cnskillz crew. graffiti. for real.
graffiti art by ate1 graffiti art by efas graffiti art by meric graffiti art by moritz graffiti art by neck graffiti art by scien & klor graffiti art by seak

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Graffiti styles, pieces and murals from the graffiti photo archive of Neck.CNS

May 2, 2006: is the online graffiti photo archive of Neck.CNS. All the pieces and murals that I've taken pictures of since i began painting in 1989 were starting to collect dust in the attic. So I got the idea to open up my graffiti archive and share all these amazing graffiti pieces with you.



neck, in bite webzine, japan, 2004

cover_bitemagazine.gif Q : What got you started in the graffiti art scene?

Hard to say... I was standing in front of this wall on my way to school and was hooked. I returned there often just to stare at it. It emanated some kind of trapped energy, a feeling of speed standing still. Something grabbed me and didn't let go.

I started sketching the pieces that were on the wall and after a while, started sketching my own. I think the general fascination comes from the possibility of having that captivating effect on someone else, with my work. To be able to fascinate people with something I created.

And it's still motivating me today, it hasn't disappeared since then, and that moment was in 1989. That moment has given my life a pretty clear direction, you could even say a meaning. So I have a lot to be thankful for, Graffiti has taken me to where I am today.

Q : Please tell me about CNSKILLZ.

CNSKILLZ is short for Checkin' new Skillz. The crew behind the artist. Members are Ate1, Efas, Meric, Moritz, Scien&Klor (aka 123Klan) and Seak. What started as a classic graffiti crew in 1995 has become a more loosely connected group of creative heads over the years.

The members have always had their very own distinctive style and that has developed into separate interests and careers: most are active as graphic designers but we also have a DJ and an architect in our midst. To me, the crew has become a pool of friends, inspiration and most importantly, a vision. The name and the concept signify freedom: do what you want, feel free to try what your inspiration leads you to, without the limitations usually imposed on a writer within the hip hop context.

That has always been the foremost strength of CNSKILLZ: freedom to try different approaches to the traditionally very conservative concept of graffiti wrinting. Over the years, CNSKILLZ has pushed the limits of what was possible in big concept wall productions, introduced graphic design and typographic influences into writing and established the internet as a major means of communication to the public in a graffiti context, being one of the very first graffiti crews to have a crew homepage:

Q : What are your thoughts about the current graffiti scene?

I am amazed at the diversity of styles and techniques and the general level of quality to be observed. When I started as an active graffiti writer in 1989, my peers were the writers of my city and the few impressions that I got of graffiti from elsewhere was through my own travels or foreign writers' pieces on local walls. Magazines were not actually an influence.

Now, through the worldwide distribution of magazines and the internet, style as such has become a globalized phenomenon, there are not many local flavors or influences left. It has become more and more difficult to find new and different approaches to the subject, because some writer in Austria (or Lithuania, or anywhere) has already had your idea.

15 years ago, the problem might have been the same, but I wouldn't have known, nor would the world have. At the same time, techniques developed to be regarded as styles in a way. There are crews doing only big production murals with high-end multi-layered photorealistic pictures, with a classic style thrown in as a bonus.

On one hand it's great to see that hip hop obviously isn't as narrow-minded as it used to be and that such a crew can earn its well-deserved fame. On the other hand, I am narrow-minded or conservative enough to miss a certain element of traditional style. That statement coming from my mouth might seem somewhat surreal, I know.

On the upside: graffiti has risen to a level of recognition with the general public that it has never ever had before, at least here in Europe: graffiti is gradually being accepted as an artform. It has opened up to a huge amount of influences that would have been disregarded as "unreal" when I started writing and leaving aside the general improvement in quality, that added diversity is probably the factor that will keep graffiti alive and make it interesting to an ever growing audience.

Q : What are your goals creating hybrid art?

I'm constantly trying to push boundaries, to develop something new blending my most dominant backgrounds: graffiti and graphic design. My constant goal and motivation is to keep myself interested, to not repeat myself or become stationary in my development.

I think there is a massive amount of inspiration, input and development to be derived from the force field existing between the movement and emotion conveyed in a wildstyle and the reduced and somewhat clinical beauty of graphical layouts.

This force field is the area in which I operate. Also, I feel that like any good design work, a good piece, production or canvas should communicate with people looking at it, it should convey some kind of message or meaning. Nice shapes and colors devoid of meaning are practically worthless in my eyes. And there is way too much of that going on, be it in graffiti or graphics or webdesign or anywhere.

Q : You've named your original T-shirt and poster line "SELL OUT." Can you
tell me about its origins?

Ha! There's the good old hip hop moral double standard: As a rapper or DJ, it's okay to ask for money just to appear at a jam, to make records, to have a record deal even, to rake in any amount of money for your music. People say that's because the music draws a bigger audience, not just from inside hip hop. As a writer, it is *immoral *to ask for money to appear at a jam and paint ("bring your own cans"), it is *unreal *to paint commercial jobs or canvases to help you earn a living, it is *sellout *to appeal to the taste of people outside of hip hop culture.

Now that is one load of fucked-up bullshit. I spent years practising my art, I'm not getting any younger, so I am of course entitled to try and earn some money with my work. Naming my products 'Sellout' is just my tiny way to hold up a mirror to the part of the hip hop crowd that's following those weird 'real-unreal' rules and to show them that at least someone around here has got a sense of humour.

So, no matter which part of hip hop culture (or any culture) you belong to, come visit the site and see for yourself. I don't discriminate : )

Q : Could you tell us about any upcoming projects?

well, the next big thing coming up is the pending redesign of the site has last been redesigned in 1999 and has become pretty clumsy to operate. but with all the content we have on the site, it's going to be a bit of work moving that across to the new site. expect something 2nd or 3rd quarter of 2004.

Personally, I have a few ideas about typography that I would like to incorporate into some walls pretty soon, probably when the weather clears up and it's getting a little warmer. check to be informed.

We are slowly starting the preparations for a huge thing coming next year for cnskillz' 10 year anniversary featuring all crew members on the same wall, reunited at last ; ) so prepare yourself for cnskillz summit 2005.

And I'm looking forward to the release of a small t-shirt series in .jp, a cooperation of and!

This interview is 2004 by Bite Magazine, Japan and O.Gelbrich / NeckCNS. Please ask permission before using this in any way. The original japanese version is online here.