Interview With Nychos

Photo: Nychos

Growing up in a traditional Austrian hunting family, you become intrigued about anatomical beauty since a young age. What fascinates you about artistically dissecting a body and about the psychological dimension of the process?

Speaking of beauty, you got to question the meaning of it and along with it, the meaning of disgrace. Beauty is something that’s very closely linked to emotions. Beautiful things evoke pleasant emotions. I guess that my visual language is – in the eyes of many viewers – very closely linked to negative emotions. Dissected bodies evoke fear. Fear of god, fear of death, fear of being wounded. This is why my imagery might not please everyone’s eyes. Speaking for myself, I’m absolutely amazed by the way our bodies work. In my eyes, this is something extremely beautiful. I’m exploring natural aesthetics and translate it into my own language, my own style. And I’m repeatedly surprised how much there is to explore, how much deeper you can dive into this world. On a surrealistic level, anatomy cannot be exhausted in art. For me, it’s absolutely fascinating to discover how nature has designed all that and how living organisms are constantly optimizing to nature, evolutionarily. So yeah, dissection is my kind of research on life and beauty, so to say. By the means of art, I caption my research in a very reduced and loose way, which for me feels very liberating. Psychologically, I find it interesting to observe people’s reactions. I have the feeling that liberation plays a big role. People, who are more liberated from culture, religion and fear than others, are more likely to see the things I actually paint. They let my work communicate. It’s not about frightening anyone. It’s actually quite the opposite. I want to take away the fear of contact with our innards and enable different perspectives.

Photo: Nychos

Photo: Nychos

You are poetically exploring and depicting natural body tissues and skeletal structures. What are the boundaries when it comes of creating an impressive, but at the same time a provocative artwork?

I guess you got to define the boundaries for yourself. As an artist, especially when you’re working in the public space, you quickly realize that you have to deal with the fact that you can’t please everyone. Some might find your work impressive, others might think it’s provocative. As an artist, you get the chance to communicate with such a huge amount of people. If they somehow get involved with your work, you can already consider yourself fortunate, whether they like it or not. But very often, you got to face their ignorance too. Regarding this, you can say that the limits are set by the personal perception of the individual. And by our environment. We are socially, culturally, religiously and technologically bound, which literally generates boundaries. These are things I can’t change. I can only say that I want to liberate myself from all that. Within your art, you need to define the boundaries for yourself in order to get to the peak.

This intrinsic and curious fusion of science and art in your works, leads the viewer to a sort of another dimension. What exactly should the public experience through this interface?

Again, it begins with the question what my art means to me. Overall, I’m concerned with life and death – topics, that never get old. I feel that, to a certain extent, my work functions independently from any zeitgeist. This makes me very happy. Questioning how life itself functions is keeping me busy since a very young age. Even though a lot of people only see the cruel parts in my work, it has never been my intention to paint death. What I’m actually doing is illustrating biological processes. By the means of science and art, I want to draw a picture of how amazing life is and that it goes hand in hand with death, of course. And death must be amazing too, because this is how the universe has designed it. One can’t exist without the other, and this is what we need to appreciate. To answer your question: That’s what I want people to experience. Of course, it differs from art work to art work but overall, I’m concerned with biological and emotional content on life and death. This is what I’m communicating. In my upcoming body of work, I will more and more include transcendent processes, so the emotional voice will probably get a bit louder than it is now.

Photo: Nychos

Photo: Nychos

Give us your personal definition of “anatomy”.

Anatomy is basically concerned with exploring how life functions. It’s a study of the organism, including the skeleton, the muscles, the organs, the blood system, the nervous system, and so on. Overall, anatomy is an extremely complex affair, which reflects how living beings have been adapting to nature ever since. Personally, I find it very interesting to combine my kind of looseness with this accurate and complex system. When I’m integrating my style and its rather cartoonish touch into those medical processes, I feel that the anatomical imagery becomes much more vivid. It manages without the dryness one knows from medical books and makes this entire complexity more accessible and fun to look at. And it narrows the sincerity a lot of people might feel when they are exposed to open bodies. For me, there’s a certain magic happening within this stylistic clash and I’m thrilled to pass it on.

