1010 – The name, the word, the numbers. It all sounds as mysterious as the artist himself, who by choice tries to stay anonymous. Most readers today are spoilt with a gamut of information when they read an article about a contemporary artist. And the lack of information makes 1010 the artist, and his art work even more intriguing and appealing.
Over recent years his popularity has exploded, as has the complexity of his artworks. A now global artist, 1010 worked at the Montana-Cans supported “STADT WAND KUNST” (SWK) festival in Mannheim, Germany. The festival, which has been running since 2013 initiated by Alte Feuerwache Mannheim and Montana-Cans. With 16 world class murals already on its list, 1010 is now becoming an honorary part of the 2018 addition to this massive open-air gallery.
With a prolific international gallery presence as well, 1010 is in no way limited by size or scale. His illusionary black holes and organic dissenting portals move visually into a 3rd dimension that doesn’t physically exist. They function just as well in the studio as they do on the street. Whether it be on paper, canvas or any other substrate, acrylic paint, water color and even pixels in the digital realm are all tools to create for this diverse artist.
When asked if there had been a single moment when he had a break through that led to the path of creating the illusionary portals that he is now famous for, 1010 answers:
“There was no special moment. But a period where I’ve shifted from describing in paintings, to searching through paintings. I started painting in 1994, so its not the first time I shifted. Coming from classic Graffiti characters with their fifteen standard expressions, the first bigger change in my works was to reduce the color palette and to get rid of every kind of face, or easy interpret-able pose… Over time, I also got rid of characters and my focus now is perception. Basically, as an artistic method, I add, or I take away. I check if the opposite of what I think is right or functions best might also work. If something works or something doesn´t work, I would just try the opposite to find out if it maybe works too? From there you just take the next step.”
Montana-Cans has been a partner of this festival since its beginnings in 2013, when Herakut were as the first participating artists. The project is initiated and led by the “Alte Feuerwache” Mannheim – cultural center and hub, fulfilling a pioneering role within the cultural landscape of the region. The local Graffiti and Hip-Hop community of Mannheim and the Alte Feuerwache have always been closely related. Jams are organized regularly; internationally recognized artists and musicians have been brought to the city ever since. And when the idea of the Stadt.wand.kunst-Festival was born, a collaboration between Alte Feuerwache, Montana-Cans as sponsor and network partner and the local public-housing association turned out to be the perfect match to make this festival happen.
German Spray paint manufacturer Montana-Cans is based in the city of Heidelberg, nearby Mannheim and not only bears a close relation to the global Art and Graffiti movement but has also always been deeply embedded within the local community.
“All artists invited to SWK have their roots and beginnings in the Graffiti scene, that’s where it all started eventually. Without Graffiti, the mural and street art movement as we see it today would most likely not exist.”- states Alexander Krziwanie, Creative Director at Montana-Cans.
Images by Alexander Krziwanie