Benny Wilding / Cemz / Ether

Benny Wilding aka Cemz aka Ether is the ultimate urban artist, having started off as a graffiti writer and then evolved into becoming one of Montreal’s great muralists. He started in 1997 writing ‘Cemz’ and quickly earned the respect of his peers. Around 2004 he switched to writing ‘Ether’ and kept that name for a bit more than a decade. Over 2016, as his career as a muralist started growing significantly, he reverted back to ‘Cemz’ and this is his regular writing name nowadays. His main allegiance over the years has been with the crew TFB, but he’s also in DA, TFO and more recently KG (to name a few), crews that include many of our city’s best writers.

His murals and other figurative pieces are usually mash-ups of various pop-art vintage elements: cartoons, old logos, commercial lettering and other nostalgia-tinged iconography inspired by old ads and catalogues. Most interestingly, they also often include his name-piece, creating a contrast between that warm nostalgia and his wildstyle street side.

To learn more about Benny Wilding, have a look at this great 2018 interview by Mural Festival. To view more than I was able to photograph, and to see his work outside Montreal as well as his studio work, folow him on Instagram. Finally, there’s a short bio and photos of work he has done for Ashop in this Ashop bio.

Benny Wilding / Cemz / Ether est le parfait artiste urbain, ayant débuté comme graffeur puis graduellement fait son chemin pour devenir un des grands muralistes de Montréal. Il a débuté en 1997 sous le nom ‘Cemz’ et a rapidement gagné le respect de ses pairs. Aux environs de 2004 il a commencé à écrire ‘Ether’ et a conservé ce nom pour une douzaine d’années. Au cours de l’année 2016, alors que sa carrière de muraliste prenait de l’essor, il a repris le nom ‘Cemz’ et c’est ce nom qu’il utilise de nos jours pour ses pièces de graffiti. Sa principale affiliation au fil des années a été avec le crew TFB, mais il fait aussi partie de DA, TFO et plus récemment KG (pour n’en nommer que quelques uns), des crews incluant plusieurs des meilleurs graffeurs de Montréal.

Ses murales et autres pièces figuratives combinent généralement divers éléments pop-art vintages tels que des personnages de bandes dessinées, des logos, du graphisme commercial ainsi que des personnage ou objets tirés de vieilles pubs ou de vieux catalogues. Fait intéressant, ses grandes créations incluent aussi son nom en plein milieu, mettant ainsi en contraste le coté nostalgique et réconfortant de l’iconographie vintage avec la modernité de son graffiti wildstyle.

Pour en apprendre plus sur Benny Wilding, vous êtes invités à lire cette entrevue pour Festival Mural datant de 2018. Pour voir plus que ce que j’ai eu la chance de photographier, particulièrement ses oeuvres hors-Montréal ainsi que son travail en studio, suivez-le sur Instagram. Enfin, une courte biographie et des photos de son travail pour Ashop se trouvent sur le site d’Ashop.


Benny Wilding

Pieces in this section are shown in approximate reverse chronological order, so the most recent are at the top.

Les pièces de cette section de la galerie sont présentées en ordre chronologique inverse approximatif, de la plus récente à la plus vieille.

This is the left half of a long wall in Rosemont with the 1976 Montreal Olympics as a theme.

This is the right half of a long wall in Rosemont with the 1976 Montreal Olympics as a theme.

This tribute to local Formula One driver Gilles Villeneuve in Chinatown incorporates a Cemz letter piece.

Benny Wilding’s segment on a long tribute to Scaner also involving Zek and Stare (not visible in this shot). The wall also includes a Cemz letter piece, scroll down to view.

Tribute to Scaner by Sober, Benny Wilding, Mersh, Tyke and Sage at the 2017 edition of the Lachine graffiti jam.

Ankh One and Benny Wilding collaboration in Verdun. The white dots are actually raised from the wall and spell out “multiculturel” in Braille language.

This mural is found downtown.

This nostalgia mural at Plaza St-Hubert incorporates a Cemz letter piece.

One of Benny Wilding’s characters on a Scaner & Cemz alley wall which also features a Cemz letter piece featured in the next section, scroll down to view.

One more of Benny Wilding’s characters on a Scaner & Cemz alley wall which also features a Cemz letter piece featured in the next section, scroll down to view.

One more of Benny Wilding’s characters on a Scaner & Cemz alley wall which also features a Cemz letter piece featured in the next section, scroll down to view.

Benny Wilding / Cemz at Plaza Walls.

A green alley piece for Ashop in Hochelaga (1/3).

A green alley piece for Ashop in Hochelaga (2/3).

