by Alberto F.

Montana Women’s Month presents “On Track” – an exhibition in Porto produced by artist Marina Marco and curator Marta Ferreira.

On March 5, the Montana Shop Porto inaugurated “On Track” – an exhibition of work by Marina Marco. Hung on walls and clothing rails alike, the intriguing output of this artist brings together the world of fashion, art and graffiti through intricate techniques that optimize the powers of pressured paint.

The prints, reminiscent of everything from floral shapes to explosions of crystalline geometry, are equally as effective on canvas as clothing. Marina presents this small sample of her work to reflect on her passion for painting and her relationship with MTN Hardcore.

“I started painting graffiti in my teens, my first shot at it was with MTN Hardcore, shortly then I started to feel interested in art. MTN Colors always stood by my side in my artistic path.

“My work looks back at my childhood memories, these moments that mark your life journey and therefore your identity. Looking up to my grandmothers and the sewing knowledge I acquired from them is one of my main inspiration sources, therefore I decided to weave this concept with the MTN Hardcore predecessor, the classic design.

“All of those who feel close to the graffiti community will agree with me on the fact that this can represents an iconic emblem, far from being just a spray, I rather imagine it as a cultural and historical object, bearer of stories… Personal, unique and unforgettable anecdotes that must never die away in silence.”

The exhibition caught our attention, not only for its content but also the location. We wanted to delve a little deeper into the context of Marina’s work, as well as the reasoning behind the presentation MTN flagship store in Porto. We got in touch with the artist and Marta Ferreira, manager of the Montana Shop Porto.

Marta, how did the idea for this exhibition come about?

Marta Ferreira: I’ve really liked Marina’s work since I first saw it. Apart from the fact that she’s a very young woman with super attractive ideas and a lot of potential, the technique that she uses for her paintings seem super interesting and innovative. I also really liked that she has started to use the same technique in clothes for the “Hereditary” line.

“We have to educate the public and teach them new things, and what Marina does is both new and different.”

To what extent do you think Marina Marco’s work will appeal to the store’s regulars?

MF: We have a very diverse public, that’s why I think that the exhibitions also have to be different from each other. It can’t be all about graffiti or illustration. We have to educate the public and teach them new things, and what Marina does is both new and different.

How was the opening?

MF: It was a super cool Saturday, with lots of friends and regulars. A few more randoms passed by and stayed for a beer and hang out. Marina created a playlist with some of her favorite songs for the day and that made the day special too.

Marina, why did you chose the title “On Track”?

Marina Marco: I selected this title because of how I work in my creative process and, therefore, pictorial development. Reading the words “On Track”, we do not identify at first glance the idea to be treated, and this lexicon brings us closer to terms as different as time, road, path, trace, line or trail.

My goal was always to weave links between the identity of Montana and my work. “On Track” embraces both ideas from the synthesis, touches on themes that are very present in my work, in the same way that it illustrates elements of graffiti.

“(…) it’s undeniable that graffiti represents a masculine world and fashion is closer to the feminine. (…) I find it interesting to blur the limits and create tensions.”

In your work, the sophistication of fashion and design is mixed with the dirt of graffiti. What messages can you suggest to such different audiences?

MM: I like to play with opposites, or as in this case, between things as disparate as fashion and graffiti. Until recently, I didn’t want to attribute gender issues to my work, but it’s undeniable that graffiti represents a masculine world and fashion is closer to the feminine. Of course, I speak from my personal experience, having been part of both extremes, I find it interesting to blur the limits and create tensions.

The canvases are only part of your work. What do the canvases represent to you?

MM: I’ve been painting since I was very young. I think the canvases correspond to my comfort zone. In 2019 I experienced a period of blockage, I went a whole year without painting, it seemed pointless to me.

I eventually returned to painting. I’d like to think that opening towards other disciplines has helped me to know myself better and to make my work something more sincere and personal.

Canvas is currently a format that satisfies me, but I am also more open than ever to approaching new techniques and collaborating with artists who work in other areas.

Your favorite piece of the exhibition?

MM: I’ve never been interested in color in excess, it is a subject that I don’t usually work on. Normally, all my work is black or blue, I don’t feel comfortable adding unjustified content, and I try to make everything present respond to something.

In this case, I have abandoned my comfort to reinterpret the classic design of Hardcore, an exercise that really enjoyed. However, because of my love for the color black, both for its symbology and visually, my favorite piece is the work in black on raw linen, a piece that represents my most personal work.

On Track” by Marina Marco shows from 5 March to April 1st 2022 at the Montana Shop Porto. We talked to Marta Ferreira when the MTN Shop Porto opened in 2021. Check out the interview here.

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