Acquainted with the Night

Nychos is a rising star of the Viennese and international graffiti scene. He gave us a look into his life as a street artist from a beach in Maui, because even outlaws need a vacation

Courtesy of Rabbit Eye Movement

Who are you?
I am Nychos, a graffiti artist and illustrator from Austria.

You created a platform for like-minded artists in 2005. Tell us about it.
I founded Rabbit Eye Movement for all the artists out there who are active in the urban art movement and needed a place to express themselves.A lot has happened since 2005, we made a lot of progress and moved forward. There is no finish line we want to reach with the movement – what we hope for the future is to connect more people with what we love to do.

Going back to the very beginning, how did you get into graffiti?
From a young age I always liked drawing and painting. When I got older I got into graffiti because it had something more powerful to it. It was a different way to express oneself. There is an aspect of respect to it. You actually have to think hard about what you want to put out there before reaching for a can.

How did your love for anatomical art begin? How do you achieve such a high level of detail?
Growing up, my father and his father were both hunters. So anatomy, skeletons and dissection has been all around me since I was little. It inspired me in my drawings and definitely influenced my style. I don’t have a medical background; I do a lot of research and sometimes spend hours hunched over anatomy books. The devil’s in the details. It gives me the freedom to play around – keeping high standards, but not forcing myself to be anatomically correct.

What advice would you give today’s beginners looking for inspiration?
They shouldn’t let themselves be restricted by others. A lot has already been done and you can find inspiration in anything. Just try to find your very own interpretation and style.

What inspires you?
I find inspiration in daily life, movies I grew up with, music, old drawings or sketches, as well as my friends’ work.

Tell us about your beginnings, before the art projects and the international commissions. Was there a time when you worked in the shadow of the night?
I still work in the shadow of the night. I like it there. (laughs) Before the big commissions I was more restricted in terms of where to paint and how much spray I had available. This made me more creative because I had to find different ways to express myself.

Did you get into problems with the authorities?
There’s a time in an artist’s life when problems with the authorities might not be avoidable but that time is past.

Where do you think the graffiti scene is heading?
I don’t think it’s possible to say the graffiti scene is heading in any specific direction. There are more and more new techniques, styles and genres popping up.
Graffiti and street art are getting more attention through social media – some feel that this is making it too mainstream – but it’s also a chance to get bigger and better walls.

What does Vienna mean to you and where do you see its graffiti future?
Vienna will always be home for me in a way. It’s where Rabbit Eye Movement started and also where I started and developed my skills.  Vienna is still very restricted when it comes to graffiti. Sometimes Vienna’s bureaucracy holds back the scene’s potential.

Your graffiti projects are getting bigger and bigger. How do you prepare for an XXL mural?
Usually by picking a good metal playlist. (laughs) With the big murals it really helps to visualize it first. See the wall, if possible in person, but most of the time that isn’t an option. So I try to get as many pictures of the location as possible in order to have a clear image in my head.  The process is a bit longer, with sketches and picking the right colors, than it would be with a smaller mural. Nevertheless, you can’t plan everything. Sometimes I need to improvise and come up with something new on the spot, which is difficult, but I like a challenge.

Is there a big difference between painting at night or during the day?
Of course the end product is different when you paint in daylight. But after a while you know the colors by heart and it doesn’t make much of a difference.

Ali Rabbani
Creative director and stylist for film and print. He studied fashion in Vienna and has worked all over the world in styling, set and food design, as well as art direction for advertising and fashion shoots, videos and shows. See his work @iamrabbani

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