Krusty the Clown and Fred Flintstone, Garfield or Bugs Bunny. If you discover such characters individually or integrated into larger wall paintings, then this probably indicates the workings of the STONED NOMADS CREW, short SNC and in particular the crew member CESAR ONE. And this article here is exactly about this creative artist. Fabulous CESAR visited our show x-wie-raus on Radio X and we did as well an additional interview afterwards. Of course, the time of the show was not enough for this interesting topic.
CESAR ONE founded the STONED NOMADS CREW in 1999 with the artist KRIZLA. Together with MIND21, SPASM, KOMA and other homies and supporters they form SNC. For more than 20 years the crew has been increasingly supplying class material in the Rhine-Main-Area in Germany but also all around the globe or via the internet with photos of fantastic sketches and art on canvas or paper. SNC is not only a crew, but also a little family. Some withdraw, but new ones join. Just recently, three new members were added. CESAR will tell us more in detail about the team and the creative work of SNC in the interview. All contact information about the crew and the individual artists can be found in the Infothek at the end of the article.
I also want to mention that CESAR ONE has an quite extravagant and unusual, but extremely interesting style. Especially with a nice touch of nostalgia. Some people may not like the comic-style, the playful and the round, but the perception of art is and remains subjective and is simply a matter of taste. Everybody can see it as they want. I think the work is great and I am also impressed by the perseverance and enthusiasm with which CESAR continues to follow his line. As a founding member, he helped build the crew and brings new people to SNC. He connects Newbies and Old Schoolers. And he does not only pass on his knowledge in his SNC team, but he also organizes workshops with young people in social work projects, he tries to create connections between groups and provides information about urban art. The quote „Each on teach One” will also fall in the interview, „Respect“ is another very important point. But in the end the number one for CESAR himself is simply the act of painting and the fun with the spray can. That´s passion.
So finally we had the graffiti artist CESAR ONE himself in the studio of Radio X. The time of the show x-wie-raus was of course much too short, we could have talked about the subject for hours. So we recorded a second interview via microphone. Here are the two podcasts from the show and the interview. In the following, the talks are also written and translated into English, packed with great works by SNC and CESAR ONE.
How did you get started with art and how did you begin with the painting? You’ve been doing this for quite a long time.
Yeah, so I’ve been doing this since 1999. At that time, I came to art through a fellow student. Actually relatively late, because most people start painting between 12 and 16. I left Germany in 2000 and went to study abroad. Around 2010 I came back to Frankfurt again, my studies were almost finished. Until then I had lived in Innsbruck in Austria and there we had the paradise situation that we had relatively many spray spots for just a few people. That was very good when you wanted to paint legally. Illegal stories are punished quite harshly in Austria. There can even be a year in prison on strict property damage. Some people are frightened, others aren’t. Everybody has to know for themselves. In Germany during that time I was always on the semester holidays. That was always nice, but I didn’t get much of the scene here, the events and the jams. They were usually when I was in Innsbruck.
Then several crew members were admitted to SNC by me. In 2000, the fantastic MIND21 was added. He’s a Mainz artist. Then in 2001 the great SPASM and then in 2009 the creative KOMA from southern France came. So the crew has been around since 1999 and I’m also a founding member. The artist KRIZLA had founded SNC at the time. So it was in 1999 and actually the same time when I started painting, that’s almost identical. The other members of SNC are like homies. So that means they don’t paint. Funny enough, a few weeks ago, we added three new crew members who have just started painting. Better said, the one has been there a little longer with the painting, the other two are there again or completely new. It’s also nice that fresh blood comes in to the crew. It is also important to promote young people. There is such a great sentence, which is called: “Each one teach one“.
One of the newer works of you is in the Bornheim district of Frankfurt. There’s the Pizzeria Lucky Luke and there you sprayed that cool Lucky Luke graffiti. I think this is also a very good example with this mix of characters and just the graffiti letters. That’s what you do a lot of times. So there are often very comic-loaded elements in it. But even the script is now not angular or sharp, but rather soft, round and colorful. Just like in comics.
Exactly, so I’ve always painted round letters. I have been and am still being criticized for this. Most people say I should try a square letter. But I just don’t get to it or I don’t want to. I am someone who paints very colorful and likes to combine lettering with comic figures. I painted my first chary in 2001. He was an African-American, so he was such a stylish disco-like black man. I thought the painted result was really cool and pretty good. And that was my first chary. And from the time around 2012 or 2013 I always liked to paint characters at irregular intervals. In the meantime, I can also imagine painting only characters with a piece and no lettering at all. This is also very funny, curious or interesting, how this came about. I wouldn’t have dreamed that 15 years ago, that I would also create a wall complete with charys.
