Maria MontesSpeakers, 2019
Maria Montes is passionate about illustration and letterforms.
Her practice is set by the principals of constant learning, sharing and educating about the creative process. Her artworks are based on ideas, where the process becomes vital as it explains the design rationale behind each piece. Above all, Maria has a story to tell.
“The Melbourne-based designer and artist creates intricate, nostalgic and downright FUN lettering and illustrations out of her studio in Fitzroy, where she also runs workshops teaching others the art of writing. Trained as a graphic designer, Maria Montes studied in Barcelona in 1996, where learning calligraphy was compulsory. After spending over a decade working in the field, she decided to re-explore letterforms, resulting in a postgraduate course in Advanced Typography, followed by a year-long stint and further study in New York City. Her journey ultimately ended in Australia, where she’s been living, working and loving over the last 12 years.
In 2014, the universe had plans for a career shake-up for Maria. “The contract I had designing textiles for major international fashion houses ended abruptly”. Maria made good use of her new-found freedom, and began practising calligraphy as a daily exercise. Soon realising others shared her passion for calligraphy, she developed a series of workshops, held at her Fitzroy studio. Working out of one of Melbourne’s most vibrant, creative areas, Maria finds inspiration in the community around her, and strength in the reciprocal support of other women. ‘I am surrounded by students and creatives who respect and support my practice,’ she says, ‘Listening to more female voices in the industry means a lot to me; they encourage my work and help me to build confidence.’” – words by Sally Tabart from The Design Files
In 2018, Maria released commercially Green Fairy, a seven-style chromatic font family highly ornamented for display purposes. On that same year, she opened her second solo exhibition at the Art Centre La Panera in Spain. This show is a retrospective of her last five years of personal and commercial practice. This exhibition is currently touring to the Art Centre Tinglado 2 in Spain, and it will be open to the public from June 21 to August 4, 2019.