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Montana LOOKBOOK #08 / 2023

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MontanaCans LOOKBOOK 2023 Issue #8 It's that time again to welcome the release of the Montana Cans Lookbook 2023 edition #8. There is no rewind button on life, making it all the more important to reflect on the year that was, and the things that happened during that period. The Montana-Cans Lookbook does just that and reflects on some of the highlights from the year prior. A moment to reflect on those things that may not have received as much shine as they deserved while being "in the moment".

The Words of the BeAst

The Words of the BeAst Pablo Allison is a British/Mexican artist that has managed to take many of his interests in his art-making practice to a new level. A level that not only requires great effort to live like his subject matter but also an experience that requires the taking of immense risks to avoid the ending of his life and incarceration. Bringing with it a new understanding for the outsider, and on a creative level for the universal viewer. Location Mexico Profile @pablondon2 Photography Pablo Allison ↓ Waiting for the train, but not one you can sit inside. 62 Artist in focus/Interview Pablo Allison

An ongoing project by Pablo Allison In one of his projects called “The Words of the Beast“, the artist focuses on three elements that have at some point all entered a crossroads and merged into one communal direction. Those three elements are graffiti, migration, and photography. Based on the experience had by migrants traveling from Central America, through Mexico, and into the USA and Canada as their final destination, Allison’s creative journey started in 2018 with his own personal experiences of freight train hopping. Experiences that soon brought him into the thick of the migrant trail which leads most migrants to the USA where they all expected to find peace, safety, and a better standard of living. → Migrantes Valientes (Brave Migrants). Allison's nod of solidarity to his immigrant colleagues. ↙ “RESIST” just one example of using empowering words in his artwork. The clock hands have turned around countless times since his preoccupation with migration began. As too has his use of the spray can as a tool to write the words that express the feelings lived by illegal immigrants on a daily basis. Strong words that impregnate his pictorial space like Migrantes Valientes (Brave Migrants), Compassion, Fear, Exile, Guilty, Power, Difference, and Unite to name a few. Words that with the support of Montana GOLD and BLACK cans have brought graffiti style writing to a new compassionate home. Due to the multifaceted levels of Pablo Allison’s work, we figured it was only right to speak to the artist himself regarding his own experiences and how he transforms them into the artwork he makes. Focusing on Graffiti on one hand, and Photography on the other, this is what Allison had to say. An interview with Pablo Allison By documenting this experience Allison has been at the coal face of the migrant journey. The common thread for all was escaping extreme violence and poverty. The glue holding this experience together for Allison was the camera and carefully chosen words that he painted in the universal language of Graffiti. The glue holding this experience together for Allison was the camera and carefully chosen words that he painted in the universal language of Graffiti. Allison’s choices to ride these freight trains that transport goods from Mexico to USA and Canada, also known as “The Beast”, put him in some extremely dubious situations. Situations that he realized were faced by these nomadic passengers every day. Situations like being robbed at gunpoint, being intercepted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers (ICE), and being detained for over a month. Experiences that enabled him to further his documentation of the obstacles and hardships faced by migrants as they attempted to make their way to so-called freedom. Montana Cans Your work today has such a strong connection to migration that we know little about you as a graffiti artist. What came first, graffiti or photography? Pablo Allison Both came at the same time though before I started to paint graffiti, I was documenting whatever graffiti-wise existed in the streets of Mexico City around 1995/1996. Making a parallel of how important photography has been to graffiti, I think we are more than aware of the significance of a camera in the graffiti culture. Without photography we would not have any documentation of this art form. Books like Subway Art and Spray Can Art play a quintessential role to this worldwide art form. Graffiti and photography have been my passports into worlds I perhaps would have found difficult to penetrate otherwise. MC Where and how did you start your graffiti practice? PA I started to notice graffiti in Mexico City around 1995- 1996. I did my first tag in 1996 without knowing that this was a culture that started in New York City. I had no idea that it was illegal to paint with spray-paint on the streets. A friend told me one day that I could get arrested Artist in focus/Interview Pablo Allison 63

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