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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".

From tag to piece, the

From tag to piece, the Migrantes Valientes (Brave Migrants) message increases its significance. MC When you started graffiti, did you come up in the usual graffiti contexts of getting a tag, doing throw-ups and pieces, and then trying to improve and perfect your craft on walls or trains? Or did your focus on migration take hold of you from the beginning? for it. Mexico City was practically clean back then and very few marks on the walls could be seen, though graffiti actually first arrived via Los Angeles, California (in my knowledge) around 1990-1991 in impoverished areas outside of Mexico City such as Ciudad Netzahualcoyotl. That place was quickly renamed in the graffiti scene as Neza York for the large amounts of graffiti you could find there. I would make expeditions from the other extreme of the city at the age of 14 to document what I could find. I would then develop the films and copy the tags and throw ups and few pieces on paper. It’s important to highlight that no internet existed at the time so hardly any information would flow as it does today. It was very hard to find graffiti in the city and every time something appeared before my eyes, I would snap it and cherish it like a gem. The way I lived graffiti in the 90’s like many others belonging to that generation and before that was that graffiti was kind of a secret and to find out anything about it was not easy at all. MC In your formative years, was there a graffiti mentor or leader working at a level that you were inspired by and aiming to reach? PA During the first years of discovering graffiti, I did not really have a specific graffiti inspiration except magazines that I would collect. I tried to collect every single graffiti magazine that came out like Fat cap, While you Were Sleeping, 12 Oz Prophet from the USA, Back Jumps, On the Run and Backspin from Germany or Xplicit Graffix and Molotow Coctail from France etc… but my real buzz came when I could get my hands on Graphotism from the UK due to my connection with that country. In the year 2000 I met Ekla, a Parisian graffiti writer who had migrated to Mexico to live and paint. He was the one who really had an impact on my interest in graffiti and taught me the basics and more on how to paint metros etc. PA I started in the same traditional way as most do; initially by defining my name after attempting other names. Then throw ups, pieces etc. Most of the names I previously used were connected to black metal bands since I was heavily interested in that music genre. My first names were Rocker, Venom, Burzum and Mayhem. Once I was able to feel comfortable with the name I still use today, later on I discovered where freight trains were parked and used to watch people travel on them. I had no clue that they were migrants coming from Central America. This is going back to 1999 when I first encountered migrants on the trains. My graffiti partner and friend who still goes by the tag of Meek would throw rocks at them as he explained that they were enemies. During the first years of discovering graffiti, I did not really have a specific graffiti inspiration except magazines that I would collect. Meek was associated to a Mexican gang from the USA called Sureños 13 and was all about protecting his barrio. I had nothing to do with that culture and since I came from a different social background and environment, I had not been exposed to this violence that prevailed in that area of Mexico. Although my vision in graffiti was always kept to aesthetics, I often remember writing messages against the war that took place in Iraq in 2003 onwards, pieces in support of rebel movements like the EZLN which protects the rights and autonomy of indigenous communities in the south of Mexico (mainly in the state of Chiapas) or of the students movement in Mexico City who were fighting to protect the autonomy and free education for all. MC Are any of those former graffiti pursuits relevant to your graffiti practice today? PA Indeed. I actually defined them and split them into two now. I love painting graffiti for aesthetic reasons and a little bit of an ego burst feels good every now and again. 64 Artist in focus/Interview Pablo Allison

→ For many, Pablo Allison’s photographs are their first contact with a completely different reality. ↓ Regardless of where he went, Allison found graffiti in all its forms. Artist in focus/Interview Pablo Allison 65

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