If the crew “the weird” rings you a bell, it’s probably because you’ve seen this placed on a burner of one of the most known members Nychos. However, the members of this German crew are each one more talented than each other just like Cone who is an illustrator, Graffiti artist and Designer from Munich. His strange characters often open our eyes to a world where technology, the concept of time and the human over consumption have taken place. Even the smallest details are noticed. No matter whether on a 5 meter wall than on a small format, his worry about each detail invites you to observe each of them with attention and the mostly likely thing is that his “flippable images” will mind fuck you ... big time. We’ve exchanged few words with this amazing and passionate artist.
Jacker / Hey Cone how you doing? Tell us where you’re from and how you got into graffiti.
Cone / Je suis trés bien, merci (speaks french). Munich is the city I was born, raised and where I started to find my way. In my mid twenties I moved to Sarrebruck in the south west of Germany very close to the boarder to France to study. Since I was a toddler I was impressed by all the graffiti that surrounded me in my hometown. Specially the pieces on trainsand of course the trains themselves. Besides that, there were always some dope spots like the old airport and other spots spread over the city where you could find plenty of great graffitis. There was a really good quality level. One day in school, an older guy from my neighbourhood showed me his black book, I took a look into it and was blown away. From that day onwards I knew that was what I wanted to do. The same guy also brought me into DJing a couple of years later, which made him twice an important person in my life.
J / How did you go from a more “traditional” graffiti to painting complex characters in your work ?
J / Obviously «traditional» graffiti always included characters and illustrative elements. If you have a look in books like Subway Art/ Spraycan Art, which where the first books about graffiti I held in my hands, there were plenty of characters inside. The sprayed walls and trains in Munich’s end 80s and early 90s also had a big impact on me. There where huge wall productions with a bigger focus on characters than on styles. The city had a bunch of incredible talented writers, no doubt. Additionally a lot of great artists from all over the world came for painting. As far as I can remember there has always been great characters painters like Won, Flin, Loomit and Scout just to name a few who I was fascinated by. Guess what... Almost all of them were quite good in writing styles too. So I started from the very beginning training both. At a certain point I did not feel the spirit for developing my own styles anymore so I focussed even more on the characters.
J / You’ve painted the majority of your drawings in black and white whilst the ones you paint on the walls are all in colour. Could you tell us more about your evolution and the difference between each of these ?
C / It may be not that well-known, but in the mid 2000s I had a couple of years where I painted quite sketchy walls, mainly black and white. Sometimes just one colour was added. This all happened at a time where I was looking for something new with no particular direction. My decision was to develop my style a bit more. Like a good wine. Sometimes the better ones need a bit longer until they have their right time. Throughout studying design I tried out a lot of techniques and new things. In the end I had a period where I almost stopped painting walls and drawing. On one hand I totally loved it on the other one I was so bored of it. I was looking for something different but I could not fix it. At a certain point I decided to start again and reduce my pieces – no effects and tricky techniques – to find a new way to myself and my style. This happened around 2006. It all took me quite a time, because I did not look around in books, blogs or anything. Music had a way bigger impact on me than visual input. Nowadays it is not a big difference for me if I paint walls or do a drawing. At least on my emotional perspective. Everything you do costs energy. Decide for yourself what to do with it and do not let the pressure of the expectations of others misguide you from your way. Meanwhile I know for myself that I need them both for a living, drawings and walls. It is like water and air.
J / “The Hypochondriac” has a strong meaning, could you talks us through this painting ?
C / «The Hypochondriac» maybe is just a painting with a more obvious «strong meaning». In fact most of the works I did in the past years have a deep meanings although they might be very simple in the first moment. You can tell so much through just a single character. Maybe it’s too hidden to get my point. But it is just my point.
« The Hypochondriac » is about your mind playing with your moods. We are the ones who decide what to do with our lives. It starts with every day. In the end we have to admit that a lot of problems we see ourselves surrounded with, are coming from the inside. This might be a bit foggy answer to you. In the end I am not the person who will explain my works to everyone. In my opinion it is not necessary for an artist to open the depths of his works.There is not THE one way to read it or an ultimate explanation. I am the creator, father and mother of my imaginary. Hopefully my kids will be born in good conditions, grow up well and be able to talk for themselves.
J / Your Crew “The Weird” seems to be a big family, you do a lot of paintings together, could you tell us more about the story of the crew and how you’ve put it together ?
C / The Weird really is something very special for each of us. In this constellation we met first in 2011 when Nychos invited a bunch of us to Vienna. We spent there almost a week together just painting, drawing and having a great time. We felt a extraordinary connection within this constellation – on the artist side as well as on the personalities. Being character painters for many years we had quite a lot in common. We met again half a year later when DXTR invited us to a music festival. Almost all of us had the same thoughts in between these two happenings : We shall try to meet more often and collaborate, so let’s be a crew, collective, team or a multi headed weird something. We decided to get another three artists in the team who were not present at that time. A ten headed melting pot was born. It took a couple of days until we had our name. ‘ the name is concept. Not that we have the obligation to paint only odd shit. The Weird is a free, open minded spirit. No boundaries in the work as an artist. One important aspect is that we try to do several things together every year. This is a way harder task than you may think. Organizing ten people spread over different parts of Germany and Austria can be a monster. Luckily it goes better with every project we do as a crew. Nevertheless we are still individual artists which was important to all of us from the very beginning on. Everyone has his/her free space to develop a own artist personality and own projects. There is not a certain concept or master plan behind The Weird. It was just that it felt as a good and necessary thing to do for all of us.
J / Thanks for answering all our questions. Finally what are your next expositions/exhibitions ?
C / The summer belongs to The Weird, a couple of crew trips and productions are planned. In September I will appear with my man SUMO at Dave the Chimp’s collaboration only exhibition in Berlin. In November is again a solo show planned. It will take place in Soest, Germany. Thanks a lot and peace to all of you.