Back Talk with Herakut

Juxtapoz // Friday, 30 Jan 2009

One of our favorite artist duos working today, Herakut (Juxtapoz #97) kindly took some time out of their incredibly busy schedules to play a little game of 20 questions with us (it's like that game you played as a kid, but better.)


Hopefully you have already read the grossly intriguing feature interview with them in our current February 2009 issue, so now you can learn a bit more about this pair that has been described as "schizophrenic in their creative process" who notice "quirky and humorous occurrences mere mortals would overlook." Not only are they insanely talented, but they're funny too.


Enough about what we think of them; read what they have to say in Back Talk below.

What’s the first thing you did when you woke up this morning?


Hera: I wondered why I keep having nightmares about people wanting to kill me.


Akut: Too bad, I won´t make it to the gym today.


Something about yourself the average person wouldn't guess?


Hera: I love skin that looks like porcelain.


Akut: I have a screw inside my left foot.


If you had one day left on Earth, what¹s left to be discovered?


Hera: Just one day? I needed at least 9 month + 1 last day on earth to discover what I´m really curious about.


Akut: I don´t know.


What is your first art-making memory as a kid?


Hera: Being surrounded by all the kids in Kindergarten asking, “Who is this? Who is this?” while I´m really annoyed by their questions, drawing princesses with He-Man-arms.


Akut: Being four years old and copying the pattern of the wallpaper in my mom´s kitchen, and being proud of the outcome.


Do you need long periods of time alone, or are you energized by interaction?


Hera: We never need to be physically alone. We both have learned to be able to stand inside a bulk of people but completely zoom out – mentally. No problem.


Akut: But it´s always good to have some interaction once you zoom back in. Otherwise you feel a little lost.


Is being in the dark with the lights out frightening or comforting?


Hera: I´m so helpless without light. When I´m in a staircase where suddenly the light goes off, I walk like an idiot, shoving my feet over the ground like a Scottish piper who is walking a parade.


Akut: Comforting. I like the dark.


What's the most non-art involved activity you continually find yourself enjoying?


Hera: That´s tough because about everything that involves using your eyes, even taking in the most non-sense stuff like “Idol” or “Wipe-Out”, has the potential of being an artsy activity. … I guess, petting my dog, would be a good answer.


Akut: Sorry, I´m thinking about the gym again. (And I really hope I have time to go there tomorrow.)


Have you been to jail? If so, why? If not, why not?


Hera: Yes, but only for a day. That´s how long it took them to take my photo and fingerprints.


Akut: No, I haven´t, because the judge decided the eyewitness wasn’t credible.


What kind of car do you drive?


Hera: For ten years now I have been loyal to my Renault 19 granny-car.


Akut: An old Honda Civic where everything but the driver seat is held together by ducktape.


What¹s your biggest non-green inspired indulgence?


Hera: Heating up my bathroom before taking a shower.


Akut: Does smoking cigarettes qualify?

What is the single most important thing you did to breakthrough as a career artist?


Hera: Accepting the fact that, from now on, I would always need to see a monetary value in the things that I would even be doing if they had no value whatsoever.


Akut: … I never actually noticed the transition from having a hobby to having a career…


Best hustle you ever pulled?


Hera: Must have happened by accident and then passed without notice.


Akut: I´m no hustler, either. I think, we are too much of workaholics, that we think there must be something wrong if you´re getting it for free.


Are you ever bored?


Hera: No, but seriously frustrated if I can´t do anything productive due to bad scheduling or delays when I just forgot my sketchpad or laptop at home. (As I´m writing this, I realize how awful this answer sounds. It sounds, as I was some top-notch manager with blackberry implants and places to be – which I´m not, but that´s how artists work at our state of being.)


Akut: No way I´m bored. I like to assemble a couple of working sites around and then rotate.


What excites you?


Hera: A lot of things. It´s the moment before you know: “this piece is finished” and then I ask Akut “is this piece finished?” and he says “I don´t know. It could be” and then you are still really nervous because you have no clue! It´s very dramatic, because you´ll mess up the work of days and weeks if you don´t find the right second to jump off and leave it alone. But, of course, there are also those more casual exciting moments, like when I´m watching my dog dig up his treat from under some blanket, or watching one of my favorite movies with someone who hasn´t seen it yet, hoping he will find the same things funny that I did when I saw it the first time.


Akut: At the moment, it´s the weather that changes from ugly to endurable, which makes it a lot nicer to paint outdoors.
2023 will look like . . . ?


Hera: In 14 years my son will be 12 and my daughter 10 and my beautiful husband will be taking us out for dinner, maybe Indian food, and Akut will give me a call, saying he has just finished his part of our shift work and I could come over tomorrow to pick up those canvases.


Akut: I will be a triple-dad, a non-smoker and hopefully have adopted the habit of wearing a mask when I paint.


If you could have a drink with one artist, living or dead, who would it be?


Hera: I would actually rather meet up with some of the models that Egon Schiele painted.


Akut: Hera, because we never have the time to drink anymore.


Last passport stamp:


Hera: They don´t stamp your passport when you travel inside Europe, so I will get the next one when I come to the states this February.


Akut: USA. Before that it was Jordan. I will probably get my next one in Hong Kong in May.


Can't stand:


Hera: Rules without reason.


Akut: Being afraid of the economic crises that our world is slipping into.


Can’t live without:


Hera: My eyes, my hands, my family and the people I have made family over the years, plus the man I love and mentioned earlier as my future husband who likes curries.


Akut: Pet Shop Boys.


Words to live by:


Hera: Hope to catch the bus – and then start running.


Akut: Things will change for the better. 


For more on Herakut, please visit


First and second photos by Case. Remaining photos courtesy of Herakut.







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