Erwin Wurm

“Everything is sculpture,” says Erwin Wurm, and the Austrian artist puts that motto into action. Since studying sculpture in Salzburg and Vienna in the 1980s, Wurm has been reinterpreting the art form according to his needs and ideas. Going beyond its classic, three-dimensional shape, he turns even two-dimensional media such as drawings and photos into sculpture. Questioning accepted definitions, Wurm likewise challenges our perception of everyday objects: cars and houses become wobbly objects that are inflated and soft; a slice of bread morphs into a miniature stage on which rests a knob of butter sculpted into an actor; a sweater becomes a sculpture through interaction with a human being. The latter refers to Wurm’s seminal work, One Minute Sculptures, an ongoing series that brought him renown, especially after it inspired the Red Hot Chili Pepper’s music video, ‘Can’t Stop.’

One Minute Sculptures become sculptures only when a spectator interacts with it. The sweater is exhibited alongside explicit instructions on how it should be worn. The wearer then freezes in that position for as long as 60 seconds, transforming the sweater into a static, yet dynamic, sculpture. This simple concept can have a profound impact, especially on the performer. Wurm stumbled upon this realization when he tried mutating into a sculpture himself. The emotions that it generated convinced him to pass the challenge on to his audience.

We met the 60-year-old artist during his One Minute Sculpture exhibition at Städel Museum in Frankfurt. Just before we sat down with him, we interacted with the sweaters ourselves to understand the intended impact of the installation. We discussed how sculpting compares to gaining or losing weight, and how art serves as a chronologist of our time. Read more »

Jan 15, 2015 

Antwan Horfee

Horfee’s artistic past straddles both the official and the illicit. He studied at the school of fine arts in his hometown of Paris and he painted graffiti. Seamlessly moving between media, Horfee’s style is inspired by everything from European abstract painting to homemade tattoos, vintage animations and underground comics. Whether completing a piece in public outside or painting on canvas or sculpting, Horfee retains a signature style marked by powerful, vibrant color and loose edges. Proudly displaying their flaws instead of hiding them, Horfee’s works neatly blur boundaries between street culture and the restrictions of fine art.

With Traditional Occupations, his first show with Ruttkowski;68 gallery, Horfee challenges the power of prevailing standards. Where do they come from and why do we adhere to them instead of defining new ones? Even structures springing from subversive cultures eventually go mainstream. Whether we should accept them or re-interpret them into a contemporary revolt is a question of personal approach, one that surely depends on the extent to which we are occupied by tradition.

We met the French artist during the preparations of his show and discussed both its title and meaning. Read more »

Jan 7, 2015 

Alex Katz

In the early 1960s, there were only a few people in the world of art who appreciated the works of American portrait painter Alex Katz. At the time, abstract expressionism was more the fashion. Katz’s large-scale, flat paintings were regarded as too simple. Today, he is known as one of the pioneers of Pop Art. The 87-year-old artist still paints and presents exhibitions in galleries and museums around the world. He is always joined by his wife and muse, Ada.

We met Alex and Ada Katz in Spain, where the couple was visiting Katz’s solo exhibition, Red Hat, at Galería Javier López. We talked about the early days of his career, which included forays into fashion and modelling. Read more »

Sep 29, 2014 

Thomas Olbricht

Thomas Olbricht is a man of action. He studied chemistry, earned a PhD, then devoted himself to obtaining another doctorate in medicine. And after setting up his own endocrinology practice, he again dipped his hand into another profession, becoming part of the supervisory committee for Wella, the hair care label that’s today belonging to international consumer products group Proctor & Gamble. While successfully devoting himself to different professions, art also plays a major role in Olbricht’s story. Maybe it’s even art that ensures the evident balance to the 66-year-old’s electic life.

Olbricht is best known as a devout follower of German artist Gerhard Richter and his editions (Olbricht co-published the latest catalog of Richter’s works.) and his private museum, me Collectors Room Berlin, which opened four years ago. The exhibitions are compiled by international junior and established curators who each work out a specific topic, present a collection from one particular collector, or highlight Olbricht’s own “accumulation of things,” which is how he labels his collection.

