One thing's for sure: He certainly knows how to stretch and bend the law. It was in 2001 he started painting on crosswalks, road signs and buildings. With his spray cans, wild patterns and endless imagination he illegally gave the streets of Montreal, Canada a whole new character during dawn. The controversial artist had, in the beginning, a desire to raise awareness against transportation issues with his symbolic painting.
But in 2004, he was arrested and charged with 85 a total of mischiefs. He faced as much as 100 000 dollars in fines and even imprisonment. While he began being heavily unpopular with the police, he was being praised internationally. The police and legal system assigned Roadsworth actions as vandalism and as a threat to public safety while Gibson maintained stating that the actions only threatened the corporate monopoly on public space.
Many people claimed that the city had handled the situation wrongly, and instead of accusing on unsteady grounds, Montreal’s supervisors should be encouraging a compromise and even collaboration between graffiti artists, the public space and sector.
After the arrest it wasn’t the car culture that was being focused on. Instead a debate about freedom of expressions in public spaces rose. Roadsworth continued with his tour in Europe after the trial, both legally and illegally painting cities.
In 2008, the movie Crossing the line was realised. The 72 minutes long documentary was a portrait of Gibson. The documentary was about Gibson’s life and struggle to defend his work. In the documentary we learn that his inspiration primarily come from another similar artist, Andy Goldsworthy.
In 2011 the anger in Gibson's hometown must have settled as he was invited to propose an idea for Eaton centre Mall in Montreal. It took seven years before proving the matter in 2004 actually was incorrectly operated.
He spent eight months together with Brian Armstrong collecting and processing recycled material for an ecosystem installation in the mall. Thousands of plastic bottles and hundreds square meter of cardboard made the basics of the installation, called Fragile.
The purpose with Fragile was not, as Gibson himself expressed in an interview, to urge people to recycle more but to convey a feeling of awareness in general.
Gibson also worked with the Canadian indie/pop band Stars. The bands song Dead hearts was appointed as soundtrack for the movie Like Crazy by Drake Doremus. Gibson directed and made the artistic editing in the music video. To watch the video, click here.
To see more amazing of Peter Gibsons work, visit his homepage here.