Posters are Never Too Cool for School

Tuesday was a field day for l’Affichiste!

We had the immense pleasure of visiting Mr. Charles Vien at the school he directs, École Secondaire de Mont-Royal. What on earth does a vintage poster gallery have to do with a high school, you ask? Well, it just so happens that this particular director at this particular school has decided to fill the walls of his establishment with art, including many posters from your very own l’Affichiste!

The posters can be found in every corner of the place from the hallways to the library by way of the science lab and staff offices. It is truly a sight for sore eyes for any poster lover.

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Show and tell

Born into a family of six, Charles Vien developed a taste for the arts from a young age through pictures in the dictionary and comic books. During the past decade, he has made sure the walls of his school translate this.
One of his main inspirations is Art Everywhere, a British initiative aiming to turn the UK streets into open-air galleries, for everyone to enjoy. In the words of the project’s initiator, Richard Reed: “There is something so nourishing, exciting and surprising in seeing art in places you wouldn’t necessarily expect to see it.”

After a warm greeting, Charles guided us through the hallways for a bit of show and tell, giving us passionate explanations about each piece in the school’s art collection, from wood sculptures to historic photographs. For him, collecting and displaying art is just part of what it means to take good care of his École. “Les belles choses entrainent de nouvelles idées” he declares as we explore the building, introducing us to everyone we run into with gusto (thus making us feel like A-list celebrities; 15 minutes of fame!). The posters are used to brighten up the place, spark interest and curiosity, and even to teach (amongst other things, they come in handy when teaching students about the different art movements that have occurred throughout the ages).

Throughout the past few years, l’Affichiste has taken pride in supplying the high school with its poster fix. The collection includes vintage as well as contemporary, covering a hundred years of poster art and is a diverse as the student body and staff:

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1992, Fat Tire
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Marlone, 2016 Modern Montreal Travel Posters
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2007 Contemporary Sign Language & 1972 Original Canadian Exhibition Poster, Père Ubu
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1993 Original Poster, Festival International de Jazz de Montréal, Yves Archambault for Publicité Sauvage & 2016 Woodstock Festival Poster, Skolnick & 1988 Original Polish Jazz Poster, Jazz Jamboree, Waldemar Swierzy
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2014 Contemporary Montreal Posters, Underdog, Breslaw & 2005 Original Polish Exhibition Poster, Don Kichot (Don Quixote), Gorowski
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1979 Original Vittorio Fiorucci Poster, La Balade de l’Énergie
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Les Grands magasins à Rayons, La Baie & 1967 Montreal Vintage Poster, Expo 67
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2014 Contemporary Music Poster, Fauve, Liberty Leading the People
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Province du Québec & 1990 Original Poster, Le Tour de L’ile, Lumbago for Publicité Sauvage
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1986 Original French Exhibition Poster, Galerie Berggruen – Jean Helion
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2012 Original Polish Film Poster, Bykowi Chwala – Gorska and Skakun
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1970 Plaza de Toros de Madrid
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2008 Original Italian Advertisement, Poster Art/Il Manifest/Teatro Massimo Bellini
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1975 Bicentennial, Will Barnet
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2012 Exposition 14/15 Pink Cat (Publicité Sauvage)
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2000s Contemporary Poster, “Zapartistes Contre l’Empire”
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2012 25th Anniversary Poster Publicite Sauvage ‘Cinemateque’ – Demers-Labrecque
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1918, Le Laboratoire
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2015 Contemporary Music Poster, Bernhari Horse Swimming
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2016 Contemporary Music Poster, Tire Le Coyote
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1963 Original Danish Travel Poster
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2006 Original Festival Poster, Arles Carrot- Michel Bouvet
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1930s French Art Deco Food Poster, Produits Lavocat & 1976 Montreal Olympics Poster – COJO

We are grateful to have had the chance to get a glimpse of what happens when teachers and school administrators put their heart and soul into creating a beautiful and inspiring learning environment!

Of course, we know schools are on a budget and to encourage their future poster endeavours, l’Affichiste is sticking to its incentive: any educator who comes into the gallery to buy art for their school or institution will, from now on, be entitled to a 10% discount on any poster(s) they buy for that institution.

We walked (all right, we drove, it’s minus a million degrees in Montreal) away inspired and optimistic. Thank you Charles, we commend you!

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