“This world is but a canvas to our imagination.” – Henry David Thoreau

Step up to the front door of this trendy, artsy establishment in the heart of bustling NDG and you feel transported into another world, a world where Art and fashion intertwine with a definite street edge.

Sub_V store inside

Sub V, originally “La Galerie D’art Subversive”, is an Artist driven store offering some of the best and most unique urban merchandise in Montreal. Formally an Art gallery and store, but now owned by, the team has infused Art into every item in the boutique. From the local artist designed graphic T-shirts to the ‘statement’ sneakers strategically displayed, this one-stop Art shop gives you everything you need from hats, spray paint, caps, and general Art supplies to Art books with emphasis on ‘Street Art’, bags, cd’s, headphones, customized iPhone cases and more. The store doesn’t focus on any one brand. That’s just not the aim. It’s about supporting and exposing local, independent, up and comers with artistic voices. Sub_V doesn’t ever want to play it safe.

Sub_V merchandiseSub_V shoesSub_V graphic tees

It is no coincidence that Art is what drives Manager, Purchaser and Artist, Roskoe Idiosti and team, to continue making Sub_V a top contender in the urban community as a distinct and creative outlet for any Artist.

Since starting in 2004, the brand’s customer base has steadily grown due to word of mouth and catering to their diverse clientele using social media namely Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr. More exposure for the store is also garnered through bi-monthly Art expos, participating in and sponsoring local Art events like the NDG ARTS Week Festival and Head and Hands fundraisers as well as selling tickets for shows that cater to their eclectic clients.

Sub_V social media

Woven into the NDG fabric, Idiosti heavily supports Art in the community and does his best to contribute through Sub_V during community service including work done with ‘Maison de Jeunes’. Sub_V’s outreach efforts had also garnered national media attention most recently, when a piano installed at Girouard Park by the city of Montreal was vandalized. Known as one of the go-to spray paint distributors, the Sub_V team immediately reached out to the original Artist Julian Cargnello and offered him spray paint to re-paint and restore the burnt, vandalized piano, solidifying their influence on Artists in the community and the respect the Sub_V brand has gained throughout the years. Cargnello and fellow Artists who contributed to the re-painting, received added exposure for their Art and the Media covered something other than politics. So it was a refreshing win-win-win for everybody really.

Julian and burnt piano
Photo courtesy The Gazette and Julian Cargnello
Julian Cargnello and repainted piano
Photo courtesy The Gazette and Julian Cargnello

Graffiti has always had an attached stigma. Although often seen as rebellious vandalism rather than Art, Sub_V has tried to prove that great things can come from artistic freedom and expression whether through clothes, shoes or graffiti Art. They promote the artistic side of graffiti and showcase the store as “a positive place for kids to come by and buy their Art supplies to help them improve their Art careers and possibly be inspired to make a business out of their Art”, just like the owner and manager of Sub_V have. Further indicating that Street Art isn’t always about vandalism, it’s a story being told just like any other functional, essential, artistic creation.

Sub_V spray paint

The very reason the brand was formed was to “offer a space for young controversial street artists to showcase their Art because at that time, this type of Art had not gained the attention of most galleries in Montreal, so that’s Lowbrow Art, Street Art and Graffiti Art”, said Idiosti. He continued, “eventually, because of our passion for the Arts and the fact that we’re artists ourselves, we got into the clothing side of things, through some of our friends who had their own clothing brands and expanded from there. I have a particular affinity for sneakers so I started selling sneakers as well”.

Sub_V customers are constantly in for a treat, as the store always has a 30% off section. Currently, there are 32 pairs of sneakers on discount! The best ways to keep abreast of the fantastic discounts is to follow Sub_V through their regularly updated social media accounts. Even “in season” items can be on discount, you just have to keep checking in. Better yet, pop into the store between Monday and Sunday and have a chat with Idiosti himself, Max or any of the very welcoming employees. Cynthia is sure to greet you with the most genuine smile. You should probably check out the website for opening and closing hours!

Sub_V wall art
Sub_V Wall Art promoting Art by local Tattoo Artist ‘Angus’ from Sin City MTL

Ultimately, Sub_V is an inclusive brand ready to add to the culture of Street Art that has been steadily building in Montreal for so many years. According to Idiosti, “we want to do the Art thing and be super positive. Nobody is too old or young. This is a very inclusive place, everybody is welcome here no matter what your style or affiliations…we judge no one. We just love Arts and culture and that’s what we want to promote. That’s what we want to put out as the image of our store, promoters of the Arts and culture”.

The city of Montreal is quite blessed to have the only Sub_V in the world, a rarity that gives buyers wanting something different to what’s mainstream, what they desire with a dramatic, street twist and indescribable artistic flair.

Special thanks to Sub_V’s longstanding Manager Roskoe Idiosti, for making the time to share his passion for Sub_V and Montreal Art.

Written by: Ariane Collman

Original article:


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