How did you get in touch with graffiti? Was there any moment, an experience, that you would say was the beginning of your career?
Hera: Just as every other girl between her first day of school and teenage-days is busy with writing diary, I scribbled down every minor event that happened in my little life on hundreds of pages. Interesting is, that in one of those diary books you can actually find many sketchy style alphabets. Most of them bubble- and wildstyle. That was because I used to ride a lot of trains around Frankfurt and found inspiration wherever I looked. But the real birth of my graffiti-career was the moment I came to the Schlachthof in Wiesbaden. It was a few days after the Wall Street Meeting in 2001 and I was so overwhelmed, that I thought: This must be the most beautiful thing I have ever seen in my life! And from this day on I just wanted to paint. So, what I do today, I would sometimes call it a career, but in the end: I just kept painting.
Akut: In 1991 graffiti took a very funny way to reach my hometown. Somehow a graffiti piece accidently appeared on a photo of some guys´ parents who had been to Spain on holiday. The kid had nothing better to do than copy that piece on a wall and make me and half a dozen others catch the fire. Due to our complete lack of knowledge, guidance or even the tiniest link to the real graffiti scene, we had no problems ignoring the fact that graffiti always puts letters first. So our oblivious-selves focused on painting characters. Our approach was to make them look cool to us but also as realistic as possible.
You both have decided for a special way within graffiti. Did you have influences for that, did you get inspired by your surrounding, or was the motivation to be basically different from others? I could imagine that, especially in the beginning, it is pretty difficult to go your own direction.
Hera: Independently from one another, AKUT and I, utilized the toolsof graffiti (cans, markers, roller paint, etc) to a full extend. Those techniques we liked became regulars among our sets of working methods. Eventually these sets became symbols of our styles. This all happened very naturally – like: if you find it hard to spray a straight line, then don´t do it! There are so many other ways to use a can. People, who can´t see things as simple as that, sometimes say, what we do looks too artsy to be graffiti. But in the past most of those same people were giving props in terms of can control and how fast we work after they actually saw us paint. Who were they to be separating graffiti from art anyway? Where something begins to be art is way too philosophical for any of us to answer. We just paint, and honestly: out of the few things we know how to do, this is the only one that qualifies for being a profession.
What does a typical day in the life of HERA and AKUT look like?
Hera: A HERAKUT-day feels like this: It is eight ours of painting, then doing ten hours of online business stuff, going the distance Frankfurt-Schmalkalden (300 km), feeding yourself something half-way nutritious along with music and coffee and enjoying the fact that not every day is a HERAKUT-day.
What advices would you give writers, who aspire a similar career? To me, this switching from a passion to profession seems quite difficult.
Akut: I would like to make clear that there is no “switching from passion to profession”. Because that would mean that there was a separation in-between the two. It is a continuously flowing process with ups and downs. You live and learn.
Hera: They might seem like a couple of lame Hip-Hop phrase, but: stay true – keep it real. I feel we should always reach for the highest level of authenticity. Only what’s true and heartfelt has a chance to last.