Any long-term Lisbon resident could tell you about the many ways the city has changed over the last decade, but Nick Mrozowski, a former Lisbon resident and New York native took these observations a step further.
Nick Mrozowski lived in Lisbon in 2009 and 2010 and recently decided it was time to make his return after 12 years away. Back in New York, Nick works as a freelance creative director and decided to take a two-month break in order to reacquaint himself with the dynamic city.
On May 3rd, Nick’s flight took off en route to Lisbon. During his travels he recalls, “Mais Doze kind of popping into my head on the airplane and I was like it sounds nice and kind of seems like it could be something.”
The Mais Doze zine was launched in a party on a remarkable terrace near Jardim do Torel. The space fell with contributors, friends, and those featured in the zin – a crowd of supporters.
Mais Doze was created with the goal to represent how the city of Lisbon has changed in the twelve years that Nick has been away. Keeping the theme of 12’s, he and his team of contributors searched for 12 subjects, all living in Lisbon, to interview and gain insight into how the changes have impacted them.
When on the search for subjects for the zine, he received numerous references from friends and local journalists suggesting people they thought would be valuable to cover. But, these were people who were already being represented in the Portuguese press, so he turned those offers away with a different approach in mind.
“I want people that are not already in the public eye… that are just people who live here, that’s who I want to talk to… it was like mixing things in a way that a local newspaper or media outlet maybe wouldn’t give so much space to such a person. The stories weren’t about the news, they were just about regular people.”
With that idea in mind, he decided on the 12 subjects that were featured in the zine. Ranging in age from 12 to 53, the zine covers an array of different personalities and perspectives.
While the zine itself resembles a traditional newspaper with large pages folded into each other, Nick’s innovative creation would outshine any typical newsprint. The front and back covers display the names of each subject, all highlighted in different colors as if in a way to express the differences in each of their stories and personalities.
Focusing on some of the economic changes that Lisbon has undergone, the first participant featured was Martim Avillez Figueiredo , an investor who hired Nick when he made his first move to Lisbon. Martim’s interview discussed not only the Jornal i, the newspaper Martim had hired Nick to work as the creative director, but also the issues surrounding real estate in Lisbon.
Avillez debated factors that are contributing to the rate that housing costs are rising and compared those rates to the salaries of Portuguese people. Being a businessman, he was able to give an interesting perspective on the competition in the housing market in Portugal compared to other countries and how that competition is affecting the people who live here.
Anne-Claire is a Parisian woman who has lived in Lisbon for over two years. Just a week before the launch, Nick met Anne while in a wine bar and he approached her to ask if she would be interested in participating. In her interview with Nick, she revealed that she came to Lisbon for the quality of life in the city. Anne-Claire was at the launch party. She had a very positive outlook on life in Lisbon, as well as life itself, and shared that “A lot of good people and beautiful things are surrounding me right now in life.”
The last participants to be featured in the zine were two 12-year-old “besties”, as they are described in the zine. Nick planned to interview just Julia, but Alice was over for dinner that night, so with the double interview, we get a deeper glimpse into what it is like to be growing up in Lisbon.
Nick chose to interview them because “they have been here for everything I’ve missed,” an intriguing way to view this passage of time. The two girls talked about everything from which social media platforms they use to their relationship statuses and their future career goals.
Nick returned to New York the day after the launch party, so it also served as a sort of goodbye party to him and his time in Lisbon. Although he is leaving, this is not the end for Nick in Lisbon as he is already planning his return to Lisbon as well as the possibility of a second edition of this project.
“There are a whole bunch of people who I wanted to interview, but didn’t get to. I thought this was going to be something that I did once, but now that it’s finished, I feel that I have some unfinished business here,” said Nick. Nick’s creation of the Mais Doze zine is a beautiful testament to the changes that Lisbon has undergone and it allowed a few of the people who have changed with it to share their stories as well.
“Understanding the place by speaking to the people who are here,” was Nick’s goal for the project and the zine fulfilled that.
*Kate Popielarcheck, 20 years old, was born in North Carolina, USA, and moved to the American coast to study Communication and Journalism. She always dreamed of studying abroad and wanted to do it in a city that was by the sea, but also dynamic – that’s how she found Lisbon. She chose Mensagem to do an internship, under the CIEE Summer Global Internship program.