Montana Elevates With New Platform: Tramontana Magazine / Issue 03

This March we were in Madrid hosting three days of BSA Talks at Urvanity Art Fair and while we were there, Esteban Marin, the director of Contorno Urbano Foundation, introduced us to the Editorial Director of a new magazine; Tramontana. Antonio Garcia Mora, un tio mu majo, as they say in Spain, impressed us with his knowledge and enthusiasm, showing off the first two issues of the perfect-bound volume. Unfortunately, due to our duties within the art fair, we didn’t have much time to visit with him and then the fair was over and we all went to our different countries and about our business.

We’re happy to see that the quality perseveres at Tramontana as the magazine publishes its third edition of the year, and its editorial standards continue to be very high. Rarely do we see a magazine these days that is so well edited, designed and with extraordinary, well-written content.

Leveraging its history as a Spanish aerosol paint manufacturer and art supplies brand that many within the graffiti/Street Art community use and laud, Montana Colors here ventures into a contemporary direction with the trappings of and subtle refinements more often associated with galleries and museums. It’s a safe bet at this point, but they’re not resting on their laurels – this is cut above what we’re used to seeing in terms of content, documentation, preservation, storytelling, and even academic detailing.

Don’t worry; you’ll also enjoy it. The Spanish/English format is open and accessible, the reasonably short essays and interviews are good for today’s attention spans, the balance of text to images and graphics suitable to one another. You may long for a glossy richness of image occasionally, and undoubtedly that is coming, but the design supports without overwhelming or calling attention away from what amounts to a textbook of the moment for the thinking fans, students, and collectors.

Issue 3 boasts interviews with people like photographer Martha Cooper, filmmaker Selina Miles, impresario Roger Gastman, graffiti writers Shiat, Ellas, muralists Shan and Spok. There is a condensed history of Punks and City Kids in 1970s-80s Amsterdam by Remko Koopman, an interview with teacher/author/photographer of NYC trains Craig Castleman as he tours Europe speaking, and an essay on the elusive quality of originality by conceptual Street Artist SpY.

You also get a one-shot impression of Amsterdam graffiti and an extensive train bombing background story on Chilean-Canadian couple LOS KEOS with Mr. Garcia Mora. From that interview, the world-travelers share their influences, techniques, and negotiating their way through variable legal/penal systems of different countries, but we also learn about the social interactions with writers and crews.

“We have met many people over the years, not all of them well-known. The best relationships are the ones where we share more than just painting: our lifestyle, our political thinking, the desire to go out to explore a city and learn a little about the local culture.”

The intersecting cultures of graffiti, Street Art, urban art, and Contemporary continue to blend, reorganize, and propagate. Tramontana appears poised to capture and communicate with respect the history, techniques, soft and hard sciences that all convene to study the movement, where it moves.  

Tramontana Magazine is published by Montana Colors under the guidance of its CEO Jordi Rubio Rocabert and the Editorial Director Antonio Garcia Mora. This magazine is free.

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