How can others find you on the Internet?
You also wrote something about that you rebuild the site? Is there an update or relaunch comming?
No, not really. Usually I do an update quite often. So I used to make an update at least once a month. Now I didn’t get to update due to various private things for a year, but for a week now the update is on it with the latest stuff from us. If you want to, just take a look inside. There you can switch between the individual images and there is a software for photo galleries in it. So that means it’s not as annoying as it used to be on the website.
One of your projects was for a Hessian federal authority and you made several really huge wall paintings on bridge pillars.
Yes exactly, because I had cooperated with a Hessian state authority, but I did not receive any money, they just have made the walls available. I then designed three bridges in the Main Taunus district region. I don’t think everyone would do that, because the material costs for something like that are immense. With a bridge area of about five meters high and 30 meters long, you can imagine that if you still have to treat this with deep ground paint, then you also have to paint ahead some surface and then you can start going up with the can. But you also have to take the time off for such a project. So the work is already quite immense. But the result or the results can be seen. There are clearly visible places and one of them has become really awesome and I call it my third masterpiece. I like such large-scale things. This first masterpiece I designed was in Kassel.
I took a week off, drove to Kassel and made the side of a big bridge at a hall. Unfortunately, it only lasted two weeks, because an old school writer died in Kassel and they then repainted the bridge as a memorial. But that is not a problem at all and I have my full understanding of it. The second masterpiece was in Wiesbaden at a hall and also in the same order of magnitude. So about four meters high and about 25 meters long. The third masterpiece was then practiced by the Hessian state authority and that still stands. This was also about four and a half to five meters high and 25 to 30 meters long. I financed it all from my own resources, too. So great story, but for people with a small wallet or people who might have different priorities, that’s not possible to be done.
Do you also do other things besides walls? So also any objects or cars? Or do you also do airbrush and works on canvas?
Yes, we do airbrush too. I also made canvases for a few shops here in Frankfurt. Also free of charge. I just gave them things from me on canvas, also to make publicity for myself and for my work. I didn’t make so many cars, so actually just one. That was with a camouflage motif. I like camouflage, it’s my thing. I’ve also done electricity sheds in camouflage motifs. And the car, that was 2004 in Innsbruck with a gray-black-white camouflage motif. That was awesome. Otherwise I’ve been doing the canvas artworks for about a year and a half, but not so much. I’ll do it with pencils and not with the can. And going to the the halls, that is different with us. Every crew member of SNC has his own focus.
With your characters you have already painted a whole collection of different famous comic characters, including the Looney Toons, Garfield or the Flinstons. There are all my comic heroes from my childhood, and here are the Simpsons or Slimer from Ghostbusters. That’s your style. But you also travel a lot. You have been in Albania and you painted there as well. Tell me a little bit about it.
Yes, Albania got the first spray can shop in Tirana about four months ago when I went there the fist time. That was in 2018 and the shop is from Montana. Before that, you had to buy the cans in such small DIY stores. The cans are quite inexpensive, so for 1 Euro or 1,50 Euro you get each can and you can buy there also in larger quantities. I came to Albania because I did a workshop for German and Albanian young people for a youth centre in Wiesbaden. And one of the teachers in the school class who was from Albania was with me in a workshop. We exchanged numbers and I said I’d love to come by. That was in June 2017 and then I went there for three weeks in September 2018. I didn’t focus so much on Tirana, but on the third largest city in Albania, where I painted the areas. So the police in Albania has to deal with other problems than graffiti. This is very different from what we do here in the Western countries and industrialized nations.
So when I painted an area there, the police drove past me with blue light and didn’t even look at me. The funny thing is that the football matches of the Albanian national team took place in this third largest city called Elbasan and where I have been. And I painted this road to the stadium. There are my works now, and I thought it was awesome. The food in Albania is also mega great and the country is really crazy. Unfortunately, I couldn’t take the Urbex story with me because I didn’t find it, but this is a plan for the future and the next time I visit the metal factories. I was there again in January 2019 and then I checked out other cities. Albania is definitely a place to be for all those who might want to experience something different, to be away from the average tourist stream and who want to see something real.
END OF THE RADIO SHOW AND START OF THE SECOND INTERVIEW
The radio show is over now and the time has not been enough, of course, so we are now recording a second interview on a bench around the corner of Radio X. We just talked about the Urbex stories. If you discover these new hidden places, it’s always like a little adventure.