A green alley piece for Ashop in Hochelaga (3/3).

This Ashop mural was designed by Fluke and executed by Zek and Benny Wilding.

Ether / Benny Wilding in Petite-Patrie.

This is Benny Wilding’s contribution to the 2015 edition of Mural Festival. It includes a Ether letter piece.

This long wall in the Plateau is a collaboration with Hsix on the three Gilles Duceppe characters.

Trackside wall for Ashop under the name Cems.

Benny Wilding as Ether for the Cabane à sucre secret gallery.


Cemz

Pieces in this section are shown in approximate reverse chronological order, so the most recent are at the top.

Les pièces de cette section de la galerie sont présentées en ordre chronologique inverse approximatif, de la plus récente à la plus vieille.

In Côte des Neiges.

In a Petite-Patrie alley.

In the Plateau.

This detail of the Scan You Rock tribute wall to Scaner shows Cemz’s part. Click on the latter link to view the complete wall.

The Boro wall for the 2018 edition of the Under Pressure Festival featuring Cemz (top letters), Esprit (left half) and Sight (bottom right letters).

Cemz in the Plateau.

On Ashop‘s wall in Hochelaga.

This is Cemz’s letter piece on a long tribute wall to Scaner also involving Zek and Stare (not shown here). The wall also features a figurative segment, scroll up to the Benny Wilding section above to view.

Cemz on letters and Axe Lalime on shark, in Hochelaga.

Cemz’s piece for the Time Is Gold production, Scaner‘s final one.

In Côte des Neiges.

On a Hochelaga metal shutter.

At Plaza Walls.

On Ashop‘s wall in Hochelaga.

Cemz’s half of a long alley wall with Scaner. Close-ups on the 2 characters as well as a third one not seen in this shot are featured in the Benny Wilding section above.

Cemz (top) and Smak (ground level) contribution to the Scan You Rock jam.

For Ashop‘s Chemin Vert block party.

Five Eight (top), Skor (middle) and Cemz (bottom) with a bit of help from Earth Crusher, for the 2016 edition of the Under Pressure Festival.

On Ashop‘s wall in Hochelaga.

In a Mile End alley. A time lapse video of the making of this wall can be viewed here.

At the PSC legal graffiti wall.


Ether

Pieces in this section are shown in approximate reverse chronological order, so the most recent are at the top.

Les pièces de cette section de la galerie sont présentées en ordre chronologique inverse approximatif, de la plus récente à la plus vieille.

Earth Crusher and Ether on the side wall of a Plateau restaurant.

An off-Mural alley piece from 2016.

This mural in a central graffiti alley features Waxhead (left), Ether (central letter piece) and Turtle Caps (right).

Truck side.

The Boro wall for the 2014 edition of the Under Pressure Festival features Ether (top left), Mersh (top right) and Shok (bottom).

In Hochelaga.

From the 2013 edition of the Under Pressure Festival, Ether (middle letters), Scaner (bottom letters), Axe Lalime (bottom left), Serak (top letters) and Hsix (right).

A graffiti alley piece.

Ether (top) and Scaner (bottom), from a long Plateau wall involving more artists.

Detail of a Plateau wall which would be eventually be redone entirely by the artist for the 2015 edition of Mural Festival (scroll up to the Benny Wilding section above to view).

Ether’s part in a long multi-artist wall in a Plateau alley.

Ether’s part in a long multi-artist wall in Ville-Marie.

Cems, before he switched to Ether (top left), Scan (top right), Sage (bottom left) and Smak (bottom right) on this classic DA wall in Rosemont.


throws

Great spot in Chinatown.


tags


stickers and wheatpastes

These 3 different wheatpastes were also found separately.

Ether and Scaner wheatpastes.


other pasted work

A wood-up found in the Plateau.

A wood-up found in the Plateau. Also visible in this shot are a wood-up by Flavor and a Lego piece by Shifty Cat.

A wood-up found in the Plateau.

Mock storefront sign in Mile End.

Mock storefront sign in the Plateau.

A wood-up in Plateau End.

Mock storefront sign in the Plateau.

Mock storefront sign in the Plateau.

Mock storefront sign on St-Laurent.

A wood sign on St-Laurent.

Mock-sign in the Plateau.

In Mile End.

Off the 2019 edition of Under Pressure.

Off the 2019 edition of Under Pressure.

A pasted montage of Benny Wilding patterns and figurative elements, found in a Mile End alley.


other painted work

This sign for the closed Waldman fish market was hijacked by Benny who painted over a few letters to turn it into ‘Wilding’.

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