We met Thomas Olbricht in his adopted home of Essen, Germany and discussed the source of his interest in art as well as his concerns about the art world today. Read more »

Sep 12, 2014 

Erik Parker and Todd James

Erik Parker and Todd James are both American artists. While Parker spent his childhood and youth in Texas, James grew up in New York, surrounded by graffiti. Today, the Big Apple is home to both, with Parker living in Brooklyn and James in Manhattan. And it’s not only the bridges that connects them. It’s their art, too. While they each have their unique style, their works have one notable trait in common: the color palette. And it’s that stylistic device that also links them to Peter Saul and KAWS, who helped introduce the two friends. While there is a no official movement that categorizes this quartet of artists, one could be about to emerge: an increasing number of exhibitions are showcasing their work as a group.

We met Parker and James in Madrid during the opening of KnockKnock, an exhibition at Galería Javier López that examines the broad influence of cartoon culture on art. And once again, Peter Saul, KAWS, Erik Parker and Todd James are presented as a group among other artists. Read more »

Sep 1, 2014 

Marina Abramović

Marina Abramović studied painting in her hometown of Belgrade before realizing that her own body was the best medium for expressing herself. Today, she is best known for her performance art that pushes the boundaries of body and mind while challenging the perceptions and acceptance of the audience and public. They include her 1997 performance, Balkan Baroque, where Abramovic scrubbed 1,500 cow bones for six hours a day while singing lines from Balkan folk songs of her childhood. In 2002, she lived in full view of the public at New York’s Sean Kelly Gallery for The House with the Ocean View performance. Moving among the gallery’s three front rooms, she didn’t eat, speak, write, read or sleep for longer than seven hours a day. The only thing she did do was drink mineral water and take a shower three times a day. And Abramović’s most notorious performance was The Artist is Present that she presented at New York City’s Museum of Modern Art in 2010. From mid-March to the end of May of that year, she sat on a chair for 721 hours doing nothing other than maintaining eye contact with the 1565 visitors who lined up for hours to sit in front of the artist.

Abramović has always generated criticism throughout her 40-year career, with people labeling her mad and in need of being institutionalized. Her career took a different turn more recently through collaborations such as the one with Lady Gaga, which introduced Abramović to a whole new audience. Predictably, she was then attacked for striking up a partnership with someone so mainstream. Critics say Abramović, who for years has preached the immateriality of her work, was selling out – using fame to enrich the Marina Abramović Institute that she is currently building up. But the performance artist, as usual, offers a different perspective. Read more »

Aug 19, 2014 


It’s hard to escape any form of communication in a world littered with signs and images. Offline or online, information or advertising, monologue or dialogue – every day is ruled by some form of exchange. So much so that we don’t even realize it’s happening. How has it become so subliminal? Perhaps we’ve become so used to this overload of data that we’ve developed an indifference to it. For sure is that it is under these conditions that graffiti thrives – building on a secret competition between rival signers. The act of spray painting is not necessarily political in the sense of criticizing current political issues. But it reflects a society driven by desires provoked through manipulation. Critics complain that graffiti is nothing more than scribblings and letters. But is it less meaningful than all those billboards and posters decorated with logos and brand names?

KAWS entered our urban landscape as a graffiti writer in the early 1990s. He left his mark on everything from water towers to freight trains. Then one day, he imprinted his writing on to advertising campaigns. Fascinated by their provocative appeal, he developed this approach further, eventually focusing on ads inside phone shelters and bus stops. The result is not necessarily more or less aesthetically pleasing, but rather, an intervention that questions our perception of everyday life. And it also puts the spotlight on the art, and KAWS himself.

Today, almost twenty-five years later, KAWS can barely believe how his life and career has evolved. He is now one of the pioneers of the Art & Toys movement, filling the gap between art and commerce through collaborations with brands such as A Bathing Ape, Supreme and Nike. He also opened ORIGINALFAKE, a store in Tokyo that sold art products and clothing, while painting canvases that exhibit in galleries and museums worldwide.