Yeah, that’s right. This is relatively important to me or I find this the hottest thing. So you don’t go to the hall for the thousandth time and get painted over after a week at the latest. So the appeal and the problems that can arise there, of course this can happen always and anywhere, but in the Hall, of course, this is very immanent. For about seven or eight years, I’ve been doing almost exclusively either jobs where I can realise myself or I’m doing Urbex stories. I almost don’t go to the hall anymore. This is because of a variety of problems. As I said, the overpainting. So not the over-painting itself, so not that I’m being misunderstood here. I do not mean the normal overpainting, but that which, in my opinion, is not right. For example, the situation where four people paint a wall together on a casual afternoon and because you have your piece there, it gets flattened out even though it was created just the day before. But I don’t want to nitpick and go into detail here, that’s the way it is. But I have drawn my consequences for me and I no longer go to the hall. Only in very exceptional cases.
Of course, there are certain struggles, hierarchies and a back and forth between crews. That’s normal everywhere. But I also think that an important factor in the whole is that there are far too few such halls and free spray places. Then you have to go on a search yourself and discover places that are far away from the shot. There are also great channels on Youtube, where different Urbexer go into these old buildings, abandoned hospitals or left swimming pools. So alone without painting I find these places very fascinating.
Yeah, that’s right. The urge to discover or the factor of discovery, is of course a very big one in the Urbex stories. That’s a big part of me. I think it’s great. But the Urbexers themselves, they don’t like artistic things like graffiti so much now. So this is often shaved over a ridge with people who just deliberately destroy Urbex locations. So I am talking about hitting windows, breaking doors or destroying walls. Therefore they don’t like graffiti so much, but there are also exceptions. But well, you don’t meet so often any Urbexer now and I haven’t had any negative experiences yet. But yes, it is definitely a cool thing and there is a lot to discover. Belgium, for example, has a lot of Urbex places. There’s such an old hospital there, which was already in a graffiti mag. In a well-known and one of the best, I think. The Xplicit Grafx. But everything there is in Belgium is really immense. But the East of Germany also has a lot to offer.
Tell us something about the places where you’ve painted or where pieces of you are standing.
I was in Lisbon in Portugal, I was in the UK in Brighton. So, of course, I’m only counting where I painted. So I was in the Netherlands in Den Bosch. I travel very often in France in general. Especially in the south of France, i. e. Marseilles, Montpellier, Avignon or Orange. Then I was also in Dijon in eastern France. I was in Split in Croatia. Albania was mentioned in the broadcast earlier. I’ve been to Switzerland a lot.
Actually, you can say that almost all of Albania is Urbex.
Not exactly. So you’re already changing there. Many trekking tourists from the USA or other countries who already like to go to the mountains to explore the country. But for example, where I was then, there were almost no tourists. There I thought I was the only tourist, the way I saw it. But it’s definitely overwhelming. And of course cities like Durrës, where there are also many Italian tourists, are very crowded.
Durrës is then again a tourist place.
Yeah, so for those who don’t know. Durrës is located in Albania by the sea. There you can easily go by ferry from Bari and this is a great place. There have already been some artists.
By the way, there is also a great streetart gallery of Durrës on the Vagabundler website and it is mixed with graffiti works and as well normal canvas painting style. There were many not only Albanian painters, but also artists from the Balkans and the surrounding area who came there and painted really beautiful paintings with brushes on the walls.
That’s right. So Albania was graffiti until two years ago when the MTN shop opened there still a white landscape.
Do you also go to jams and festivals? You mean, you don’t go to the halls that often and try different things. But do you take part in jams or do you take part in such events? Or do you visit these? How do you feel about that?
Yeah, I liked going to Jams. I took a lot with me. Actually, everything that went. For example, I was in Kehl at a jam. Once at Wörth with a big jam, this is in the Rhineland Palatinate. So in the Rhine-Main area I was on almost every jam I could go to. At the Meeting of Styles I took part twice with MIND21. So I’ll take everything I can with me. I’ve also always distributed my flyers and stickers on the jams to make a little advertising for the website, but I’ve gotten a little tired. So the usual suspects are always invited, and I always say, that’s all such a thing. You know each other and then you always invite each other. It’s a little bit, so I don’t know. I always say it’s important to me that I want to paint myself. If I want to see others paint, then it must be someone whose art I am interested in. I’m not going to watch every jam now. I was also still at the hack and lacquer jam in Minden. There’s also been Curse. Because he’s from Minden, too. I was there with our new crew member last year in early September. That was super cool! The piece is still there, I’ve been aware of it. And at this point many greetings to Lord Scan! Thank you for the invitation! That was a very horny jam again. Otherwise as I said, so with jams I rather stay back, I’d rather go painting myself.
