ReturnWe Were There - V: Aerosol Art 1994, the event that changed everything
One event would mark a milestone in the story of graffiti in Barcelona as well as launching Montana Colors into the international consciousness. It was a jam called “Aerosol Art”, held in 1994 at the Poble Espanyol, an open-air events space in the city.
When Kapi and Moockie opened the first graffiti shop in Barcelona with to the help of Jordi Rubio, there were lots of new possibilities to explore. A year later, in 1994, several things occurred that today are considered fundamental to the development of Barcelona graffiti. The stars aligned to pull off a special event on the weekend of June 25 and 26.
100 EUROPEAN WRITERS TOGETHER FOR THE FIRST TIME
“We’d been traveling through Europe since 1988, meeting and sharing experiences with writers from other cities, but it was the 1994 “Aerosol Art” event, the first “major” national event that brought together a large number of top-notch writers from all over Europe. This jam gave us the opportunity to share, learn and evolve thanks to the direct contact between everyone who was there."
Over the two days, thousands of people attended the “1ª Muestra Internacional De Aerosol Art” (1st International Aerosol Art Show) at Poble Espanyol, perched on the Montjuic mountain in Barcelona. 100 graffiti writers were billed with a few more filling the gaps. The weekend was spent painting live where many people got their first glimpse of famous artists of the time. Some met face to face for the first time, after years of writing letters sharing photos. But above all, it was the place where all those writers got to see and appreciate a can of Montana Colors for the first time.
"At that time, direct access to information was a very powerful weapon that allowed you to advance and stand out. I remember that, in particular, I was greatly influenced by the style and the vibes of the TPM crew from Heidelberg: Kane (Gonzalo Maldonado), Time, etc."
PUTTING BARCELONA ON THE MAP
While Moockie and Kapi dealt with a particular clientele in the store - the graffiti writers - the innovative concept of the store also attracted different characters, many of them with novel ideas. At the beginning of 1994, a new breed of writers emerged in Barcelona, young people who had had good quality reference material at their disposal from the beginning. These new players would change the scene, transform it with fresh habits and ambitious goals. One of these kids put the store owners in touch with his father, the director of an advertising and events agency called “CD Fires”. They connected and began to consider possible collaborations which resulted in the organization of the largest graffiti event in the peninsula to date. And so “Aerosol Art” was born: a meeting of 100 graffiti writers that aimed to grow the Barcelona scene by creating new links between Spaniards and the rest of Europe, whilst representing an artistic version of graffiti, at that point unknown to the general public.
At the event, visitors could walk between the areas of action, interacting with the artists for the first time, to understand them as well as admire their work.
SPRAY PAINT SPONSORS
The magnitude of this event was great exposure for the paint brand that wanted to gain a foothold in this new market. The opportunity was logically offered to Felton, who stood out as the best positioned brand at the time thanks to to their business relationship with the Game Over Shop.
However, in the months leading up to the event, Jordi Rubio had been working full-time to create a new product, with the help of Kapi and Moockie. If this new spray paint was to be made specifically for graffiti writers, an event of this size was clearly the moment for a possible launch.
But time was scarce for Montana Colors to fully equip over 100 writers, so a deal with Felton was finally sealed.
THE MYSTERIOUS BOX OF MONTANA
The prototypes of the Montana “Classic” can were being produced, but the event was just a few days off. Jordi suggested that Moockie and Kapi distribute some cans as gifts to the writers. The team from Game Over, who organized and curated the event, were reluctant to break the conditions they’d agreed with their main paint sponsor. So somewhat mysteriously, a box with 200 Classic 200 ml cans of black paint with the Montana Colors logo printed on the side began to circulate among the artists. Many had heard rumors of what was being created and they couldn't wait to try out one of the new aerosols.
THE TURNING POINT IN HISTORY
"Without a doubt, that event in Spain represented a before and after."
The festival ended up being a success on all levels. Goals were achieved new standards were set: no one had imagined that many years later there would still be top-level artists who thought that it was so significant. What is certain is that despite the legal problems that the organization and the Game Over Shop had with their sponsors, that day was truly a turning point for the protagonists of this adventure.
ShareDecember 01, 2020