1xRun Thru Interview
The Hypochondriac by Cone
1xRun: Tell us a bit about this piece and when was the piece created?
Cone: This piece was made for 1xRUN, so it is a Detroit exclusive. I actually finished it the day that I left for Detroit on June 26th. I wanted to do a new piece because I thought that since it was my first time in the United States that I needed something unique.
1xRun: Tell us how the idea and execution came about?
Cone: This piece took me around 4 days. I started doing some tiny thumbnail sketches first to get the composition and added all the details down. Then I made a couple of them more precise to find out which one I liked most. The Hypochondriac was the one that I chose because I liked it the most in it’s complete version.
The idea of having the two meanings in a motif is something I work with pretty often. I had the idea to do the hypochondriac theme for quite a while, but it just felt right to do it now. I wasn’t sick or anything before I left for Detroit, but everybody knows those days where you feel totally fucked up, a lot of heady shit is going through your mind, and you can’t quite explain where it comes from.
Coincidentally it seems to be on the same day that you meet some (new) friends and suddenly become really happy. You have both the very low and the very high in a couple of minutes or hours. I think that feeling is familiar to most of us. It’s also very funny and ridiculous because people seem to make their own problems or decide to feel bad. So you just pretend to feel that way or decide that you have to. If you want to feel bad it’s cool. If you want to be in a good mood, even better! Overall this piece is about living in the moment, with the whole spectrum of varying moods.
1xRun: What is unique about this piece?
Cone: I do a lot of these flippable images, but haven’t done one yet as a screen print. Also, this is the first time that I have used the half toned effect in my print work. This was planned and I always wanted to try it out but haven’t decided to use it until now. Also, of course, it is the Cone The Weird style…and that is always unique.
1xRun: Describe this print in one gut reaction word.
Cone: Hell yeah.
1xRun: When did you first start making art? What was your first piece?
Cone: In 1993 I started doing graffiti, too young, but I did it anyway and my first piece was a very ugly “SLIME” hand style. After trying out a couple of even more ridiculous names I come up with the name CONE when I was fifteen. I wanted to have a new name. It wasn’t because I smoked that much pot or any of that shit, I was just trying to build it up. The CO is in the beginning of my name, but I thought that having two very round letters wasn’t edgy enough, so I added the N and the E. Plus, once you have your name, it’s kind of hard to get a new one because somehow you become used to it, everyone, graff cats and your friends start calling you it. So I stayed with it.
1xRun: What artists inspired you early on? What artists inspire you now?
Cone: On the graffiti side it was the artists of the old school Munich graffiti scene. Munich was a city that had a range of high quality painters. There were style writers like Cowboy 69, Neon, Scum and Paze. Incredibly dope and very unique! There were also really great characters by such ones as Flin, Won, Loomit (below) and Scout. I was really excited about the murals that they did, both legal and illegal. It always was important for me to develop an individual quality style in both forms, style writing and character painting. I was more interested in character design, so that is why I do what I do now.
As for now, the thing is, I really try not to get influenced by too much. I don’t watch too many internet blogs with contemporary stuff. I’m very bad with names. Of course I know plenty of artwork, but it’s a bit too much to name all of them that I admire. Overall, I am really always excited about traditional illustration techniques, vintage Victorian illustration, fine art and comic history.
1xRun: Do you listen to music while you work?
Cone: Being a music nerd I have to listen to music as much as I can. Somehow I work in a way with music that when I have a theme and I want to reach a certain feeling or mood I then push that feeling while hearing a certain type of music. I’ve listened to hip hop throughout my life and learned about samples of tons of originals that were used for hip hop classics. During this piece I was listening to a lot of psychedelic rock music from the mid to late sixties. It seemed to be the right sound that you can really dive into. Sometimes it works out that you can feel like you’re on a drug. You can go from one track feeling high on life to another feeling down, muted and almost depressed. In the end, I always try to not let too much negativity into my life, especially into my artwork because I’m not a depressed kind of guy. Besides music, I think the most important thing that I need is time. I work with a lot of details and love to produce pictures that people can look at over and over again and still see a tiny element or hint that is hiding somehow.
1xRun: If you could collaborate with any living artist who would it be and why?
Cone: Somehow I feel it’s unfair to name certain names because I really admire the work of a lot of artists. I especially love some French and Brazilian artists. Very often people with a completely different style are the ones who take my attention the most. I really have to think of and say only a few names because there are plenty that are of very different art/design disciplines. There are some great graphic novel artists that blow me away. There is a guy from the Netherlands, Bretcht Evens (below) to name one. Absolutely amazing. Erosie is one to name. Always quality stuff and I really love the fact that he is able to change in between different disciplines and always kicks ass. There are great graphic designers that are working in the music industry and there are a ton of muralists ton name. It’s a bit too hard to decide.
1xRun: What was the first piece of art that you bought? Do you still have it? The last?
Cone: Of course I have all the prints and originals that I have ever bought. The first was a drawing from one of Jeanspezial, an awesome illustrator/artist collective in Paris. The last one was a trade with my crew mate, Rookie. From the very first moment that I saw the digital preview I loved that piece. It is an oil painting on a wood panel with a depressed guy holding his head and looking to the ground, where on the top of his head he has a mask with an over the top smile. It makes me really happy every day that I see it in my home. When you can feel it, a piece of art that has really touched you, it won’t let you loose and you’ll never regret that you have purchased it.
1xRun: What else are you going to be up to for the rest of the year?
Cone: Some canvasses and pre-ordered artworks. The Weird Chalet will be the next big thing. The whole crew will spend almost a month together in Switzerland doing lots of collaborations and ending with two art shows there. Next we will be heading to Luxembourg and, last not least, I will go to Vienna for my only solo show this year in Mid October at the Rabbit Eye Movement Gallery. Keep your eyes on my blog, Facebook and The Weird’s. Wört!