DAIM - Graffiti Artist

Who is Daim?

DAIM, born in Lueneburg, Germany was soon drawn to the nearby metropolis of Hamburg by its tentacles deeply enrooted within the subculture scene. In 1989 he started his career as a free artist and a spray can virtuoso. Only one year later he was commissioned his first remittance work and in 1992 the change of aliases so important for a graffiti artist took place. The latter of course playing a major role within modern street calligraphy

International art- as well as lecturing work soon led him amongst the midst of trans-national artist groups such as GBF, SUK, FBI and FX. Within those brood cells of new styles and techniques DAIM developed a diversity of skills which enabled him to go beyond his roots. Concrete walls were more and more replaced by canvases while spray cans from a hip hop shop were now often amended by mouse clicks in Photoshop and Illustrator. Firstly, two dimensional pictures evolved into bafflingly three dimensional graphics with seemingly unlimited depths and perspective only to finally become sculptures leaving the confinement of flat surfaces entirely.

It's 2011. How long have you been writing, and which crews are you a part of?

I have always been interested in art and did many drawings as well as paintings. Through hip hop and my first journey to the USA I got to know and love graffiti. I started listening to rap when I was 15 years old and two years later – in 1989 – I discovered the spraycan as a mean of painting. Certainly, in the beginning I did illegal stuff. In those days that was perfectly normal. As a novice there was no other way than spaying illegally since there were no legal walls. I was caught pretty soon, which in the end helped to leave the underground and illegality. Before I was caught, neither my parents, nor my friends and teachers knew what I was doing. After being caught I needed to go public an say “I am doing graffiti – give me legal walls” And that is exactly what I did. My fist legal piece was even a small contract work that paid for the cans. That showed me a perspective in graffiti and art for my future.
I believe graffiti has lots to do with finding yourself. By testing different techniques, searching for you limits and getting respect within a group of people one can find his personal path and self-respect. Especially during puberty the process of finding yourself is very dominant but never quite ceases later on. Furthermore, rules within your peer group change, which lead to a different context for your work.

I thank my parents for understanding this and giving me enough room that a juvenile needs to develop in. For me, they have always been a great support whilst I know plenty that experienced quite the opposite.

Who would you say have been your greatest artistic influences over the years?

Anyone you work with has in influence on you own work in one way or another. Making compromises during cooperation with other artists is very typical for graffiti. After starting to concentrate on the definition of my own positioning as an artist I do not as often work together with others anymore as I used to. Even though I have always enjoyed working with others I relish the opportunity of only having to be considerate of my own eccentricity. However, due to the intense interaction during exhibitions, inspiration by others never ceases completely.

What do like the most about the graff/art culture? And why?

The special thing about graffiti art is that it is always also part of a youth culture. The active writers are highly motivated and energize the whole scene. Combined with those who are older with more developed skills by having been spraying for years the scene has an increasingly broad and complex foundation. Authenticity is guaranteed as long as every writer can work for a suitable niche within a certain area and style of graffiti. If this rich diversity is maintained, graffiti will continue to develop very positively.

Who are some of your favorite writers and why?

I can’t say that I really admire any specific writer. However, anyone who stays true to himself over a long period of time in order to achieve a goal, to perfect a technique or provoke a constructive controversy is worth admiring.

When people look at your work and say that it borders on the line of graffiti and art, how do you see it?

I have always been fascinated – even before getting involved in graffiti – by photo realistic illustrations and art. That’s why I started as early as 1991 to try to make my pieces look very 3-dimensional. Omitting the comic style outline and defining the letter through lighting and shadows seemed obvious. It was also the time when personal computers became widely available and made 3-dimensioanal graphics possible. A couple of writers e.g. Erni and Delta pushed in that direction. Certainly, I also have distributed to this development.

Even though it might be hard to believe but for me 3D effects are not the primary expression of my works. It is solely a technique of illustrating I have chosen to transport my contents. The actual writing of my name combined with the iconography involved is more important to me. Also, the parallels as well as the differences between analog an digital working processes fascinate me. The latter has a big influence on the actual design. Let me give you an example. My newest pieces of work are taped with only three different colored tapes – not sprayed. On the one hand, this has a tremendous impact on the design but also on the content and shape of my work. Here the 3D aspects are secondary.

However, when it comes to shaping and translating my styles into sculptures within an actual 3D environment I do concentrate on the 3D effect. This is an important new step I have been working on for the better part of the last 10 years. This process started during my studies of the arts in Switzerland and is far from concluded. The prospect of constructing my styles into physical sculptures and merging them with architecture continues to fascinate me.

How do you balance your writing with your family life?

The life of an artist does not solely consist of, producing “pieces of art all day long. The organizational part of projects such as large wall pieces can take up a multitude of time that is needed for the actual artistic work. Furthermore, there are a few opportunities for recreational time, which I mostly spend with my family.

What is it about writing that keeps you interested after all this time?

The spraycan was always my main tool. But the development of a sketch on the computer takes significantly longer today than the realization with the can on the wall. Meanwhile, there is a new method called Tapings , so realizing pictures with tapes. These have strong parallels to the vector graphics that I build on my computer, so that the transformation from one technique to another is again the exciting thing for me.

What's your best advice for younger writers?

Develop you own style. Find inspiration inside but also outside the graffiti scene. Help others and work together. Be open for new ideas and respect all those who love graffiti as much as you do.

What are you working on now?

After turbulent years with many trips, exhibitions and projects in which I was also often involved in the organization, I needed a stage of concentration on my own artistic work. This meant to me quite clear to focus on few but renowned projects and exhibitions. I wanted to get back a feeling for where I stand with my work as an artist and also as an active writer in the graffiti scene.

For example, by the Urban Discipline exhibition series and the published books, there were times when you had to ask yourself if you are leading more an event agency or a publisher than being an artist. But basically it was always clear in my mind that my artistic work has to be the focus and I have shifted my efforts in recent years to that effect again.
I could focus on the stuff that is important to me, develop new forms and methods and take part in first-class exhibitions.

Last word?

I did a relaunch of my website. It shall show more than just the current works and projects. I regard the site also as an online archive in which you can follow up my work of the last 20 years. There are published over 1000 photos in revised and considerably better quality than before. In addition there are also editions, sketches and videos as well as magazine and newspaper publications.

You can now connect via RSS, Twitter or Facebook with the page in order to stay up to date.

More Info at http://daim.org

Thanks DAIM, we really do appreciate the fact that you let us interview yourself and wish you all the best in the future and in your career. To view more of DAIM's work you can visit his page here.


cassie said...

these are amazing. i love them! i want a different one on my wall every day!

Anonymous said...

Madd Inspiring! Super clean style with an innovative perspective of dimension and negative space.

Olly Murs said...

Intresting... Daim must have inspired many people to be creative as the man he is still known as today.

Olly Murs said...

Intresting. DAIM must have inspired many people for creativity, as the man he is still known as today.