Working in Language, Light, Paper & Space

You would have seen from our previous article on World Coffee Day and ‘Meet With A Poem‘. Ever since, we’ve become obsessed with Robert and Greta, the artists behind the campaign. Robert is famed for his brilliant poems in light, fire, watercolour and woodcuts.

We were lucky enough to catch up with Robert Montgomery and fellow artist Greta Bellamacina. Here’s how we got on. 

Robert Montgomery

Greta – your work is great, very different to anything us editorial girls are used to. Have you always known that you’d one day earn a living from poetry and art?

 “No one does it for the money, if they did they would be mad, but I think being a poet or making art of any kind is the most honest profession”

Robert – you’ve created many billboard poems, light pieces, fire poems and woodcuts. Is there anything left unturned that you’d like to explore?

 “I’ve started to make permanent or semi-permanent wall paintings on the sides of entire buildings. I’ve just done one of those in Ostend in Belgium for The Crystal Ship Festival, and Stavanger in Norway for the NuArt Festival. That’s an interesting new format for poetry for me. I’m really interested in taking concrete poetry to that scale”

Greta & Robert – have there been particular highlights of your career so far that you’re innately proud of?

Greta: “Having a baby, staying authentic to myself and continuing to work hard is what I’m most proud of”

 

Robert: “I think the point of art is to touch the hearts of strangers so I’m proudest of all the individual conversations my work has with it’s audience rather than any one big achievement”

Greta & Robert – Having worked in the media for a while now, there are pieces of our previous work that we adore and others that we wish would go away. Do you have a favourite piece of work?

Greta: “I’m particularly proud of my new collection of poetry “Perishing Tame”, published by New River Press, which is an accumulation of quite topical poetry from the last year or so— poetry about motherhood, the refugee crisis and other things I care about”

 

Robert: “I always hope my favourite piece of work is my next one— but I think the latest wall painting I just did in Norway is my favourite right now, again it’s a response to the refugee crisis, I just don’t think we are doing enough as a country to help with that and it is quickly becoming the big issue of our time. We need to show much more compassion and care for refugees”

Robert – As an artist, we imagine that your inspiration comes from a whole wonder of things. Do you have a particular process when it comes to researching and beginning a new piece?

“It varies, I often research the history of a particular city when I’m making work for that city, but then quite often I write about the phenomenon of the modern city in general and just about what’s in the ether of my mind” 

Robert – You’ve had some interesting collaborations aside from the most recent campaign with coffee roaster Julius Meinl. We’ve seen the Robert Montgomery for Each x Other collaboration and your books. What’s next for you?

“I’m particularly excited about an experiment we’re doing with Julius Meinl on October the 1st. We’re trying to make people change their social media and dating app profile pictures to a poem for one day and try to meet people via poetry. Me and Greta met because of a poem, so that idea is something very close to our hearts. You can find out more about that here

 

Learn more from Robert and Greta on Twitter 

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