By Marcio Parks y Juan Cruz Molas y Molas.
CONE THE WEIRD
The ultimate question
(We recommend you to hit play and read the interview while listening to this Cone the weird mix made exclusively for Subterráneo mag)
A corridor led us directly to a place that is not announced, has no halls or antechambers. Cone the weird gives us a landscape of hell, a dawn between streets and shadows, that feed a sensorial, mysterious and subterranean journey; a satellite of infinite messages, hidden among the walls, that originates, in exclusive, an iconic photograph of the Street art scene in Germany and Europe.
Are your characters a portrait of yourself?
Some of my characters come from a series of portraits, but a lot don’t. Over the years of drawing these portrait-ish characters they developed further away from this portrait concept into something else. They are little aliens with a tight connection to myself. All of my characters are like my kids. Some I treat well and even love them, others I don’t feel that much and I wonder where they came from. Somehow those feel almost like someone else drew them. In the end they are all weird little aliens who came to this planet from the Aether of my subconscious mind. Once they reached physical existence they grow by themselves. I just help them to come alive. A certain character emerged from the series of self portraits. It all came from the idea to replace writing my name in form of tags and styles in drawing these characters. Most of them helped me doing my personal research and experiments. Kind of a drawn form of meditation. They are the main element of my drawn poems. I like to reduce to the essence, that’s why I decreased to draw backgrounds and surroundings.
In general, I am not aiming to an illustrative way of drawing. The urge to communicate a certain message is something I do not feel very often. Furthermore I tried to develop a way of communication that gives you more freedom as an artist and brings me to new places and unexpected results. My approach was to search for new ways in expression through drawings and paintings.
How much of your own life is in your work?
Hmmm, how much of my life is in my work? Not sure about that. 7, 42, 79 or 100%? I guess it depends on the particular piece of work. If your work ain’t about personal content that’s okay. Artistic work always has a particular level of the creators personality within. For example I never felt like the kind of artist to drop political statements and messages. Cool if others do. I also don’t want to just draw “beautiful“ nonsense. After quite some years I realized that I love the poetic approach in art forms like lyricism, poetry or film. A personal view on (your) life. It is something you can share. Others might relate to it and/or interpret it by themselves. Personal content mustn’t be super explicit and show too much of your private life. In my case, I am not one of the kind who wants to be in a public focus.
Your work in general, the characters and places, among many other things, are they a picture of this world or do they belong to situations from another place, from another plane (or level)?
You mean another planet? Nope. Just here and now. Life already is stranger than fiction. All the things I draw might be allusions of things that happened in the past or thoughts about the future. In the end it is only a way of communication. Just take the drawings as they are and look what they do with you. Don’t think too much about the “why?“ and “what wanted the artist to tell us?“. Art is not an arithmetical problem with a certain result that everyone has to find out. If it speaks to you, fine. Look and listen to it, think about it and survey what it does with you. If it doesn’t touch you try out something else. There are plenty of things to discover. Every day lots of possibilities.
The human condition, the merely existential, we see anxiety, despair, chaos. They wear masks, they panic, they want to protect themselves. Is there an intention to show some criticism of something, or is it rather an inner journey?
Definitely more an inner journey. Lots of little drawn poems about life. But also a lot of little playful stuff with no particular intention besides the creating. A quest for satori, maybe. Rather than explaining my view I like to hear from others what they see. Let’s don’t talk too much about it.
The masks are a strong symbol in my eyes. They exist pretty much in every culture at any time on this planet. They were used for the most diverse reasons. I like its paradoxal nature. You show a face but hide (another) one at the same time. This kind of principle you find in many things.
Depersonalization, or derealization; two symptoms representative of chronic anxiety, means that things are alienated to oneself, that do not belong to this world, that everything is strange, and unreal. Did you ever feel alienated to your body, like being looking at it from the outside? That reality is not real, vague and illusory... that does not matter? Is this a frequent topic in your work?
That sounds almost creepy. I had an very intense outer body experience. It was one of the shortest and most intense experiences I ever had. There was no time somehow. Nevertheless this state didn’t last as soon as I realized it. I experienced a moment somewhere far far away, or maybe deep deep inside, both possible. All black like in deep space but light at the same time. I felt contentedness and no more questions. It was light but too heavy at the same time. It overwhelmed me. It disappeared in the very next fracture of a second. I was falling back into my body, my consciousness. Crazy cool experience that I am truly happy for but barely can put in words. The contrast and duality of things. This is something that keeps playing on my mind. Of course that is something you can find in my work. Another very important part of my life and my art is music. I am a nerd and loved music my whole life. I love what music does with you. Hardly any other art form touches you the way like music does. There is music for any mood. The way it feels when you listen to a certain piece of music is what I try to transform into drawings. Also some of my work titles come from songs/tracks that played a role in my life. Sometimes just a silly one.
