ReturnInterview with MTN Shop Amsterdam
Welcome to the first interview of the Montana Shops series: a monthly chance to get to know the people and the stories behind the Montana Colors Shops. Each conversation will reveal the soul of the stores as we find out who is behind these social hubs of graffiti and street artists in the retailers established around the world.
This month we take a trip to the Dutch capital to visit the veteran spray paint seller Henk Kramer, a name known to any writer who has been through Amsterdam since the late 80s and now runs the Montana Shop Amsterdam.
Who are you?
We are the Montana Shop Amsterdam Henxs team. Henk is the owner of the shop. Jeroen has worked in the store for many years in sales. Nick is the new guy, he has lot of knowledge, lots of energy and a good taste in music. Sven, a veteran graffiti writer, is in charge of the web shop. He does the sales but most importantly, our web designer knows music. Thijs, who was part of the team 20 years ago, is now back and in charge of social media marketing.
Where is the shop is located?
We are based in center of Amsterdam, near the old jewish quarter. The nearest metro is Nieuwmarkt.
Tell us the story of the shop opening.
Henk opened the shop in 1988, having previously sold paint on the nearby outdoor markets to writers from all over the country. Following a visit from Montana Colors founder Jordi Rubio in 1996, they agreed to carry MTN products and established the first Montana Colors Shop outside Spain.
How would you describe the community of artists that come through the shop?
All sorts of people, not just graffiti artists. From street artists to architects and DIY enthusiasts, we have Montana Colors products for everyone.
Which spots do you recommend to visitors for painting or checking out spraycan art?
We always recommend the legal spot Flevopark to go and paint legally. There are many other spots but they are changing all the time. Graffiti in the centre is buffed regularly.
What can people find in the store?
We have an extensive range of Montana Colors products. The 94 range is our best seller, but we also sell plenty of Hardcore and MTN Pro. We sell vintage clothing in other part of the shop.
Are there any galleries in Amsterdam that show graffiti-related exhibitions?
We actually used to have an exhibition space in the shop, but we decided to stop that activity, as the art crowd in Amsterdam weren’t receptive to our shows. These days you can check out the O.D. Gallery or the new Street Art Museum.
Are there any famous artists or celebrities that have paid you a visit?
Yes! Some legends have been through, like Terrible T-Kid 170 and Seen. The South Korean photorealism master Royyal Dog paid us a visit recently, and Chris Brown - who is a writer - once came down with his entourage to buy paint before going to do a wall in Amsterdam.
We also has the pleasure of serving Princesses Catherina-Amalia of the Dutch royal family, one of our only customers to have a true crown!
What can you tell us about the playlist that you’ve compiled?
We think music belongs to inspiration for making art street art or graffiti. In our shop it’s very important to create the good vibe you need to pick your colours.
All the members of the team are deep into music but the first tracks have been compiled by Henk and reflect his old-school interests. Each month we’ll be adding to the playlist with help from the rest of the team. And let me tell you: you gonna be surprised.
The cover art was designed by resident writer Sket 185.
ShareNovember 04, 2020