We sat down with the American artist to discuss the early days of his career, Pharrell Williams‘s influence, and doing business in Japan. Read more »

Apr 2, 2014 

Daniel Weissbach

Daniel Weissbach was only 12 when he decided to become an artist. While his first exposure to the field was through graffiti, he has since expanded into other disciplines – from works on canvas to mixed-media pieces to video projects and installations.

Whatever medium he uses, the 37-year-old Berliner explores concepts of time, momentum and eternity. It is again apparent in his latest exhibition at Cologne’s Ruttkowski;68 gallery. In Stellen, Weissbach takes things that escape our everyday perception and makes them visible and significant. He creates semblances of tiled walls recalling metro stations that adhere to strict geometric principles even as they deconstruct them. This results in a trompe l’oeil effect that first reveals how little we are aware of reality then compels us to question our perceptions, along with our environment and ego.

We sat down with him and spoke about his early days. Read more »

Mrz 24, 2014 

Selim Varol

Without doubt, every art collection is special. But Selim Varol’s has its own special charm. First, because he began building it up as a child, and second, because it’s one of the few collections that, next to art, is also dedicated to designer toys. Like art, designer toys can increase in value if they are made in limited editions. Varol doesn’t know how many toys and art toys he owns exactly, but one thing is certain – it’s too many to count. Not that the amount matters to him. Varol says it’s his relationship with the piece or the artist that is most important. “We have enough of banal everyday life where we lose energy,” he explains. “That’s why it’s so inspiring to collect and meet up with people who provide you with energy. Especially if these people don’t even notice it and do it deliberately.”

After Selim Varol exhibited a majority of his collection at Berlin-based me Collectors Room by Stiftung Olbricht in 2012, he showed it at CAC Málaga in spring 2013. We met Varol in the Andalusian provincial capital and talked about his childhood and why he will never grow too old for his toys.

Deutsche Version

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Jan 25, 2014 


Humor is a point of view that can be perceived in different ways and target different situations. It can serve as everything from a criticism of politics to a harmless stab at trivial, everyday matters. The humor of Danish artist HuskMitNavn distinguishes his work, which challenges the self, societal norms, and the unspoken.

We met HuskMitNavn as he prepared for his exhibition at Ruttkowski;68 gallery. The Hanging showcases HuskMitNavn’s work next to that of fellow artist Michael Swaney. The ambiguous title refers both to the everyday act of hanging art on a wall and the once-common spectacle of publicly hanging a criminal for the entertainment of the masses. Read more »

Jan 16, 2014 

Seonna Hong

Seonna Hong taught art to children after graduating from California State University in Long Beach in the 1990s. A few years later, she decided on a career change and began working in animation. Hong landed a job at children’s TV channel, Nickelodeon, where she earned an Emmy Award for her background work in the show, My Life as a Teenage Robot. Hong went on to work at Disney, Fox and Sony. Recently, she contributed to the visual development of the blockbuster movie, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2.

As she developed her career in animation, Hong also worked independently as an artist. She began exhibiting her canvases and prints in 1999 and continues to do so today, launching her first solo exhibition, Princess, in 2003. Hong’s paintings possess a quiet yet colourful graphical style, with clear layers differentiating the background and foreground. While she paints trees and buildings with sharp corners and edges, her figures – often girls – have rounded features arranged in geometric fashion. In 2005, Hong released her first book, titled Animus. Read more »

Dez 29, 2013 

Mister Cartoon

Los Angeles may be the most populous city in the U.S. state of California, but few people are visible on the streets. This is a city where most travel by car rather than stroll about on the sidewalks. Given the long distances, it’s almost impossible to survive without wheels. Mexican-American tattoo artist Mr Cartoon embraces this sense of remoteness. His tattoo studio is located in a sort of industrial area that’s almost as barren as a desert. A few parked cars provide the only signs of humanity.

