This fortnight in the studio, we are incredibly stoked to be able to sit down with our international pal Nychos and catch up on his extremely busy life. For those that don’t yet know, Nychos has been making waves all over the world, expanding from his original studio in Vienna and onto the world circuit. San Francisco is now his new home (when he’s not travelling the world), where he has spent a little more than the past year living and breathing all forms of art and illustration, continuing on with his busy life.
Raised in a traditional Austrian hunting family, death and dissection were the daily business for Nychos. Blending morbid and dark themes with the colourful, hyper-loony aesthetics influenced by pop-culture and cartoons, Nychos has developed a unique style that he performs with powerhouse effect whether on the street or in the gallery.
Nychos often collaborates with the world’s most accomplished painters, making him one of the most noticeable breakout artists from the Austrian scene. His paintings and drawings have been exhibited in galleries worldwide, including ten solo exhibitions, one which we were lucky enough to host at the Juddy Roller Gallery earlier this year, as well as a four-story “Dissection of a Kangaroo” mural located in Collingwood, Melbourne.
JUDDY – Hey Nychos, we hear you’ve flown the coup, you’re living in San Francisco now, right? How is the art scene there different from your hometown of Vienna?
NYCHOS – Hey Juddy. Yeah, that’s true. Finally. I’ve been thinking about establishing a second home in the Bay Area since my first visit actually. It took a while to make it happen because I also really wanted to take Rabbit Eye Movement with me. But yeah, now we’re there, highly motivated. Well, the biggest difference is probably the way how the two cities deal with art in the public space. Vienna is still pretty restricted. Permissions for walls are very hard to get, and most of the time the process is really annoying. You need a permit for the spot where you park the cherry picker and so on. It feels like they really don’t want you to paint a huge mural, even if you do it for free. It’s getting more open-minded though, but in Vienna, everything takes a bit longer. It’s always been like that, and that’s ok. Gustav Mahler once said that if the world goes down, you should go to Vienna, because everything happens 50 years later there. I think this quote is pretty descriptive. This is also one of my main motivations behind Rabbit Eye Movement. We’re here to boost the scene, even if it takes a while. San Francisco, on the other hand, is way more open minded and everything goes smoother (and faster haha). That’s what I really enjoy. People are ready.
JUDDY – How would you define yourself as an artist? We’ve seen you working on many surfaces across the world but it also seems like you’ve taken a serious interest in creating 3D sculptural works as well, including your “Dissection of Sigmund Freud”, can you tell us more about that. Do you have any plans to extend that body of work?
NYCHOS – Yeah definitely, it’s so much fun to see my work in 3D. It’s also a good reason to become as accurate as possible. The approach is very different. You have to take account of all sides and angles, which is also a learning process for me. I’m definitely motivated to do more of these.
JUDDY – Are you a typically night owl or an early bird?
NYCHOS – Nightowl. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy the sunshine but I work and function better at night. That’s why I love my studio in Vienna. It’s in a basement, so I can trick myself when I work during the day.
JUDDY – What’s your drink of choice?
NYCHOS – Coconut water.
JUDDY – Do you prefer painting indoors or outdoors?
NYCHOS – Outdoors.
JUDDY – You obviously have an insane knack for drawing and illustration, what helped lead you into this dynamic career?
NYCHOS – Thank you. Well, I started drawing as a kid and just kept doing it. I was crazy about comics and cartoons and all the illustrations. I wanted to do the same. This really fueled me and at some point, I found a way to express myself. Ever since I keep evolving.
JUDDY – Do you have a formal art education?
NYCHOS – I gave it a try, but graffiti was a better teacher.
JUDDY – A true man of the streets. You have obviously gone deep into anatomy but are there any other subjects that really stand out to you as an artist?
NYCHOS – Anatomy is my main approach, that’s obvious. I would not define it as a subject though, more as an instrument to discover subjects that I find interesting. I’ve been dissecting “normal” animals and human beings as well as cartoon characters, icons and mythical creatures. Sometimes the anatomy is plain and very accurate. Other times it’s dynamical and vivid. Even if intestines and bones are the first (and sometimes only) thing that people see when they look at my art, this does not mean that it’s the only thing I paint. If you take a closer look at all the details and think a bit deeper, the experience will be different. One thing you will clearly see is that I’m a big Heavy Metal fan with a big love for thunderbolts, just as an example. (laughs)
JUDDY – Although your work is highly engaging from a purely aesthetic perspective, I feel like it also contains a deeper intellectual meaning that isn’t quite as obvious, is this a hard balance for you?
NYCHOS – Indeed, that’s basically what I just wanted to say. My work is packed with my thoughts, inspirations and passions and often includes a certain statement. What most of my works have in common is the revelation of stuff we tend to avoid. Whether it’s plain intestines, Barbie’s plastic boobs or certain feelings, from which we usually turn away.
JUDDY – Maybe we’re biased, but your Kangaroo mural in Melbourne is one of our favourite pieces done by you. Has the kangaroo been on your list for a while?
NYCHOS – Definitely, but I saved it for Melbourne. 😉
JUDDY – Hah we appreciate that! Maybe you can do a Koala bear on your next visit. What influences you as an artist, in particular when selecting a subject to draw?
NYCHOS – It depends. I often let the context decide, or my mood. Sometimes it’s also the shape of the surface that decides what I’m going to paint on it.
JUDDY – I heard you’re a bit of a rock n roll fan? What’s your favourite track to paint to at the moment?
NYCHOS – Black Sabbath – Snowblind
JUDDY – Your earlier life seems to have influenced your obsession with anatomy and dissection, have you always carried this interest of drawing animals/objects in such a detailed and anatomically realistic way?
NYCHOS – Yeah I think so. It already started as a kid. Back then, I wondered how Disney’s ‘Little Mermaid’ actually looks like underneath her fish tail. I was like: “Does she have legs or fishbones?” Around five years ago, I painted a lot of cartoon characters just because it’s so much fun to imagine all that.
JUDDY – Do you have any secret talents?
NYCHOS – Cooking Spaghetti Carbonara.
JUDDY – We’re looking forward to trying that haha. For those people in Australia that don’t know, what is Rabbit Eye Movement? How did it get started and what are your plans for the company in the future? Will we be seeing any rabbits popping up in Aus anytime soon?
NYCHOS – Rabbit Eye Movement is, well, a movement I started 12 years ago. Crazy how time flies. I created it as a homage to all those who are active in the urban art scene, no matter what kind of mission they are following. It’s a platform to connect the people and to boost the scene. Five years ago, we established an art space in Vienna which is now a full-time agency. And two months ago, I brought the movement to the Bay Area together with plenty of missions we want to accomplish. As we all know, rabbits breed fast. So yeah, you can keep your eyes open.
JUDDY – That we will. It’s such a great project to follow. You are, after all, Nychos the weird, so what’s the weirdest commission you’ve ever had?
NYCHOS – You don’t wanna know…
JUDDY – Haha I do now! Anyway, final question, what would be your dream project to work on?
NYCHOS – I have the feeling I’m doing pretty good at realizing my dreams at the moment. At least I’m getting there. All the projects I’m working on right now come from the heart. The only thing I wish for is a bit more time. Ha, this sounds pretty grown up. Damn. Anyway, concerning projects, I’m always open for surprises.
Thanks for the chat mate, it’s always a pleasure hanging with you! Looking forward to seeing you soon! Cheers.
For those that don’t already, give Nychos a follow on Instagram to see the incredible stuff that he gets up to!