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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".


↑ “COMPASION”. Reminding us to be compassionate. ↓ A postcard for home. For most, an image of a place they would rather not be at. That said, I do like to try and stay away from that sometimes as it can become quite toxic and destructive. The whole aspect of today’s concept on words I paint stems from my incarceration in prison in the UK in 2012. I was sentenced to 19 months in prison of which I spent a third of that time behind bars. It was during that time that I managed to read and learn a lot about freedom and decided to redirect some of my interests into wanting to convey a message that went beyond writing for a graffiti scene. MC During your experiences and the capturing of the photos in your projects like the “Artists in violent contexts” button on your website, was meeting up with other writers the same as connecting in any other country? Or is there a whole different procedure when in a violent city? I was sentenced to 19 months in prison of which I spent a third of that time behind bars. PA It was just like meeting graffiti writers that I would have the opportunity to meet in less violent countries. In fact, graffiti was the opening door. Had I introduced myself as a journalist or a photographer, I reckon I would not have been able to approach the people in the same way. As a matter of fact, I was recently in Iraq to expand on this particular project you refer to and wanted to interview urban artists. Introducing myself as a graffiti writer as opposed to a documentary photographer helped with the access and trust 100 percent, I think. 68 Artist in focus/Interview Pablo Allison

MC Are you received as an insider or outsider when doing graffiti in the migrant context? PA I would say that I am seen a little bit in between by others. It has been incredible to detach from the individualistic promotion of a name. It goes through stages with deciding on either to paint my name or a socially driven idea. For instance, when a Migrantes Valientes pieces is made, I really like and appreciate if someone wants to join forces on the phrase. Having said that, it also helps me to challenge my styles and practice over word combinations and keep it flowing and moving along the way. So much empathy and support has been shown in countries in Europe towards this subject matter. MC How does it feel for you when you are then doing pieces or murals in other (non-violent) countries with the migrant theme? Do you feel as if your voice is being heard or is it falling on deaf ears when everyone else is more or less safe, healthy, and wealthy? ↑ When more is more. Alison creates a visual space that is flooded with messages by way of letters, color, and illustration. PA I definitely feel it gets heard actually. So much empathy and support has been shown in countries in Europe towards this subject matter. All the walls I have painted and the people I have had the great opportunity to collaborate with has been something I never though was possible or that I even planned in the first place. Seemingly, even graffiti writers I have a lot of respect for have been very keen on this idea of words that mean something in a social context. I obviously did not invent this social aspect of graffiti as other extremely talented graffiti writers / artists such as Lee and Revs just to name two, have inspired me an awful lot. We had been travelling for many weeks and all the migrants (men, women, and kids predominantly) were exhausted. We had been scared off a few times by alleged criminals along the way. ↑“THE BEAST”. A little less confronting as a mode of transport when it’s embellished with graffiti. ← “PEACE”. The corner stone of every immigrants drive to leave their home. I had never planned to paint phrases like Migrantes Valientes in the first place. This came spontaneously whilst travelling with a very large group of migrants( approx.. 700 people) on a train within the state of Sinaloa. I jumped off the freight train and the first thing that came to mind was the message in support of migrants and from there on it resonated with people. MC What is the most moving experience you have had while painting graffiti and where was it? PA I have had a few luckily but I think the most moving one of all was when I painted the name Arriba los Migrantes Artist in focus/Interview Pablo Allison 69

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