Canned Goods Webzine, 2008

Badorf, 1995How old are you?

i was born in 1974, that makes me 34 years old this year.

How long have you been painting / writing?

i started drawing sketches and painted my first piece (welllll, it was a single letter, so it probably doesn't qualify as a piece in hindsight) in 1989.

How did you get into graffiti and what made you start painting?

a friend of mine pointed me to a graffiti wall in the neighbourhood of munich where i lived at the time. it was a pretty big wall full of big productions by some of munichs most profiled writers and i was simply amazed. i kept going back there, looking at the changing pieces all summer. after a while, i started sketching the pieces that were there and looking for more graffiti in town. when i found one of the most active halls of fame, i first saw a piece being painted and got some pointers about the culture behind graffiti. so i thought up a name and started doing sketches of my first own pieces. i painted my first actual piece to impress my girlfriend at the time - and even though she's not around anymore, graffiti still is.

How did you choose the name Neck?

i played around with isolated letters and then picked those i liked best - a bit of shuffling them around and there was the name.

Which crews do you write with?

cnskillz crew: ate1, efas, meric, moritz, scien&klor and seak. see more about their great work at

Where did you paint your first piece?

neuperlach, a district of munich, bavaria, germany.

Your letter forms are very abstract and three dimensional, were you one of the first to be involved with 3D letter styles?

one of the first from which perspective? flint 707, pistol and erni worked with 3D lettering very early, daim and delta were advancing the style around the same time i started doing 3D end of the eighties... i feel i was one of the first of that first really serious 3D wave, even though daim and delta were already getting public attention when i finally found my style in 3D. loomit started doing perspectives some time later, really pushing the limits of what we thought was possible at the time, working with extreme camera angles and blur... but i'd still say that was all part of the same movement, the same urge to develop something new in graffiti.

What are your feelings on the graffiti scene in Germany at the moment?

i couldn't really say. i've become this sort of reclusive writer, i've got a few private walls to paint on, i do a lot of digital design stuff so i can't really relate to young writers these days - i simply don't have any connections in that direction. generally, i welcome the rise of street art, bringing graffiti concepts into another different medium with stencils and stickers and the sometimes very witty and intelligent neckarsulm, 1999concepts behind those. concept and wit is something i often miss in traditional graffiti, writers seem to keep reproducing stuff that's already been done and developed. there are only very few people really trying out new ways and new perspectives.

You've done many collaborations with artists overseas, where is the most exciting or interesting place you have painted?

difficult to pick one. i immensely enjoy painting abroad, not for the sake of painting itself but because graffiti has offered me som many opportunities to see different parts of the world that i probably wouldn't have been able to see left to my own devices. graffiti has taken me all over europe, to the united states, to iceland, to japan, to hongkong... each and every trip was an experience, and the pieces i did there were just reflecting that - a kind of elaborate world-wide tag trip.

How often do you travel overseas to paint?

whenever an opportunity presents itself : ) sometimes more, sometimes less, it depends. sometime graffiti is the reason for the trip, sometimes it's just an opportunity on a trip i'm making for different reasons.

Graffiti has now led you to a fulltime career as a designer, was it a long journey to get to this stage?

well, from the first piece in 1989 it took 12 years until i took my first fulltime job as a designer in 2001. from a general interest in the arts to the pretty specialized interest in graffiti to a broader perpective on design... that was quite a journey to take, but it was fun at all times and i'm pretty happy with where it has taken me so far. you learn at all times, and sometimes something stands out, grabs your attention and steers you in different or more specialized direction.

Do you see yourself as an artist, a designer or a graffiti writer?

a little bit of everything - i like to think that all three aspects are visible in my work, whether it's a graffiti wall, design work or a website. to me, everything comes together in what i call "hybrid art" as what i do is always a mixture of all these aspects.

How much of a graffiti element do you try an inject to your designs?

i'm not trying to do that on purpose. but what i learned about concepts, typography, white space, colours etc while doing graffiti simply honed my sense of style, of beauty. so i guess there are subliminal elements of graffiti in the design work i do even though they may not be openly visible.

You are involved with many websites, do you design and build all these yourself?

that's become quite a hobby, actually. i run a few websites:,,,, and a few more. for all of these, i made the concept, design, i built them and maintain them - when i get around to it, at least. not all of them are graffiti-related.

Is there any one point in your career you would class as 'your big break'?

hmmm... big break is probably the wrong expression, but moving to düsseldorf and founding cnskillz with meric, moritz and efas was the point where things started tp take off for me graffiti-wise with magazine recognition, travelling and stuff... before that, i mostly painted for myself and wasn't really connected to the scene. on a larger scale, getting the first fulltime design job, winning the first design awards for my work were two more moments i'd consider important.

What do you see as your greatest achievement to date?

i'm working on a book right now - seeing that project through to the end will probably be the best thing for a while : )

Have you ever had your work displayed in a gallery and if so is there any one exhibition that stands out from all the rest?

yes, my works have been in a few shows, but the one that stands out was off the wall exhibition in 2004 - we organized the complete event, it was a great venue and the turnout was amazing. some images of the show are still online at

What do you think of the way graffiti is just a likely to be found in a gallery as on the streets these days?

i think it's a good thing graffiti has found its way into the art world, allowing people to make a living off it and being recognized as artists for it. at the same time street graffiti has not disappeared but is still going strong with new influences coming into it every day, keeping the foundation of the culture alive. Bronx, 2006there are still painted trains going through town as well - graffiti has simply made its way into the mainstream, which some might see as sellout, but the subculture is still very much alive as a counterbalance.

Do you prefer doing legal or illegal pieces?

legal. it's always been that way for me - i work for the concept, not for the thrill. i like to be able to take my time and to do some finetuning on the piece when i can see what i'm doing. that's just what i see in graffiti - but that's probably different for each and every writer out there, so there's no universal truth to be found here.

What is your preferred medium for making marks with?

spraycans, preferably belton and websites. weird combination, but those are my two favourites.

Do you have a favourite piece of all time?

no, not really. it takes some time, usually a few years to find out which piece were worth the work and which were only a pastime... a few of my personal favourites of all time can be found in the poster gallery:

pieces by other artists that i really like are online at, a site i specifically made for this purpose - to show pics of other artists' pieces i photographed.

Who are your favourite graffiti artists?

that's a tough one. a lot of different artists inspire me, so i wouldn't say they're my favourites, but they have had and still have an influence on my work. i won't mention any names here because i could never make a comprehensive list.

What kind of music are you into?

i don't discriminate : ) i grew up with electronic music like front 242 or depeche mode, run DMC and public enemy were my introduction to hip hop, when things get on my nerves i just love pantera and devil driver, the funniest live shows i've seen were demented are go! and zombie ghost train, LTJ Bukem is perfect to work by and so on and so on...

What is the last album you bought?

sepalot - nine rounds of heavy weight. german hip hop producer sepalot of blumentopf fame covers classic ac/dc tracks.

What are you working on currently and what plans do you have for the future?

i'm trying to finish my book and i'm getting married this year : ) we'll see what comes after that.

this interview is © 2008 by jon / canned goods and o.gelbrich / neckcns. please ask permission before using this in any way.

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