ReturnWe Were There - XVIII: Os Gemeos Paint the Factory
Os Gemeos, Jordi, Nina (2003)
The Montana Colors “factory”, which today functions as the Montana Air aerosol packaging plant, is an unmistakable installation largely thanks to a huge intervention by the famous Brazilian artists Os Gemeos and Nina. Today we find out how the mural came to be a reality.
GRAFFITI BEGINS TO GO PRO
By 2003, the new Montana Colors facilities were fully operational. A spacious purpose-built premises in a new location was constructed, featuring more efficient and safer procedures and a vision of growth that could adapt to the global proliferation and media explosion of graffiti, as well as the newly baptized “street art”.
The early 2000s were prolific years for graffiti and aerosol art. Graffiti writers and artists began to become more professional without ever having to stop painting large-scale walls. Events, jams and festivals brought together artists from all over the world, offering larger and more visible surfaces to paint, and the means to do it.
Montana Colors would once again bring innovations to the unstoppable trajectory of the graffiti world. The rebirth of the brand and the creation of the new facilities deserved to be honoured appropriately.
"To celebrate the opening of the new factory, I want the entire exterior of the building to be painted with graffiti - and I’d like Os Gemeos to do it.”
- Jordi Rubio Rocabert
Kapi & Jordi (2003)
WHY OS GEMEOS?
Around the turn of the century, Kapi - the former owner and founder of Game Over Shop, the first store to carry Montana products - was working alongside Jordi Rubio in the commercial management of Montana. Kapi was still active in the graffiti scene and kept in touch with many of the friends he’d made during his time as co-editor of Barcelona Game Over Magazine. Through the exchange of photos and copies of the magazine with publications in São Paulo, Brazil, he was in direct contact with several writers in the area, including Os Gemeos and Nina. During the latter half of the 90s, the twin brothers visited the city of Barcelona several times and got to know the city well. Thanks to several visits and even more painting missions, Os Gemeos left a legacy of pieces spread around the Catalan capital.
Kapi documented everything he could for the following issues of the magazine that he produced with Moockie, and documented dozens of walls featuring the work of Os Gemeos. One day whilst flicking through the photos, he showed Jordi Rubio a few pieces. Jordi was especially impressed with an image showing a character on the wall that cast a painted shadow onto the street floor. Jordi considered it as something new, beyond what he was used to seeing up until then.
When he decided that the new factory would be decorated with graffiti, he had no doubt that it had to be painted by the boys from Brazil.
THE EMERGENCE OF NEW CONTEMPORARY MURALISM
The very idea of graffiti artists customizing the installations of Montana Colors was a declaration of intent. Montana was willing to show the world its absolute respect for the scene and its appreciation for the constant support it had enjoyed. This decision would prove to be inspired, since murals of that magnitude had been previously untouched by graffiti writers. It would also show an entire professional sector how graffiti could be an architectural solution, examples of which can now be seen in cities all over the world. With this idea in mind, in 2007 Montana visited several international construction fairs with a showcase its products as well as a presentation entitled "Graffiti as an Architectural Solution.”
“We presented the idea at several expositions, but perhaps we were judged as ‘crazy’ due to the lack of interest in the stand. However, over time our intuition was proved right and this presentation surely contributed to the recognition that the movement known as ‘new muralism’ currently has.”
-Jordi Rubio Rocabert
Montana Colors Stand at Construmat (2007)
A VERY SPECIAL LINK WITH OS GEMEOS
Kapi contacted the brothers, still little known outside of the graffiti world, and asked if they wanted to take part in the project. For little more than travel costs and a few weeks' stay, Os Gemeos willingly accepted and invited Nina to collaborate on the final mural. Montana's resources were scarce in that period of recuperation, and this generous act on the part of the artists served to create a bond of friendship that has endured over time and resulted in further collaborations. Os Gemeos were the artists chosen for the first exhibition at the 2004 opening of the first Montana Shop & Gallery Barcelona, and the first artists to create a design for the new Limited Edition series of Montana Colors aerosols.
And so in the summer of 2003, the finished mural marked the rebirth of the Montana Colors project after the destructive events that had occurred in the previous two years.
Defending graffiti in public, Jordi Rubio has often been asked whether he would be happy if someone painted his house. His answer? “My house is already painted.”
ShareMarch 04, 2021