphael Alexander Zoren
    | Reply

    Great shots! I love street art, didn’t you could find this in Quebec City!

  15. Skillz Flux
    | Reply

    Thanks for the pictures… I have a S*** camera. Come back anytime! Passez une belle journée :) @ Raphael Alexander Zoren. There`s lots of graffiti spots in Québec city. This is the most accessible to the public. It used ot be legal (since ’96) but not anymore (merci, maire Labeaume). They still tolerate us… sometimes…

  16. Quebec City 3 Day Itinerary - Justin Plus Lauren
    | Reply

    […] stumbled upon this graffiti while walking to the restaurant, Le Tier Temps. You can discover this street art along Rue […]

  17. Rudy
    | Reply

    Cool pictures! Which camera did you use for clicking these?

    • Lauren
      | Reply

      These were actually taken with our old camera, a Canon t3i! We now use a Panasonic Lumix GH4.

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