In 2012 you decided to open the Rabbit Eye Movement, a space where connect and give support to Urban Artists. Please explain the ideology of this project?

I originally founded Rabbit Eye Movement as an Urban Art movement in 2005. For a mission like this, rabbits are the perfect leaders. They operate at night. They are extremely fast and they are, well, breeding like rabbits. Back then, it was already about spreading the movement and creating space for it to grow. In 2012, I gave it a proper home in Vienna and opened up the Rabbit Eye Movement Art Space. Since then, it functions as a platform to connect locals and internationals, who follow the same drive. When I moved to California two years ago, I took the movement with me and gave it a second home to grow. We’ll see how the rabbits are doing here, but I have a good feeling. Let’s see where the universe takes us.

Do you think Urban Art, by being free to everyone, will be the only movement to keep its true essence in the future?

Let’s see where the universe takes us.

Photo: Nychos

Photo: Nychos

Your works are defined also by a satirical dark aura, which critiques today society. In this visual dialogue with the public, what messages should be captured and contemplated?

Of course, the satirical dialogue must be part of my body of work, it’s part of creating art in general. Society offers us so many things to play with, to question and to draw attention to. Taking up contemporary issues is one big task of art. Many artists focus on political stuff, I prefer not to. I rather like to identify the matters, that make the world such a strange place to be. One of the things I could identify for myself is that the Ego plays a very big and very strange role in our lives. It controls us, as we’ve laid it on top of us over many decades. We feel like we’re controlling planet earth, but we’re not. We’re part of it, as an ingredient. We have an influence, yes. But we don’t rule this planet. It’s so strange to observe that we’re acting like we’re only temporarily living here, whereas actually, we’re part of a huge living system. We depend on one another. Our behavior is so disconcerting. What I’m trying to do is to point out what we are and how we function as living beings. I’m not here to create any kind of eye candy art. My visual language might be beautiful in a certain way, but certainly not for everyone. I never wanted to create any kind of meaningless decoration. I want to communicate and wake people up in a certain way, that’s my purpose in this life.

Do you think Urban Art, by being free to everyone, will be the only movement to keep its true essence in the future?

is to point out what we are and how we function as living beings. I’m not here to create any kind of eye candy art. My visual language might be beautiful in a certain way, but certainly not for everyone. I never wanted to create any kind of meaningless decoration. I want to communicate and wake people up in a certain way, that’s my purpose in this life.

Photo: Nychos

Photo: Nychos

Often the artist is living in a sort of fictitious world, struggled or not by inner forces. Would you define yourself more an outcast or an integrated artist? To what extent do your works mirror your personality?

I guess it depends on your current, personal state of mind whether you see yourself as an outcast or integrated artist. But in general, I dare say that every artist, who takes his or her work seriously, perceives him or herself as an outcast. The desire for integrity is irrelevant. This entire concept of being part of a certain scene is a complete misbelief, if you ask me. If you want to be part of a hyped community, you got to ask yourself the question why you actually want to create art and for whom. Do you do it for fame, for money or do you do it because of art itself? If you are creating art for the purpose of art itself, if you feel that there’s no other way and if you feel that there’s a higher power, then you’re truly an artist, who produces for the purpose of art. And I believe that those people have always been and will always be outcasts. As far as my personality is concerned, I can see more clearly than ever to which extend my art actually mirrors my personality. It’s insane. The process of how a personality is formed is highly interesting to me. A personality is not just born like this, there are so many contributing factors in our lives, which play such big roles, and which can’t be traced back so easily. I feel like being able to remember how you felt as a kid and what you wanted to become back then is an important reference for yourself. If you keep this in mind, you can stick really closely to who you are. To answer your question: Yes, my work definitely mirrors myself. More, than I ever thought it would do.

Send a message to your future self.

Let go, overcome all your fears, stay true to yourself, know your true self, free your mind and follow the white rabbit.

Ask us a question.

What did you expect from the outcome of you interviewing me?

Photo: Nychos

Photo: Nychos

Artist: Nychos

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