Interview: Nychos

Dissection of a polar bear, Vienna 2015
Nychos is undoubtedly one of the most prolific artists in the street art world. He started out on the graffiti scene at 17, painting in his home city of Vienna (Austria). Growing up in a family of hunters, Nychos developed an interest in the anatomy and skeletal of animals and slowly merging his interest with his passion to paint together to create his signature style and he distinguished himself by painting walls and canvases with images of animals in motion whose bodies are dissected, skinned and cut into anatomical sections.
In 2013, he reached a major turning point in his career on an American tour that took him to paint and exhibit at galleries in Detroit, New York and San Francisco. 
An off-kilter heavy metal aesthetic prevails throughout. His surgically drawn mural works can today be seen from Miami to Istanbul through Hawaii, Sao Paulo, Singapore, etc. Having founded several collectives in Vienna (The Lords, The Weird crew), Nychos has united a whole artistic scene around him, in particular through the gallery he opened in 2012, the Rabbit Eye Movement Artspace. Today he is considered as a major artist on the international scene, appreciated by lovers of illustration and graphics as well as art-lovers. His work is supported by several galleries in the United States, Asia and Europe.
A special thanks to Vera and Lydia for putting me in touch with Nychos. 
Nychos PortraitHi Nychos, could you tell us who you are, what you do, and how did you get started in the urban art scene?
Hey Sami. Alright, to keep it short I’m Nychos and I’m an Urban Artist and Illustrator, currently based in Vienna and my roots are in Graffiti.
Where do you get your influences from?
If you’re a visual person living in a world like this (and having an account on Instagram) you get influenced by everything these days I guess. When I started, I was mostly inspired by comics and cartoons. Later, I got more and more into all these anatomy topics and as you can probably see, I really got caught on it. It’s just dope what you can do with a deeper knowledge about living organisms. I enjoy exploring all this within my pieces. Talking about influences, I need to mention music of course. Heavy Metal is basically my fuel.

For Mural Festival in Montreal, photo by Hookedblog

What is your opinion of street art? And what is your main reason for producing street art?
Street Art is part of our society these days. It’s a visual output of people living in a system. That’s what makes it so important. If you’re collecting all these outputs, and I’m mainly talking about Graffiti at this point, you’ll get an idea of the different systems. I’m active in the urban sphere because I think it’s important to show all these people out there that art can be public. And should be. It’s cool to create something that can’t be own by somebody. Or is maybe owned by everybody. I don’t know. Besides all that, painting outdoors is just way too much fun and actually one of the best ways for me to mentally relax.

slice for livingFrom what I gather, if I am not mistaken, I think you and I share the same love for Heavy Metal music, as I grew up listening to Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, Ozzy, Judas Priest…. My question to you, is music an integral part of the creative process or just a background noise?
Haha I think I’ve already said it before. But the question deserves another clear: YES, it’s definitely part of my creative process.

Could you tell us about the Rabbit Eye Movement? How this idea came about? And what did you learn along the way?
I started with RABBIT EYE MOVEMENT 10 years ago. The idea was to create an urban art movement as point of reference for all the people who are active out there. I thought it was a nice way to connect them. I painted white throw-up rabbits all over the place, so the movement became bigger and bigger. One thing led to the next one and today RABBIT EYE MOVEMENT is an agency, gallery and brand focused on Urban Art and illustration, of course, still with the aim to connect all people out there who are interested in or who want to be part of the Urban Art sphere. REM is in constant motion and I feel like we’re reaching the next level all of the time. So let’s see what comes next.

Dissection Of A Black Widow, Hamburg 2014

You have had a pretty busy year, painting in Europe, and recently in Montreal, and are now embarking on a US tour promoting the documentary “The Deepest Depths of the Burrow” directed by Christian Fischer. Could you please elaborate on the concept behind the documentary, and what are you hoping to accomplish?
As I said before, Graffiti and Urban Art are part of the society. Especially of the systems that can be found in big cities. When being active out there, you learn a lot about these systems, which means you learn a lot about societies. Only with a different approach. The thought of being able to explore different systems in different parts of the world was very interesting to me and the idea to share these experiences was even more exciting. I talked to Christian about it and at some point we knew that we wanted to make a movie out of it. So we started traveling together and he joined me everywhere my art took me. After 15 months of filming he started cutting the massive pile of footage we had and made a full-lenght documentary out of it.  I’m still impressed about how he did that. Our aim was t also to show different approaches to Urban Art and of course, to introduce all these madly talented artists we’ve met on the road.
I want to pick your brain with my next question: while some claim the physical danger of working outdoors makes women reluctant to participate. In your opinion, is it hard for women to compete is the street art world that is somehow dominated by men?
It might seem like this but when you look at all the festivals you can clearly see that that’s not true anymore. And there are more and more women who find their way into the scene.

Anatomy of the Easter Rabbit, Oakland 2014

Anatomy of a Flamingo, Miami 2014

What have been your most challenging and rewarding piece of work this far?
That’s hard to say because every piece brings a different challenge along. But maybe my ”Dissection Of An Easter Rabbit” in Oakland (pictured above), because the wall was pretty wide and there was no opportunity to have a look at it from far away. Keeping the proportions right was a big challenge in this piece.

What’s next for you? What shows or projects do you have planned?
Right now I’m on America tour with ”The Deepest Depths Of The Burrow” which has its final stop in San Francisco on July, 1st. Then, I’ll be spending my summer painting murals and working on my next big exhibition at Kolly Gallery in Zurich, which is going to open in October. And besides, I’m working on some future plans for RABBIT EYE MOVEMENT. But I don’t want to take away too much yet.

Dissection Of A Shark, with Jeff Soto, in Hawaii

Where else can we find you? (blog, website, twitter, facebook, etc.)
Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter – everywhere haha. And on the streets of the world. But what you should definitely do every now and then is to check our REM website & social media accounts. That’s probably the best way to stay updated about everything that’s going to happen in the future.

Anatomy of a Smile

Any words of advice for aspiring new artists?
Free your mind and follow the white rabbit.

Thank you Nychos for taking the time to answer our questions, we wish you the best of luck on your documentary and on your US tour. Keep in touch!


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