CEASE Art Collective Drops the Velvet Rope

CEASE wants to show you “really awesome stuff that local artists have been doing, without the quiet museum/velvet rope/crazy ticket price kind of deal.”

There’s a downside to Montreal’s vibrant artistic community—its cup runneth over. For this analogy, just pretend the cup is gallery space.

“For whatever reason, it’s hard to get gallery shows,” said Concordia student Anthony Korkidakis, the cofounder of CEASE art collective. “I guess things come in trends and if you’re not doing the ‘in’ thing, then you end up being underground, whether you want to be or not.”

Korkidakis’ attempt to remedy that situation by founding the non-profit organization CEASE happened naturally. CEASE is comprised of its three original founders—Korkidakis, Alan Ganev and Laurier Clark—plus a team of artistic collaborators from the city.

“Anytime you work in any creative medium you tend to meet many people,” he said, many of whom wound up, invited or not, on the living room couch. “From there [CEASE] just kind of grew, because at a certain point you can only fit so many people into an apartment.”

The upcoming launch of CEASE Magazine merely serves to showcase the artists who’ll be on hand at forthcoming parties, like the one coming up this Friday, featuring Concordia alumni JP King and other assorted artists.

CEASE, which identifies its makers as “sentimental prosttutes” was founded by a filmmaker, an ad designer and a computer programmer, none of whom are the least bit sentimental. Their “manifesto” pokes fun at the pretension of art institutions.

“It kind of goes back to half-mocking the whole gallery system, taking things too seriously,” said Korkidakis. “We think art is for everybody and we think a lot of people are intimidated by that reputation.”

While Montreal isn’t left wanting for more diversity, he says, things do have a way of coming into vogue.

“There’s been a bit of a turn towards more hand-crafted works as of late,” said Korkidakis. “There’s a lot of people who can take something like a pop-up magazine and make really original and interesting art out of it, and it’s almost no different from what you do when you’re in kindergarten except with more pratice and more dedication.

“I think what’s really impressed me is [that] a lot of people don’t need expensive equipment,” he said. “It’s really more about the creativity.”

CEASE will be holding an art party on Sept. 17, starting at 9:30 p.m. at Off Interarts (5143 St-Laurent Blvd.). Admission is free, but booze is $4. To share your artwork with CEASE or to become a collaborator, contact info@cease.it.

This article originally appeared in Volume 31, Issue 05, published September 14, 2010.