Whacking great big chunks of electric yellow sprawl chuckling across the sober streets of Vienna, lighting up the crisp, clean cityscape with an irreverent roar. Austrian artist Kryot has rinsed the cartoon like innocence of his bulging snapshots with a wonderfully incongruous sense of play and after years on the write, he has now developed a fascinating style all of his own. We spoke to him for a little Q + A
How strong is the graffiti street art movement in Austria and when in your opinion did it all begin?
I´d say there exists a small and very dedicated scene of (Graffiti)Writers here who developed their very own style and go out constantly In the case of “Street Art”, I only see a few people putting up their stuff in the cities over the past years. And some of those few have already stopped because they work in other fields now or galleries opened their doors for them.
For me all started around 94/95 but the first Writers started out in Vienna in the mid/late 80ies. Then in the early 90’s pieces began to appear also in my hometown. As far as I can see the number of people involved in this movement didn´t change significantly over the past 10 years here. Of course some dropped out and some came in but the scene still remains relatively easy to overlook.
What themes would you say reflect street art in the big city?
The desire to be seen (the work). To get up. No limitations from others. Cause reactions.
Why choose the streets and not galleries?
Because of the very free and uncomplicated way to work in the street or urban space-Go out and do it! The gallery exhibit work is done under different circumstances. Both places can be challenging if seen as two separated worlds.
Are the authorities zero tolerant or do they show compassion?
Some force a zero tolerance policy like the national railway company but for example the city of Vienna seems to be a bit more relaxed with that theme. They might accept Graffiti and Street Art to a certain level as part of the cityscape. Generally most Austrians strongly respect and believe in authoritiy and if something looks suspicious to them they tend to call the police immediately. So if you don´t exaggerate and act with some awareness you can keep yourself more easily out of bigger trouble. But once you´re in trouble punishment can be really hard and you will have to face a trial in court. A few writers who were caught for massive tagging and train bombing in the 90’s even had to spend short spells in jail.
Your creations are abstract and rich in colour, what inspired this format?
Definitely based or inspired by the “classic stylewriting” I did for several years. Then I started to work more freely without limiting myself to writing 5 letters. Trying to develop a format which allowes me to interact more with the given situation in the spot. My trip to Sao Paulo in 2002 heavily influenced me in the choice of colours. There I experienced the effect of strong colours used in dirty grey urban surroundings.
The internet has brought the movement closer together, have you noticed a growth in street work in Austria?
As I already mentioned I didn´t realize any real growth since internet started to play a big role. But surely it helped to establish more connections for the locals around Europe and the rest of the World.
Do you paint in other countries or is this something you plan on doing in the future?
Yes I did paint in other countries and I definitley want to continue where- and whenever possible.
What motivations the locations you chose to paint?
I look out for spots which offer me a way to intervene or just have a special “atmosphere” for me. That could be an abandoned location, dirty city-walls or for example old shop fronts. Whatever catches my attention. Basically i try to “play” with the surrounding either with a planned idea or simply freestyle.
Do many visiting artists paint your cities?
Some do for sure but I guess Austria in general doesn´t attract so many international Street Artists. Probably more interesting for Writers from abroad to hit the trains here.
Whats your views on exhibiting your work in shows?
I participated in a few local group shows in the past but generally I prefer not to depend on galleries and shows. I´m not feeling so comfortable with this business in view of my work done outdoors in public space. Bringing it into a gallery means losing that “original power” it develops outside in contrast to the surroundings.
Do you have mentors and if so please can you name some?
Mentors not really but as influences I´d name Dare (R.I.P.) in my early graffiti days, later on simple black & white illustrations from technical manuals, old commercial graphics and ESPO (Steven Powers) for always being one step ahead.
What would you like to be doing of in the future?
Keep going my way
Anything else you’d like to add for LSD readers?
Don´t believe the hype! Peace!