The new Converse One Star Pro City Pack has launched this month drawing its inspirations from four distinctly unique metropolitan environments; London, Paris, Berlin, and Milan.
Across Europe, the One Star’s legacy continues to expand and grow and the new collection launches with community at the heart. To celebrate, Converse has partnered with local creatives and collectives to capture the unique spirit of each city, showcasing the perspectives by locals for locals.
Since it first debuted in 1974, the Converse One Star has been a sneaker of choice for those seeking a different path. It has always been a declaration of belonging in skate culture, making it an extension of local identity.
Secure the Converse One Star Pro Berlin City Pack HERE now.
We set out to explore Berlin with Converse All Star Marina Monaco (IG) diving into the local scene and her inspirations drawn from the city.
Where are some of your favourite places to eat and drink with friends in Berlin?
I only drink beer so my favorite bars are 8mm, Tennis Bar, Loophole, Laidak. For food a must-go is Han West – a mixture of dumplings, baos and fries with peanut sauce. Sounds weird but it’s actually amazing. You have places from all over the world!
You’re Berlin-based. In what ways has the cosmopolitan feel of the city impacted
I would say that the feeling of being an outsider -in a good way- has impacted my work. Coming from the other side of the world (Buenos Aires) made me very sensitive to the foreign, to the unknown. Gives you perspective. As a photographer, this could mean a huge advantage for the kind of photography I am focusing on more documentary.
What is your favourite part of living in Berlin?
My favourite part is the non-stop inspiration-stimulation (if that word even exists?) you can get all the time. And you don’t just find it by going to art exhibitions or music gigs. You can find it in conversations with people that you have never met if you had stayed in your hometown. You find it in the small trashy bars. You find it traveling in the U-bahn and watching through the window. It’s everywhere. Leaving is tough. But the reward is indescribable.
Which Berlin-based artist/creative should we be keeping an eye out for?
You should listen to Nils Keppel’s music- he is Leipzig-based (very close to Berlin). He is an insane musician from Germany. I think, one of the best out there from the emerging scene. We worked together closely for a year. We shot 2 music videos and I started to take backstage photos during his gigs. I even took intimate photos with his girlfriend which was very personal. Brings me back to the good old times that I am inspired by. As a photographer, it’s a beautiful experience to capture someone who trusts you so much. Even though we don’t speak the same language we understood each other very well since
Tell us about some of the fun you have had working with Converse on the OS City
Pack and how the campaign and shoe itself has resonated with you personally as
a Berlin resident?
It’s always so relaxed with Converse! I love that. If they want to work with you it is because they trust your work and that’s something I appreciate a lot. They want you to just be yourself and push you as an artist. Alongside this article, I had the luck to also shoot the Campaign with other creatives from Berlin – Steffen Grap, Toni Agost and Camilo Gonzalez. Something I really liked about Converse is the way they trusted me with eyes closed (literally). I shot the photos on analog so we didn’t have the chance to have a look at how the pictures were looking until a few days after. In the end, the outcome was great! And I think it was thanks to the freedom I felt at the shooting.
How would you define your personal style?
It’s hard to describe because I don’t like to put things into boxes. I would say: second-hand-nostalgic-vibe-core + skirts, a scarf and leather jackets.
How do you express yourself through fashion and the looks you put together for
yourself and your work?
Like everyone else in Berlin, I like to dress in second-hand clothes. I guess because they keep the nostalgic vibe alive, plus climate change. When it comes to my subjects, I like to ask them to wear their own clothes. It is a must for my shoots that they bring their own outfits, otherwise, it would feel too fake.
What are your favourite pair of Converse in your collection?
I love the classic Chuck Taylor in black. Black is always good!
Tell us about some of the other creatives in your circle of friends and what you do in Berlin to have fun and relax after a hard working week?
I am a HUGE fan of my friends. They are all artists, which is really nice because we support each other. There’s a lot of love and admiration. One of my best friends Sofia (@_sms.xyz) is a graphic designer and a creative visual director (and many other things <3). I trust her opinion like no other. Then I work very closely with Julieta (@jxcolantonio) on my upcoming solo exhibition and book. She has a beautiful sensibility for finding your inner word and putting it into words. Every artist should get to know her. Also Dan Trautwein (@dantrautwein), my dear German colleague, director, and photographer. I would say we see the world with very similar eyes. The list goes on. We love cozy dinners under the candlelight, eternal existential conversations about how fast we are growing up together, and experiencing the city by going to as many exhibitions as possible.
What made you decide to be a Converse All Star?
I wanted to open up my circle of creative people from different disciplines, which is sometimes difficult. I also liked the way they support emerging artists, something you don’t see that often with brands. Converse has built a huge community around the world, we are all connected.
How did you venture into the world of photography? What was the catalyst?
I don’t remember when I exactly got my first camera, but I think between 10-12 years old. I got inspired by watching my mum, my aunt and my cousin capturing their memories – 3 important female figures within my family. Photography has always been a therapy for me. A way of capturing myself, my friends, my feelings. Especially a way of meeting new people. I used to be very shy but it was thanks to the camera that I found a connection to the outside world.
What theme or narrative runs through your work? What do you seek to interrogate with your art?
The feeling of nostalgia of lives that I never lived. Somehow, my pictures show a hidden world that is within myself. Also, “Youth” is a huge topic. I would say my series is an essay on the passing of time.
What’s your preferred medium of creating?
I can’t choose. When I am on a shoot, I go out with at least 4 cameras. My models laugh about it because I look funny wearing all of them. Each one has its own aesthetic. I would say I like analog photography more, but digital colours have their own magic, especially for catching the blue hour. Lately, I have been more into medium format. But if I have to pick up one, the cheap point-and-shoot is my go-to. It is always at the bottom of my bag ready for when I go out and I want to capture a moment that I want to
turn into something timeless.
Who are your core influences within the creative world?
Some to mention are Patti Smith and her way of living life as an artist. Susan Meiselas, I got goosebumps when I saw her exhibition at C/O Berlin. Olivia Bee and her nostalgic way of capturing life. Harold Hauswald with his way of capturing East Berlin. Jonas Mekas with his way of seeing images…
What is the work you’re most proud of?
This is a tough one. My ongoing series called “Kids Series” where I capture youth culture. If I have to choose, my most recent favorites are documenting the emerging music scene in Germany. The post punk and new-wave music of the late 70s and early 80s is a huge source of inspiration for me. Especially the photography of that era – that black and white, high-contrast, raw image. The way the youth looked, the way they expressed themselves.
Is there a defining quote, affirmation or mantra you live by?
“This is for the book.” – each time I take a meaningful photograph. It is a symbolic way to say that I want to keep that moment forever with me, and also for a future generation.
Where can we see your work? Do you have any projects or exhibitions planned for the future?
You can have a look at www.marinamonacoph.com or my instagram @marinaamonaco. I also have an important announcement: I will finally have my first solo exhibition at Art House Rising on the 27th, 28th, and 29th of October with some unpublished photos! I am also making my first zine. It’s a big step in my journey as I’ve never seen my photos on a large format paper before. Hope to see you there!
Photography: David Mesa