How did you become Cone the Weird?
My parents had fun, i was born, grew up, did stuff, met people, did more stuff and suddenly… BLAMMMO!
Could you tell us a little bit about the street art scene in Germany?
Well, I don’t feel too much belonging to any scene. Not sure how much I can tell about one. Anyway. I know a bunch of artists, of course. Over the years you meet the most different kind of personalities. The ways of doing their form of expressions are as numerous as the personalities. The one thing in common: All of us feel that urge to produce. In the end each one has an individual philosophy about it. Some are more open minded as others, some tend to be in a group with a similar ideology. I am not sure what the “street art scene“ shall be. Who belongs to it and who doesn’t. Is it the real graffiti heads, is it the bunch of people who spread tons of “art“ in the streets (legal and illegal), is it the painters who are able to do huge sized murals? It is everything but homogenic. To handle it a bit better people from outside come up with labels like “graffiti art“, “street art“, “urban art“ and what not. The people I met come with a wide variety of backgrounds. Some from graffiti, some frome fine arts, some from tattooing, etc.. Eventually it just counts if someone is a real artist, has an own style and a certain magic in communication through his/her art.
I guess that they use this young art that takes place mostly in public places to make those cities a little bit more vibrant and attractive. A downer are symptoms of gentrification that are partly fueled by these developments.
- Cone the weird.
It feels like since the mid 2000s more and more is happening. After cities decreased the numbers of hall of fames more and more spots for legal painting are popping up. You can see more trains rolling around than ten years ago. Also art in and on trains that are not typical graffiti. Even conceptual art, what is super thrilling. There is an increasing number of galleries, art events and festivals that are orbiting around street art/urban art. Not only in the big cities like Berlin. Specially some smaller ones seem to focus on these young art streams. I guess that they use this young art that takes place mostly in public places to make those cities a little bit more vibrant and attractive. A downer are symptoms of gentrification that are partly fueled by these developments. In the Great Region (a cultural compund of neighboring parts of Germany, France, Luxembourg and Belgium) for example a bunch of events came to life, just in the last years. You have an urban art biennale in an UNESCO world cultural heritage, the Art Walk in Saarbrücken(GER), a yearly growing selection of murals from international artists, or some more events like an exhibition in an old gothic basilica in Metz (FR). Plenty of outdoor murals are planned for the next years. Besides there are two museums for urban art, one in Berlin and one in Munich. Such things happen here and there these days and most of it is good to see. That is quite a nice development. The darker side of this development can be poorly organized events and shady intentions. It is no secret that Germany has a problem to value art and culture in general. Maybe not so much with the already established and mainstream stuff. For sure with everything that tends toward being a subculture or unconventional.
We know you're part of The Weird crew. How The Weird works?
A bunch of individual weirdos with a similar mindset, gathering every now and then in changing constellations, spreading some weirdness wherever they can.
Why are we in this world, Colin? What´s the purpose? We do not know.
Mhm, mhm… Sounds like you don’t know the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything. That’s easy. The answer is 42.
We all are just part of the most powerfull computer ever built that will run for 100 million years or so. It is called the planet Earth. It was built to find out the ultimate question. That’s it. We all just have to be a bit more relaxed. Cheers.
The Munich-born artist Cone The Weird has been fascinated with the various possibilities of designing characters ever since he was a child. Over the years, he has become more and more attracted to character design—his recent works almost exclusively feature characters. Cone The Weird draws his inspiration from his early access to large book collections: Impressively illustrated books of historic cultures, surrealistic paintings and the design of record covers alike had a key influence on him as an artist. The themes of his drawings have become increasingly personal, poetic and more detailed in recent years. Cone The Weird has been looking for an alternative form in art to classic comics and cartoons for quite some time now; a form that inspires the viewer to examine his drawings more closely and interpret them individually thanks to their multi-layered levels of meaning. They often also contain numerous hidden messages and elements which can only be discovered by taking a very close look—but which reward the viewers when they finally discover them. The artist himself sees his works as a form of drawn poems.
Interview by Marcio Parks y Juan Cruz Molas y Molas
(images courtesy of Cone the weird)
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