LB: Tenk is out in and styling the wild for a couple of years now. With an very unique, detailed and elaborate style. Can you give us a bit of insights on your work, inspiration and yourself?
Hi, I write the letters TENK. Thanks for the oppurtunity to say some words about my work.
LB: What influences you and your style, and what does graffiti in general mean to you?
My style is currently influenced by geometrical laws, graphical work, architecture, industrial design and of course typography.
Graffiti has always been THE big thing to me for over 17 years. It defined my whole youth and cleared the way for my job as a designer.
But graffiti isn't the same thing as it was when i started - even it is not that long time ago.
The internet changed a lot. Some things became better and some things became worse. The presence of the whole scene changed because now graff is everywhere.
Everyday I see the newest pieces from all over the world on my little smartphone screen. The people scroll through their news feed, look at a new mural for about 3 seconds, press like and scroll on.
It really lost its value. For years I didn't even know how my favorite writers looked and now there are selfies of them everywhere. It lost something mystical.
But there are also the good things: the worldwide communication, the inspiration and feedback you get. I chat with the most of my crew mates everyday and always know what they're up to.
LB: And when at home, working on new stuff, who and/or what inspires you?
Most of my inspration actually comes from different fields outside of graffiti. I read a lot of design and architecture blogs and try to mix those influences with my style.
And of course my crew mates like PORK, MOBAR, SYCK, PANK, DÖSER, SBECK, PHET, SKORE79 and many others always keep inspring me. I think they are the reason I still stick to traditional lettering.
LB: How did you hit your style and how you refined it over the past years?
As I started graff in my little village where I grew up PORK was THE ONE to look up to. He made the scene in our area and because of that my letters sort of looked like his.
When i moved to Karlsruhe I found a different scene with more technical and conceptional pieces and some influences by the french graffiti writers. So my style changed to a...let's call it fluid-kinetic-3D-style.
And as I started working as a designer my style more and more changed to what it is today... if you want to define it you could say it's a straight-graphical-loosely-geometrical-2.5D-style.
LB: How important is color as concept in your pieces? When do you start thinking about a color scheme for a new production? Is there any sort of cans/caps you prefer more than the others?
Color is always important to me. Because I work a lot with shadows and lights I sometimes have to build my style around a color concept-for example when we organise a concept wall.
When we plan specific colors for outlines, fill in, blocks and so on i try to integrate my style as good as possbile. Besides that I like color combinations with maximum 3 to 4 color ranges.
I can work with almost every type and brand of can... every brand has their own little problems or benefits but that doesn't really bother me. My sortiment of cans at home is all mixed.
Usually I only work with 3 to 4 types of caps: maclaim super skinny, montana level 1 skinny, level 5 fat cap and astro fat cap.
LB: How do you find and abstract your lettering?
Currently I build my letters with sharp, dynamic and interacting lines. I like it when the lines of each letter break into the next one but in that way also build another letter.
Next to that I imagine in what shapes and shadows the letters can be abstracted. Mostly I destruct the E because it can be a circle when it's written lowercase and contrasting to that a square when its capitalized.
Also i try to integrate simple typography in varied forms into my normal letterings...
LB: What does a crew or being part of a crew mean to you?
This really means a lot to me. As I mentioned I chat with most of my crew mates nearly every day via mobile. It's really easy to send the newest pieces and get feedback or to discuss other themes.
I'm also really proud to have some really great Artists and writers in my crews and to call some of my first idols my friends. Shoutouts to my crews TBK, TDR, ABS and LOS CAPITANOS!
LB: Has collaborations change your way of writing?
Yes. They always did and they still do. From 2007 to 2010 there was only one wall I did alone. The other ones were all made as collaborations with my crew or other friends. So my progress was always connected with them. For me the act of going out to paint a wall is still connected with social interaction. Sometimes it's cool to paint all by yourself but I prefer to have my crew around, drink some beer, listen to music and talk about graff.
LB: How important is the choice of canvas for you? Like, painting a wall, a canvas, different materials? Does it make a difference your you/your work?
Yes, definitely. As I mentioned writing outside is always cool to have fun but when I start a drawing or paint a canvas it is more like meditating. There's no stress to finish the piece or to integrate it in some concept. It's more experimenting and evolving than just painting. You can try new techniques and art forms. That's why I like to sneak into other creative fields like fine art, sculpturing, photography, video editing and so on. You'll never know what may infect your style.
LB: Any current and future projects you can tell us about?
Right now I'm sketching for a little wall I'll paint together with SYCK on "Fronleichnam" ;)
LOS CAPITANOS will definitely deliver more concept walls in the near future. Also the ABS crew is going straight forward.
For me I have some half finihed canvases at home and also some digital projects running that will be displayed online.
Most of my pieces will be printed in the magazines, especially in the downbylaw-mag, because for me it is just more valuable than a tiny picture on instafame. You should never neglect the good old printed media.
Thanks for the Interview. Peace.