CONE The Weird is a graffiti artist and illustrator from Munich. A member of The Weird crew based in Vienna—along with artists like Nychos, Look, Dxtr, Vidam and the Low Bros—CONE specializes in wickedly detailed self-portraits and characters that explore the depths of his fantasies. His solo show at Rabbit Eye Movement, Nychos’ art space in the center of Vienna, features a stunning series of these thoughtful black and white drawings—each packed tight with texture and emotion, giving them a deep, distinct sense of character.
CONE’s solo show “ICONES—Number 1” will host a closing party (“finissage,” if you want to do it the European way) on the 18th at the REM Art Space in Vienna. Featuring an extra series of drawings that were unfortunately lost in the mail until now, this show is not one to be missed!
Gumpendorferstrasse 91, 1060 Wien
Interview by Lauren YS
Many of your drawings in this show are self-portraits. What are you trying to express through depicting yourself?
The themes I have in my works are often things I’m thinking, they express my inner state, like when I’m feeling blue. I try to visualize my emotions and experiment in depicting them visually, to create imaginary worlds that can reach the audience the way they affect me. It’s an open experiment with no particular direction I’m looking for.
There’s a pair of pieces here that show a character sitting and looking away from the viewer. The composition is strange and really appealing-- they feel a little voyeuristic. Can you talk about those?
I found this old image an 8-bit image of a boy sitting looking away and I thought, I have to use this in my next pieces. I just had the picture in my inner eye when I did these. The left is “Mind Mischief,” and it deals with the idea of floating with your thoughts in a place where you could get lost. I also have my own system of symbolism, like Hieronymus Bosch—he uses certain symbols to express sexuality, fear, existence.
That's why I draw things like teeth, birdhouses, cuckoo clocks—all these things floating around in the universe. You could stare forever.
The right one is called “Heart Mischief”—the same concept, but more about love and sexuality. There’s a boy looking all these logs with names carved into them—some are far away and you can't see them anymore, some are closer, representing meeting, falling in love and sexual adventures. On the other hand you have this knife, a French fisher knife, you have them in Europe—he’s not the only one whose feelings are hurt, but he’s also the one who hurts. It’s both sides of love, yin and yang.
So some of your artworks were lost in the mail? What happened?
A week before the show, I was heading to Vienna and got the news that the French post company lost my package with 7 artworks inside, and this was one big portion of the drawings I wanted to show here. In the end I got them back one day after the exhibition opened, and that’s why we’ve decided to have the finissage—the closing party. Just for that night we will hang the other works that arrived late. It’s like a special present for the people who come to see it again.
Do you prefer painting walls or doing illustrations?
I honestly don't really feel an essential difference between painting walls and drawing on paper. Somehow it’s the same energy. I’m a bit picky, I don't want to paint every wall, if possible I want to have a separate wall because it’s like drawings. If you lay out lots of drawings on the table they might look nice, but as soon as you frame one of them, that takes your attention, it looks a lot stronger. Everyone seems to want to paint the biggest walls possible, you can see that because people will advertize the exact size of the wall. You don’t have to write the exact size, you can see that it's huge---it’s like, ‘what size is your penis?’ Sure, there are a lot of artists who can make huge murals but there’s also a lot of crap out there.
What would your superpower be?
I’d want to be able to calm down, be in a good mood, relax or make other people feel that way. It always disturbs me how people can get upset about ridiculous things, they start acting crazy about nothing and you just think, come on, calm down.
If you could hang with one person, living or dead, who would it be?
I would love to meet Robert Crumb—it’s not that surprising maybe because you can see some influence in my work. I’d want to just drink a glass of wine, have some olives, and philosophize about life, love and cosmic energy. And music, of course.
CONE will be exhibiting two other solo exhibitions this year--the first in Saarbruecken and the second at the Partisan Creative Corner in Soest, Germany. This month, CONE will exhibit with NYCHOS at Vienna’s Street Art Festival “Cash, Cans and Candy,” where both artists will collaborate, show individual works and paint individual walls. The exhibition starts June 25th and goes until September 6th.