MONTREAL—Ignacio Piatti has been rendered larger than life through the combined efforts of two artists who livened up a dreary cityscape with a huge mural celebrating the MLS All-Star midfielder and the Montreal Impact's blue, black and white colors.
Local artists Marco Paradiso and Shawn Davis collaborated on the project, and each signed the mural, located on a building on the edge of the city's Chinatown, on Thursday.
Paradiso's original Piatti artwork won a contest the Impact held to determine the team's contribution to the fifth edition of the Montreal's MURAL International Public Art Festival.
"He's a special player so I just wanted to show the colors of the team, show his impact on the team, and that's what I was trying to represent," said Paradiso, a 31-year-old native of the city's Rosemont neighborhood who was encouraged by his friends to enter the contest. "I kind of went with an aesthetic that would look like a mural, something that shows the speed of the game, just show a bit more about the sport, and I really wanted to get the colors in there."
Paradiso got his first look at the larger-than-life version of his vibrant interpretation of Piatti on Thursday when he met Davis, who was commissioned to paint the mural by festival organizers.
"I saw it from the corner and I was like, 'Wow! That's my work up there,'" Paradiso said. "Shawn did some great work to put it on the wall. It really means a lot to me. It's something I drew about a year ago and won this contest, and here it is, I really feel great to see it here."
Davis was assisted by his wife Nikki Kuentzle in painting the Piatti mural based on Paradiso's original artwork.
"I know that people walk by here without ever looking into this area, and when we were painting we had like hundreds of people stop and talk to us, and check out the wall and take pictures," Davis said.
Davis, who played soccer growing up in the St-Henri neighborhood, knew his painting had hit the mark when a group of passersby shouted out Piatti's name as they admired the mural in progress.
"At that point I hadn't even put the number on the shorts, so it could have been any soccer player. But they recognized right away that it was Piatti so I was pretty stoked about that," said Davis, who estimated it took about 50 hours to paint the mural in a little over a week.
Festival director Pierre-Alain Benoit was delighted with the end result of the artists' collaboration. An Impact fan himself, Benoit felt that the Piatti mural hit the mark in brightening up a neglected area of the city with some eye-catching art that is relevant to Montreal, which is celebrating its 375th anniversary this year.
"We always try to find walls that are visible but that are in areas that need some improvement, so that not only is it art but it's also contributing to the city at some point," Benoit said.