After the sudden loss of Bender last Thursday, fans and friends from around the world have paid tribute to the Canadian artist in variety of cool and touching ways.
In Bender’s hometown of Ottawa, where he was born on July 19, 1980, a group of his friends from the art/graffiti community have created something incredible on the famous wall at the Ottawa Technical Secondary School.
Ottawa artists Phil and Dom Laporte, Dan Metcalfe and Myles Regnier didn’t waste any time coming together to create the Bender mural in honour of their fellow artist and friend. Dom knew Bender for over a decade so he pulled a bunch of friends into a group chat to mobilize the memorial’s creation.
We dropped down to visit some of them on Sunday while they were working on the mural’s background, and discussing the text that they were going to be adding under Bender’s face.
It was a bit cold and windy, but actually much warmer than it had been in recent weeks. The temperature was the least of their concerns but it was nice that they weren’t trying to get this done in harsher conditions. They would have though. Their dedication to Bender was clear.
Bender is mostly known in the hip-hop community as an accomplished battle rapper, and a member of the group Flight Distance, but his talent extends well beyond that. His portrait work is nothing short of amazing, and he deserves more recognition for that side of his talent set. Have you seen his Ice Cube, Eazy-E or Biggie portraits? Unbelievably dope. Probably my favourite in the massive collection he put together.
It’s why this memorial is such a perfect way to honour him. He would have loved it.
Bender was only 37-years-old when he passed away in Montreal. The cause of death has not been released, but his older sister recently discussed the possibility of it being related to sleep apnea.
Check out the video below, along with a collection of photos we took of the mural.
Update: We’ve also added a clip with commentary from Dan Metcalfe.
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