I already mentioned the comic characters before, which I find great and also the way to bring them in. Tell me a little more about the whole crew. So we’ve been talking about how you paint and what you paint and shed more light on this. Describe what the others are doing and the direction in which they are going.
Okay, our crew! So let´s go: The KRZLA is the crew founder. He founded SNC with me and others and comes from southern Germany. Due to his private and professional tension, he only makes sketches if at all. In general, however, he has always been very sketchy. But he’s always been very horny sketches, and I’m very proud that we have someone like that as crew president or crew founder. I’m also going to visit him again and again when it’s possible and possible.
Then there is MIND21. He also comes from the Rhine-Main area. So do I. We are thus the most active members. The MIND21 has specialized in Bio-Mechanical Style. So biomechanically, which is also something you know from SEED in Cologne. This means that he combines natural and plant elements with mechanical elements such as robot arms or similar.
He also worked on the one piece with Earth Worm Jim, which I’m looking at right now.
Yeah, that’s right. The Earth Worm Jim figures were not made by me, but MIND21. But I helped doing the surface, which was also a great job.
I think here you can see the difference of comic characters from you or from him quite well. Like MIND21 with his biomechanical style.
Yeah well, so Earth Worm Jim was an old Nintendo video game from the late nineties, which inspired me and I’ve always wanted to paint or to implement him somehow. We got this wall from a client and then we thought, let’s do Earth Worm Jim. MIND 21 was also on board. He makes as well 2D styles and classic graffiti styles and he also does a lot of great sketches, but I would like him to go a little more to the walls again. Well, he needs to know that. So as I said, the two of us are currently the most active members.
The next one in the team is SPASM. He’s completely pulled back and the focus is on the family. That’s okay. He used to be very sketchy on the road and oriented himself towards 3D and the Hamburg style. He is a little out or pretty much out at the moment.
Then there is KOMA. He’s from the south of France and he’s an old schooler. He founded TSH together with ANIRO. THE SILENT HEROS. The artists started in the late eighties and founded the scene there in the south of France with a few others. A very nice sympathetic fellow. KOMA does graphically very playful things, partly also with templates. You have to take a look at that. He can also do classical things, but he’s more focused on graphics-conscious things. He then makes with templates such a line, where you can then read KOMA on it. You really have to look at this and you can find a lot of his art on our website.
Then we have three new crew members. There is SOCKE and he also is an Hessian. He is a bit oriented towards RIOT1394 from Berlin or Austria. I call it modern pieces, so not classical things. Then there is KANAR, he’s my age and he just has started painting again. He also comes from the Rhine-Main area. Then there’s THOR. He’s a little younger than we are but also close to our age and he has now freshly started to paint through me. I moved him for painting. I used to him with me painting and then he said he wanted to do it on his own. Yeah, these are the crew members. The others are homies. That means they support us. So KING HARRY is our old man. And the MENDOZA, the ZERO CROC and the MOTRIX, these are buddies of ours who just support us.
So they are not writers, but they still have a name.
Yeah, they’re not writers, but they got names. KRZLA has invented it, who is very creative in terms of these names.
Each member receives a special name and gets baptized. I think that’s just part of it, because when you say “a crew,” Of course you can think of a crew on a boat, so just to use the word “crew” like a team. But there is much more to it than that, especially when it comes to art and culture. Whether they are painters in a collective or musicians in a band, a crew is much more than just a group. It’s like a little family.
Yeah, it’s a family. As SPASM once wrote in its student flat in Hamburg: SNC FAMILY! So most people know each other. Not everyone knows everyone now, but it is important to us that you are friends with each other and that you can do something with each other even apart from painting. So it’s not like you’re saying, okay, we’ve painted with each other twice now, I’m taking you on the crew now, even though I don’t really know you. Just like the next ten. All right, that’s what every crew has to do with themselves, but I don’t have a tendency or a turn to do that.
If somebody is listening now or reading the article, watching the photos and looking around on your website and then thinking: I actually do similar things and that goes in the direction of my style, but I have so far only painted in the small chamber or for me. Is it possible to join you? Is it possible to register or apply with you? Or applying is the wrong word, it must of course also fit interpersonally.
Exactly, it has to fit from the harmony point of view and you just paint a few times together. You do things together a few times, so you go to a pub, a bar, a club or whatever. You meet and then you see if it fits or not. So you can always paint with us. I like to meet people and paint with them. As I said, everything else clears up after a time.
This collection of comic figures, so these are now some. And I think older semesters, they’ll see a lot more. The younger ones don’t grow up with Garfield anymore. You really have some here, Lucky Luke is one of them. I also saw the comics a lot and liked them. Or the Looney Toons. What figures are missing?
