Street art crew The Weird, were founded in 2011 when ten members based throughout Germany and Austria came together to transform urban centres internationally. They all come from a graffiti background and focus on high-quality character design in unique, recognizable styles. They work as artists, graphic designers, illustrators, and lecturers. Each one a serious heavyweight styler, they prefer a maverick illustrative way of designing, no matter if the artwork is private or a commissioned.
A collective of character painters of this aptitude is quite rare, even in the graffiti world. From the very first group production on, the different artists and their styles combined perfectly. Working together in a group that big is not as easy as it may sound. Everyone with experience in the creative field knows how hard finding matching styles can be. Especially when trying to merge them in one piece of artwork. That, and the friendship among all ‘Weirdos’ gives a perfect base for a pretty special artist collective.
Pretty much everything has the potential to be inspiring. Dreams, relationships, nature, people, conversations, art, movies, music, travelling, meditation… life in general. – Cone
The Weird were commissioned to paint a 2500 square foot mural during the Liquid Art Festival in Hamilton, Ontario in June 2018. We took a deeper dive into their creative process while Vidam, Cone, and Rookie travelled overseas to share their insane talent with us.
What is your creative process like?
Vidam: I have a list where I write down funny or stupid ideas, that just come to my mind. Its very long and full of crap but sometimes I go through and think about if theres some potential to execute one of these silly ideas. Then I start sketching, nowadays mostly digital. Some ideas never leave the digital stage, some become paintings on wood and others murals or designs for campaigns or something. I love listening to decent technomusic while I’m sketching and to long audiobooks while executing the sketches.
Cone: There is not a certain recipe I follow. It also depends on the technique I am working with. The process of creating a print is quite different for me compared to doing a mural or a digital work. Most of the time I start with tiny thumbnail sized doodles. They are pretty rough and hardly anybody besides me would recognize something, I guess. It is a little bit like fishing for new Ideas. When one does strike me and it feels right I continue with a little bigger sketches that are a bit more defined. In this phase I focus on points like the composition and play around until it feels good. Next step would be sketching the master drawing on the final madium. Finally comes the inking and whatever technique is required to finish the piece.
For me it is always important to leave little undefined gaps within the artwork. During the process of the production new ideas emerge that may increase the quality of the content. Therethrough the potential of surprising myself is higher and I am not only executing an image I already had in my head. Not that this is something wrong. I just prefer if the process of drawing is a vibrant one. It challenges a e a bit more, I guess.
A collective of character painters of this aptitude is quite rare, even in the graffiti world. From the very first group production on, the different artists and their styles combined perfectly.
Who or what influences your art?
Vidam: Everything surrounding me influences my art somehow. I listen to a lot of audiobooks and podcasts, thats where I get a lot of inspiration from definitely. But also my neighbourhood or my root in the tiny village or my family and friends have influence of what I decide to paint.
Cone: Pretty much everything has the potential to be inspiring. Dreams, relationships, nature, people, conversations, art, movies, music, travelling, meditation… life in general. To be honest I am not one of the artists who are consuming a lot of art. Sure, I know quite some and I know what I like, but I am always open for new and curious to learn more. I do not own a big collection of art books and magazines. Also surfing in the interwebz is somehow exhausting for me. All this (visual) input overwhelmes me quickly.
How’d you get started as an artist?
Vidam: I always drew and as a child I wanted to become a Disney-Illustrator. Later I discovered comics and Graffiti and even more later Graphic Design. I liked the idea to design the everyday surface as a graphic designer and startet my career in this field, but by time I realized that illustrating and painting is even more satisfying and since then I try to make a living by doing this kind of stuff.
Cone: I was born and raised in Munich, a super vibrant city for graffiti in the 80s and 90s. In ’93 I began with graffiti, in ’95 with DJing. Elder guys that were in my school and active in those scenes introduced me to these worlds. Both, art and music, were things that fascinated me from my early years on. Years later I accidentally worked as an storyboard artist for TV stuff and commercials. After that I had to do community service in a child’s hospital and during this year I decided to study. There were so many techniques that I was corious about and wanted to learn. Besides I needed some more time to find out who I am, what I want to do and to develope my style. So I moved to another city and studied communication design although I never felt very attracted to the world of art as a way of professionalism. It took me quite a while to admit to myself that I am an artist and that I want to do it for a living. After graduating I co-founded with five friends a design agency with a free spirit. That’s pretty much it in a short form.