From the moment we enter his studio, we can hear the buzz of a tattoo needle coming from upstairs. And we can see his style not just on skin, but also on CD covers and video games such as Grand Theft Auto. We sit down with the legendary tattoo artist on a balcony that straddles the two parts of the building – his studio and a sprawling garage for his cars. Read more »

Dez 28, 2013 

Emma Reeves

Emma Reeves is a true avant-gardist. Always ahead of her time, she doesn’t scout trends but shapes them instead. While she used to influence our visual culture at cutting-edge fashion magazines such as Dazed & Confused and AnOther, she now works with moving images. Reeves is the creative director of MOCAtv, the YouTube channel of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles.

We met the U.K. native in the Californian sunshine to discuss old and new media. Read more »

Dez 28, 2013 

Rik Reinking

When art critic, dealer and collector Rik Reinking showed a sprayed canvas to an auctioneer friend of his ten years ago, he received nothing but a disparaging smile before being waved aside. Reinking was one of the first to estimate the value of stencils, graffiti, stickers and pastings at a time when street art was not yet defined as art and when Banksy was regarded more as a pubertal vandal than an artist. “Whereas today, these exact people who amused themselves back then, kneel in front of artworks from, for example Banksy,” says Reinking. “And yet, the artwork hasn’t changed – just its image.”

Reinking writes books about art and buys art for others, especially for himself. His collection is composed of too many works to count, though it’s more than enough to fill several exhibitions. We met him at his office in his home in Hamburg. The shelf behind his desk is filled with books and catalogs. A quick overview suggests Reinking does not separate high and low art. He values the scrimshaw before him on the desk as much as the OS-Gêmeos guitar leaning against the corner. We spoke to Reinking about his collection and about a unique piece of art he purchased in 2008 called TIM, probably the only one in the world that has its own needs. Read more »

Dez 28, 2013 


Little is known about the French artist who calls himself Invader, except that he’s been invading spaces for 15 years. He leaves behind figures and images made from tiles and concrete, each reinterpreting Atari’s iconic 1980s video game. The signature creations began as an experiment, and then took on a life of their own after the artist noted the similarities between his mosaic-like works and the pixelated aliens in the video game that went on to inspire his moniker. Since then, Invader has literally been invading spaces worldwide, culminating with the installation of his 1000th character in his hometown of Paris in 2011.

Invader has invaded about 60 cities so far. It was only a matter of time, one could suppose, before Invader would invade, well, space.

We sat down with the anonymous artist after the film was screened in Brussels to discuss everything from his first installation to his out-of-the-world ambitions. Read more »

Jul 24, 2013 

Mark Ryden

Few artists produce works as eerily ambiguous as those by American painter Mark Ryden. His surreal images of cherubic children, mythical animals and other curiosities, deftly executed through traditional painting techniques, appear at once beautiful and cruel and blur the traditional categories of high and low art. We spoke to the 50-year-old artist about the inspiration behind his so-called ‘pop surrealism.’ Read more »

Jun 3, 2013 

Steve Powers

New York-based artist Steve Powers appears as unique as his works. He is wearing a turquoise rain jacket, red work trousers and sunglasses when he greets us at his Brooklyn studio-cum-shop, Icy Signs, his grey hair sporting a mad professor vibe. For those knowing Steve Powers, it won’t be much of a surprise that he sells letterings and signs with Icy Signs.

The 45-year-old artist started out as a graffiti writer dedicated to letters and style. Combining the first syllable of his first name and family name, Powers gave himself the alias ESPO, a signature that has made its mark all over the place. Since the late 1990s, Powers has been working on more traditional media, taking his illicit skills into the confines of the art world. He now devotes his time to classical art made of works elegantly adapted from his past, resulting in something Powers describes as “really fancy cave paintings.” Read more »

Mai 14, 2013 

Gabriele and Dieter Kortmann

For Gabriele and Dieter Kortmann, no place is too good for art. Their house in Cologne is crammed with artworks on every available surface. They stand, hang and integrate naturally into the surroundings, the way plugs and light switches might in other homes. There is art in the guest bathroom, the cellar and even the laundry room. In the foyer stands a Chinese terracotta horse from the Han dynasty, while in a distant room, a golden opium bed faces Councillor of Commerce, Richard Naether, as painted by Franz Stuck. The hallway is decorated with architectural photos by Boris Becker and a nude by Helmut Newton. And next to the dining table is a melancholic figure by Chinese artist Liu Ye.

