Silk Screening Studio a Haven of Transcendent Art

Concordia Fine Arts Students Open Print Studio in the Plateau

The pair also happen to be best friends, having met serendipitously through mutual friends. Photos Marcelline Selman

Who knew St. Jude was a muse?

Nestled in the heart of the Plateau, Atelier Lost Cause has come a long way from its humble beginnings. For three Concordia fine arts students—Gabrielle Mulholland, Justin Gordon and Hillary Barnes, the process of opening Lost Cause has been both lengthy and inspiring.

The soon-to-open silk screening, embroidery and print shop sits on St. Denis St., right next to the façade of St. Jude Church—now hollowed out into a gym and spa.

The trio unites seasoned artistic and technical skills, clever business savvy and true grit with genuine charm, born of hard-won experience.

They met serendipitously through mutual friends and decided to combine their efforts to set up shop.

Gabrielle Mulholland, left, and her business partner Hillary Barnes try out their colour press.
“It was kind of a fluke. It was a bunch of us knowing the same kind of people. I knew Hillary through a friend, and they mentioned that she was also interested in screen printing,” Mulholland said.

After long hours spent searching for a suitable spot that would allow the artists to work freely, they found a somewhat grungy but within-budget venue.

“I was looking on Craigslist for spaces that would be affordable, and we found this garage in the Mile End,” Mulholland said.

With the help of a little TLC, it seemed to be what they were looking for. However, over time, the space came to no longer suit the group’s needs, yet again fueling their need to scout a space.

Using their own funds, the intrepid entrepreneurs spent a year looking for the best space that would fit their budget—and one they could agree on.

Now, they’ve finally found their dream space on St. Denis St., in the shadow of the church-turned-fitness space.

The studio is now fully functional and provides the artists with the physical room to produce artwork that reflects each of their unique sensibilities.

Mulholland’s work is an explorative blend of the esoteric with religious iconography, and also extends to cartoon illustrations. Meanwhile, Barnes’s art expresses bold graphic influences with vivid flourishes. Gordon plays with pop culture references, using kaleidoscope imagination and colour.

The studio provides silkscreen printing for retail, commercial and industrial clients. They hope to do foil and vinyl work soon. Queer Toronto artist Sarah D’Angelo will host a tattoo pop up at the studio from 1 to 8 p.m. on Friday, March 26 and Saturday, March 27.

Gabrielle Mulholland holds up her whimsical creation produced in the studio.

Mulholland and Barnes hope to fill a growing niche by providing space for fine arts students at Concordia in need of a workspace—especially in the summer months—as well as offer screening workshops for the general public. In the meantime, the next major project for Atelier Lost Cause is set to have an official launch party—tentatively in April.

“We’re hoping to have some limited opening party shirts,” Mulholland said.

As for what they want their company to represent, Mulholland was clear on their vision and ideals.

“A safe space for any gender, queer, rational person, where they can come and share in our experience, here in the Montreal print scene,” she said. “We’re very open and kind-hearted people that just want to spread the creative vibe.”

_Tattoo Pop Up @ Atelier Lost Cause// 3980 St. Denis // 1 to 8 p.m. March 26-27 // More info