In the work is a canvas for a shop where I will make a Super Mario World canvas. Just like the canvas I made for a Frankfurt shop with the Simpsons, I also make a canvas with Mario, Luigi, the princess and Toad. But due to private changes with me at the moment I have little time to make the canvas, but there is in any case material available. All I have to do is draw the sketches and draw them, and hopefully it’ll be something soon. Okay, what’s up. So what I just saw on Instagram was the bag. So the Tasmanian Devil. I’d love to do that. What I had in mind was an idea to make a huge area with a huge Krusty the Clown. So really just huge. I’m talking about such a masterpiece. So that’s kind of 30 meters long. Or 30 steps, I always count in steps. And 4. 50 or 5 meters high.
For such a surface, I think of the ECB, the European Central Bank. So this wall, it’s big enough and they certainly have enough money.
Haha, yes, the ECB. We also painted it, it was from the Naxos Hall. I was allowed to take part in that one time. Together with another artist, I made a wall back then. Even with a Chary back then. It was a cool action from the Naxos Hall and there were also very critical pieces painted by the guys, which I also liked very much. So according to the motto: We don’t let the ECB buy us.
That, of course, is also important. How would it have been if everyone had only painted their healing world thing. It’s still a bank. And of course you can also use this to draw attention to problem situations in an artistic way. So the better.
If somebody wants to book you or wants art from you or your team, how does it work? So just contact by e-mail or how do you want to have it?
Yes, so write us either via Facebook Messenger or via Facebook message, or for orders via the webmaster email address on the homepage. That’s where you get to us.
The concepts are then always unique or individual. You have to talk about it more and more, because every wall is different or sometimes it is a multi-angled house or it is large or sometimes elongated. So first the contact takes place by e-mail and the rest is then discussed.
Exactly. So then during the telephone conversation you can clarify whether you can find order-technical to each other. Personally, I actually refused orders because I had a negative experience where people fucked me. After that, I said, I don’t do any more orders at all, but only the ones where I can realize myself. But I’m a little away from it now. I still find it horny to be able to self-realize orders and to be able to do my own thing. I find it cool when clients are open to this, but unfortunately we in Germany have the situation that art is not allowed to cost anything. That means you want to have art, but you don’t want to pay money or spend anything on it. Unfortunately, that’s the stupid current situation. If you’re not a world-famous artist like CASE or someone who lives here in Frankfurt, then you have a problem.
You get the area then just for little money or no money at all, so that means you get only the area put. Or you just can’t realize it. There are people who say legal graffiti is only there to cover up illegal and they reject any legal graffiti. I can understand that, too. I have a great deal of respect for people who go out at night or even make illegal stories during the day. That should always be respected. So the action and the people. You shouldn’t just go over things just because you have a job. You should always consider, who is that? Does he have a name? Did he do much, did he do little? Does it look good, does it look cool? If you know people from a few corners, maybe you should go around and ask if that’s okay. So it’s okay if I go over there. And if he just says no, then he just says no. Then you just had bad luck and can not shape the area. Or you have to involve him so he can paint or something. In any case, I don’t think you can just go over it blindly.
You can also think of more productive ideas. So as you just mentioned to something like a colaboration work together.
This is of course a nice thing, if you can involve someone in the implementation of the project, but many would rather destroy it. I know things from Berlin where for the citizen beautiful orders have been destroyed by an antistyler who is quite well known, but for which I do not understand. So you can go over things, but I don’t think it’s that bumpy. Maybe there was something else underneath it before. I don’t know the history or most of the time I don’t. Only the one artist or the other artist knows it. So everyone has to know for themselves what they’re doing and what they’re getting into.
It’s always a little more complicated. So what’s behind it all, what’s left for doubts or what was already in the room before. But I think it’s definitely important, so I just got a word, which is very important in general, and that’s the word “respect. ” That you’re just trying to treat each other respectfully.
Yes, respect is very important! I quote KRZLA: “Respect is everything!” Many of the New Schoolers have lost their respect. There you go over things where you ask yourself, what goes with that? So that’s not possible. Respect is important in graffiti and whoever loses it or doesn’t have it, I don’t know if this is the right hobby for those. Of course, you always have to watch that you do your thing, but you should always have a spark of respect for others and for other art. Yes, that’s important.
And just like you’re describing it all, so your passion is the spray can, and you’re staying true to it. That’s your instrument.
Yeah, I’ve had a hard time to get on the pens. No no, just joking. But I also got to the pens for doing art on canvases. That´s also not bad and I like it. But I come from the can and I stay with the can. Point, out, end, stop.
Photo Credits: All photos by CESAR ONE & SNC