We met the Kortmanns in their art-filled home, which they bought in 1994. The house was renovated by Heinz Bienefeld until his death, when his son took over. The result is a remarkable space that is stark enough to serve as a showcase for art, yet warm enough to feel comfortable and homely. Read more »

Apr 26, 2013 

Gilbert & George

Coming from similarly poor backgrounds that neither felt they fit into, Gilbert Proesch and George Passmore felt instant kinship when they met at St. Martins School of Art in London (now Central Saint Martins) in 1967. Since then, the pair has been inseparable – in both their private and artistic lives.

Gilbert and George, as they are famously known, put themselves into their work – literally. They describe themselves as “living sculptures.” Both reject the perception of art as elitist, so much so that in 2007, they offered one of their works as a free file download from the Internet.  “It was very funny because we started the project when we were in London and flew to New York that same evening, which is a seven-hour time difference,” they recall. “When we arrived, the maid who was doing our beds in the hotel already had it to get it signed. It was extraordinary.”

We met the artistic duo ahead of their solo exhibition currently showing at the Museum Küppersmühle in Duisburg, Germany. We discussed their early days, their sartorial preferences, and their peccadilloes. As they say: “It is not good to be weird, because all the silly artists are weird. It is not good to be normal because everybody is normal. But to be normal and weird is a very great secret in the mind.”

It’s an attitude that has won Gilbert & George all manner of fans while inspiring other artists including the Pet Shop Boys, David Bowie and Kraftwerk. Read more »

Mrz 19, 2013 

Robin Rhode

Although South African artist Robin Rhode paints in the streets, external walls do not fully showcase his art. They merely present an abstract excerpt instead – one that only becomes whole via photographs documenting the evolution of his work.  As such, the 37-year-old’s works are like urban theater or flip books rather than street art. Either way, they illustrate evanescence and our fast-moving natures.

After studying art in Johannesburg, Rhode traveled to Berlin for a three-month residency – and stayed. We met him in his studio in Prenzlauer Berg to discuss his relationship to graffiti and street art, and the influences from his native land. Read more »

Mrz 14, 2013 


Yoann Lemoine, aka Woodkid, started out as a graphic designer. After becoming interested in animated images, he decided to produce music videos as well. It wasn’t long before he started working with the likes of Katy Perry, Moby and Lana Del Rey. Along the way, Lemoine realized he wanted to make music himself. And so, a new identity was born. Woodkid is now releasing his first album, The Golden Age, which tells the story of his evolution into the multidisciplinary artist that he is today.

Everything about Woodkid – from his music, videos and overall appearance – appears to be the result of a smooth progression through all the creative fields. In fact, it is the culmination of a long, uneven path that wasn’t without holes and hurdles. Woodkid became who he is today not just by acquiring knowledge, but by realizing his talents and daring to use them.

We sat down with the Frenchman to discuss his fear of stasis, the appeal of Dior Homme and cheesy 1990s dance music, and how Chiaroscuro influences his work today. Read more »

Mrz 9, 2013 


To introduce this interview, we were only allowed to mention that it is about MOSES & TAPS™, the artist group also known as ERNI & BERT™ and TOPSPRAYER™. All details have to be kept secret. We are neither allowed to reveal the persons behind the pseudonyms nor what they look like. We cannot even mention where we met them. MOSES & TAPS™ proves that graffiti still hovers between unlawful and lawful expression. The artist group is well-known and famous for their spray-painted trains while nobody knows who actually receives the praise.

