As you may of heard, the soft opening of the Montana Shop Porto took place in June, with the announcement of the grand inauguration imminent. The locals have already discovered the focal point of graffiti in the charming Portuguese city, and this weekend marks the first exclusive product launch, featuring the crisp comic vision of Oker RUA. We caught up with the artist to get to know a little bit more about his city, his versatile approach to spraying walls and his new design for Montana Colors.
Can you introduce yourself to our readers? Name, crew, origin, home, profession and style.
I’m Mário Fonseca (Oker), from Maia (Portugal) and a member of Colectivo RUA. I took my first steps into the graffiti world back in 1999. Nowadays, my work is reflected in different areas: graffiti, street art, illustration, graphic design and photography. The versatility is something that defines my work showing different aesthetic approaches to my pieces. Visually, it’s something “fresh”. It starts with the colorful letters of graffiti and goes through illustration, with organic lines and animated characters, combining abstract shapes and textures that give a clean look to my compositions.
‘The versatility is something that defines my work showing different aesthetic approaches to my pieces.’
We’re stoked to see that you will be the first artist to collaborate on a drop produced by the Montana Shop Porto. Without giving too much away, how did you want to represent the city and the shop in your design?
The image of a train is a striking element in all cities, and in the graffiti culture too. I chose to represent one of the most important models in the city of Porto, the CP2000. However, this particular CP2000 is special. The fact as it has legs means, as if by magic, the character is able to make a tour in Porto, leaving the city more colorful.
‘I like having the right time to get involved in the theme or message, having time to do my research and often trying out new techniques.’
The shop isn’t officially inaugurated, but has been trading for a few weeks already. What do you think of the new Montana Shop?
There is no doubt, this store is one of the most important in Porto. We needed something more directed to our audience, and the Montana Shop has many material options, we can have access to a wide color range and, besides that, the fact of having some snacks and drinks makes it a place for artists to connect in the future. It is an excellent meeting place for our culture.
Your IG feed features a selection of bold ideas which seem to have evolved a lot in a short space of time. Do you spend a lot of time developing your ideas between publications?
Yes, each project is a challenge. I like having the right time to get involved in the theme or message, having time to do my research and often trying out new techniques.
You belong to a generation of writers who are just as comfortable painting letters as characters and murals. Do you think that the definition of graffiti is evolving?
I am from the second generation of graffiti in Porto, quite different to today’s scene. I have seen the culture evolving and becoming stronger. For many it is a culture, of course, for others it is just a technique. This causes some confusion between graffiti and street art. But even so I think it’s in a good way, as on social media as when we travel, we have access to incredible bombing and incredible missions, giant walls of fame and stylish tags with brutal flows.
We don’t want to spoil the surprise, but you can check out a little teaser of the new drop below, exclusively available at the Montana Shop Porto from 10am!