BASELGEDDON: NYCHOS Q&A
What do you write? Are you in a crew?
I am NYCHOS from the WEIRD CREW. We are all illustrators and work as illustrators of some sort. We paint walls together and are good friends. All of us live in Vienna and in Berlin mostly, some are in Germany. We have a really good connection and make projects together.
In what city did you start painting in the streets? Do you feel your work has influenced the community in return? If so, how? Is there a relationship between the artist and the community in which they work?
I started painting in cities in Austria, where I grew up. Vienna and Graz. Especially in Vienna I think the graffiti has changed the community. The main canal running through the city used to be empty. Nobody wanted to go there. Then we took it over, my friends and I. We painted the whole thing up and suddenly there started to be restaurants. People wanted to go running there and hang out, look at the art. It changed the way people relate to the city. I’ve seen it in cities all over the world.
Did you go to school or are you self taught?
Yes of course I went to school, I also had to learn math and geography like everyone else, haha .. I went to college for graphic design but most of what I do, I learned by myself. This kind of stuff you can’t learn from school. You have to just go into the streets and chase after it. You have to really love it.
How did you get started in the arts and why?
I was always attracted to painting and drawing. Cartoons influenced me quite a bit. I was obsessed with all kinds of comics. At first it was Batman, Superman and Spiderman, stuff like that. Later when I was a bit older it was the Ninja Turtles and stuff like Samurai Jack. I would pause the TV and just draw keyframes, copy the poses. I was drawing all day. Probably an unhealthy amount, haha. Then it led to graffiti, the graffiti led to murals, to art shows, paintings, drawings and here I am!
How long have you been working in the streets?
I started painting graffiti when I was fifteen and I never stopped. You do the math, haha!
Who or what inspires you the most?
I think it’s a bit of everything. Sometimes I just catch myself looking at specific colors or color schemes or whatever. Back when I was younger, I was really inspired by comics and I was always looking to make something very black and white, but now I’m searching for color schemes from the things I see. It's a constant development. I’m also really inspired by anatomy, nature, animals and metal. Always metal.
What should the general public know about street art? What stereotype about street art/graffiti do you hate the most?
That we still have to argue about whether graffiti is art or vandalism.
Are you a full time artist? Do you have a day job? Is it best to be full time artist or not worry about it and make your $$$ elsewhere, that way you can paint what and how you want, which one offers a more creative outlook?
Yes, I am a full-time artist. I am always working. The best thing about doing art for a living is it doesn’t always feel like work. It is my passion. I love it.
What are you working on now?
I just finished painting a huge dissected spider in Hamburg for Knotenpunkt festival, it was crazy! Right now I’m working on a few paintings and drawings and getting prepped for Art Basel in Miami. The big project is the documentary though. In the last few years we’ve been putting together a full-length film about my travels to tell a story about street art and graffiti around the world and the urban art movement. It’s called “The Deepest Depths of the Burrow.” I wanted to show what’s possible in one year of doing what I do. First of all we want to show how we do things here. Then we start traveling to Italy or to France, Detroit, painting walls and meeting artists. There are so many different places that have inspired me in different ways. Now, we have footage of it. The concept of the movie is based off of the idea of Rabbit Eye Movement---everything is connected. I've been thinking about this documentary for a couple of years now and I'm really happy to finally be able to do it.
What do you hope to achieve or accomplish by putting your work in the street?
I want to share with people what is possible. What artists with drive and passion can do. How art can change the atmosphere of an urban space, how it can open people’s minds. I want to inspire and push other artists who have the same drive. I want to travel the world and leave a mark in every city. To make people laugh and think at the same time. Make sure you watch out for the documentary, you’ll understand what I mean after you see it.
Check out more of NYCHO'S work..