Their book, INTERNATIONAL TOPSPRAYER: MOSES & TAPS, gave us a first glimpse into the volume of their works. Now, their upcoming solo exhibition, TOPSPRAYER EXPRESS™, provides a new insight into their art, which reinterprets graffiti – stirring it up from their prevailing media.

We met with MOSES & TAPS™ and discussed their incognito existence, the Internet and their exhibition at Ruttkowski;68 gallery earlier this year. Read more »

Jan 16, 2013 

Filippo Minelli

Italian artist Filippo Minelli studied art and even graduated in the discipline with honors. But it was his childhood that shaped his sense for the visual: his aunt, who helped raised him, was deaf. Looking back at that experience, Minelli explains how it “trained him to look for the most simple way to express concepts in the presence and absence of speech.”

Minelli has been creating art for public spaces since the late 1990s. Traces of his work can be found all over the world, from European capitals and Southeast Asian cities, to more rural environments like the Italian countryside, the Mongolian steppe, or African deserts.

While Minelli is interested in geopolitics, he says he does not follow the daily news. He says it prevents him deciphering and portraying reality, or considering different directions.

We met the young creative and followed his career up. Read more »

Dez 10, 2012 

Stephan Zirwes

Stephan Zirwes recalls helping his father on amateur film shoots. “I am looking back to situations when we were hiking and I had to always walk twice for the camera. It was horrible in the very moment, but of course, I enjoyed the finished movie afterwards.”

And Zirwes continues to enjoy the impact of the visual today. He is a photographer specializing in images taken from the air, capturing everyday subjects from the rare perspective of a helicopter. By inviting viewers to look at the world vertically, the familiar suddenly becomes foreign, challenging us to reinterpret our surroundings.

Ranging from corn fields and scrap yards to festival parking lots and glaciers, his photos are conceived without consideration for proportions or ornamental structures. Their aesthetic consists in the fact that they were created without aesthetic intention.

Although his archive is packed with images, Zirwes continues to add to the collection. He is currently working on his first photo book, “Facing Pages.” It juxtaposes one image against another to illustrate both equity and diversity – whether in design, color, structure or content. Read more »

Dez 10, 2012 

Stefan Golz

It’s been nearly ten years since Stefan Golz and two of his friends started their own fashion label. They wanted to call it Remoto, after the Spanish word for remote. But the name had already been taken. So they swapped the R for a W. And that’s how Wemoto was born. The name does not sound Spanish, nor does it give any clue that its founders hail from the region of Rhine Main Area, in Germany.

The first Wemoto products were skateboards and t-shirts. Golz, the label’s creative director, had started his career designing the bottoms of skateboards. Inspired by his early role models, skateboard designers Sean Cliver and Marc McKee, he soon developed his own style. Charlie Chaplin, Albert Einstein, Karl Lagerfeld, Morrisey and Tupac are among the iconic figures that have been portrayed in Wemoto’s past collections. They have since become signature products and collector’s items.

We met the 35-year-old artist and designer at his home as he prepared for his solo show, All Ghosts, which opened at Saarbrücken-based gallery Neuheisel on November 10, 2012. Read more »

Nov 9, 2012 

Francesco Igory Deiana

“The only solution would probably be a revolution,” says Francesco Igory Deiana. The Italian artist fled his native country six years ago. He says Italy is “a spot of land without prospects,” a place where dreams have to be kept secret. And so, at the age of 21, Deiana moved to San Francisco – a city that allowed him to embrace boundless possibilities.

Deiana began piecing together his career while assisting other artists. His techniques are unique and form the basis of his signature style. He uses ordinary tools – ballpoint pens, bleach and photo paper – to create extraordinary works.

We met Deiana ahead of his first European solo exhibition, On Thin Ice, at Ruttkowski;68 gallery in Cologne. Read more »

Okt 29, 2012 


Whether it is an absurd photo that he comes across on the Internet or a book that he stumbles upon, it is the “everyday and the awkward” that inspires Dutch artist Piet Janssen. Whatever medium he works in, his style remains very much the same: human, yet abstract; plain, yet colored. And that hallmark is seen on canvas, in a sketch, a shoe, a sculpture, or even a laptop sleeve.

