This post is dedicated to a part of my family who currently lives in Cologne, Germany. He was the boyfriend of my mum for 8 years, and the most remarkable thing about it is not that he was 22 years old when they got together (my mum was 38 by this time). It’s more behind that story and so you get a small introspective… Have fun!
Because coincidentally, he’s not only literally ‘familiar’ but a world famous urban artist at the same time. Coming from what people call graffiti, he left that printing plate early in order to sail to what we would put in the drawer of "contemporary art". Anyways, his contents at least derive from letters as the main focus– Which doesn’t mean people recognize any letter in his paintings at first glance.
His code name, his pseudonym is SEAK. As you hear the phonetic of the name, the verb to seek should pop into your mind. Why is that? It probably results from earlier days where choosing an alias still represented an inner part of one’s own personality. And so, he was seeking for what we all want: Some perfection, some love, some fame.
There’s a lot of reasons why people strive for higher goals, and sociologists assume it’s always a mix of talent and, of course, calculation (people often forget that: sometimes you DO things in order to REACH goals, and you PAY for it by WORKING, BLOODING, SWEATING. Capitalism at its best!). Other facts like the socio-economic position play a role as well.
I just want to point out that it’s uncertain why SEAK went crazy about painting, but it definitely has a BIG portion of effort and work in it. The background he comes from was unlike many others since he did NOT derive from the ‘classical’ graffiti scene: He would never really hit illegal spots or paint trains but rather become even more perfect in what he does until now.
Considering a childhood that was not easy at all (like, parents who would never understand what SEAK did there plus some decent evilness in school), I’d say the most likely reason he got so famous because he knew he could do something with it. Maybe it was like:
To all dickheads that forgot SEAK was not to be sneezed at, this is what you missed.
He was talented, he calculated, and his social background at least allowed him to try to get along with his gift. And so, there he is.
Traveling to pretty much every place on the world, hanging in Mexiko, China, all over Europe, the US, and many other countries, I guess the next big thing to paint on waits anywhere in the deep bloody lands of Africa. SEAK owns an own spray can color at manufacturer Belton, because the art he does mainly consists of varnish put on house walls, canvases, and other surfaces.
SEAK in Tijuana
SEAK in Venice Beach
A very striking point is that SEAK developed a unique style of writing by time; his 3D-like objects often resemble biologically alive and seem to be spiny and lively and somehow transferring mostly positive energies to their viewers. The most common object he focused on was the small “a” in his name, you’ll find that signature sign in pretty much every bigger city. Though other letters and even whole words have made their ways into his repertoire, the “a” remains the recognition factor.
SEAK worked with several other artists such as DAIM or LOOMIT, he collaborated (and still does!) with brands like Levi’s, Ecko, Eastpak, Nike, FUNK optics, Sir Benni Miles, or Red Bull. His artworks are bought from celebrities and "normal" people alike.
DAIM & SEAK in Portland/Oregon
Purposes of acquisition differ from investment to simple loving the pictures he produces. In addition to many people buying canvases, he did public and private projects all around the globe. One of the most impressive actions was, for instance, the live painting of a train owned by the french railway company SNCF. The train was a highspeed one, a THALYS!
Anyways, that is to say, he’s not an easy character but at least he can justify inapproriate, sexually tinted language and behavior with his artist bonus which he more than deserved on the field of contemporary art. But still there’s issues I’d love to make him shut the fuck up sometimes. It’s funny because he’s such a great artist and person but at the same time he is family enough. That means there’s been more than one unbeautiful arguments between us.
SEAK in Cologne, 2011
SEAKs workspace in Hürth, 2011
Hope to see you soon!
You can find, book and buy SEAK here:
3) His super interesting homepage