Janssen, who is more commonly known by his alias Parra, didn’t realize how successful he was until his first exhibition at London gallery, Kemistry, where his posters sold out. That was a watershed moment, and one deal soon followed another.

In tune with today’s embrace of all things glamour, pop and commercial, Parra’s signature style delighted the market and increased his exposure. Today, however, he is backing away from commercial jobs to focus on his independent artwork.

We met the 36-year-old illustrator in his studio in Amsterdam as he makes last-minute preparations for his upcoming exhibition at HVW8 Art + Design Gallery in Los Angeles.  He gives us a glimpse into the selected works and shows us some of his earliest works, too. Read more »

Sep 5, 2012 

Mark Jenkins

Looking back to the start of his career, American street artist Mark Jenkins puts it all down to luck. He was messing around with packaging tape when he accidentally discovered its potential as a sculpting material. His first life-sized figure made from tape was installed on the streets of Rio de Janeiro. That was nearly ten years ago. Today, Jenkins’s tape sculptures appear in cities all over the world. While the 42-year-old still makes his human figures out of packaging tape, he now dresses them in clothes as well, giving the sculptures a more hyper-realistic look.

Jenkins, who studied science, sees his work not just as art, but also as a social experiment. Once  his figures are installed on the streets, they develop an independent existence that he then monitors with interest. The figures push our sense of irony and humor up another level; more than just  figures, they question everything around them – accepted realities, norms and conventions. “If the city was a body, my works were like herpes,” said Jenkins. “The body attacks itself.”

We met up with Jenkins in Paris, where he just finished a project. We discussed everything from his early work to his latest sculptures, which resemble pelagic deposits. Read more »

Aug 23, 2012 


As one might expect of a boy from Brazil, Raphael Sagarra dreamed of becoming a soccer player. But another interest soon took over – graffiti. Sagarra was 16 years old when he observed some youngsters in his São Paulo neighborhood scaling buildings to leave their mark in paint. He was intrigued not just by their audacity, but also by the rhythm of their graffiti – the repetition of characters and strokes. From that moment on, Sagarra was hooked. He gave himself an alias – Finok – and developed his own style of graffiti: big-eyed, cartoon-like characters spray painted in various shades of green. Color is also key when Finok works with his crew, VLOK. Also involved are Brazilian artists, Os Gêmeos, twins who are famously known for their bright yellow characters.

26-year-old Finok is now a renowned graffiti artist in both South America and the U.S. He exhibits at galleries, produces large-scale murals on commission, and collaborates with big brands such as Ray-Ban and Havaiana, maker of Brazil’s iconic flip flops.

We met Finok in Summer 2012 in Cologne, Germany, where he had his first solo exhibition at Ruttkowski;68 gallery. Read more »

Aug 13, 2012 

Stefan Strumbel

It has been nearly eight years since German artist Stefan Strumbel bowed to the law with the utmost reluctance. He turned his back on graffiti and turned to legal art instead. Like pop stars who suddenly light up the sky of music, Strumbel stormed on to the art scene with a breakthrough installation – a reinterpretation of the traditional cuckoo clock.

The first person to buy one was a veterinary surgeon. Another memorable customer was fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld, who posed with one of the clocks in a self-portrait published in Stern magazine in 2008.

Strumbel, who is 33 years old, speaks as quickly as Lagerfeld and promises probably as much creative output. We met him as he prepared for his show in Karlsruhe to mark the 900th anniversary of the German state of Baden. Strumbel will be unveiling a monumental cuckoo clock in front of Karlsruhe’s castle, and exhibiting at the city’s museum and Schrade art gallery, where his works can also be purchased.

He spoke to us about his work in Germany, as well as the German concept of “Heimat.” It’s a word that has no English translation, but denotes the relationship a human has towards society and the idea of home. Read more »

Aug 7, 2012