Interview with Jan Koke about the Upcoming „Calligraffiti Amabassadors“ Groupshow in Hamburg
This week the the international group show Calligraffiti Amabassadors will be take place in Hamburg. We talked to Jan Koke, one of the participating artists and Hamburg based host of the upcoming exhibition at Affenfaust Gallery.
Jan, tell us something about you and your work
I‘m Jan Koke, born in Hamburg, raised in Kiel and now back in Hamburg. I first came in contact with Graffiti and lettering in the year 1994, I remember my first record was „Coole Scheiße“ from „Main Concept“. The Album Cover had some crazy lettering styles on it and I tried to copy the style, writing my own name. Then, after some years, things got serious and I started an education as a printer. That was the time when i first came in contact with typography, whitch I learned from my master an old school typesetter, who loved to torture me with his detail typography. After that i studied design here in Hamburg to learn more about letters and i begann to work on my calligraf- fiti styles. So i got a lot of different influences, from different kinds of letters and i try to mix them together to creeate something new.
What is Calligraffiti about?
Calligraffiti is writing with no limits. There are so many different philosophies about writing and so many different ways to do it. People from all over the world are writing for centurys, i think it‘s an human need to express ourselfes troughout writing. On the one hand you have the massage you want to comunitate, on the other hand you try to strenghten the massage trough the style of wri- ting and the tools you use. I think its just a logical step, to mix this styles, tools and attitudes. And that is basicly, what calligraffiti means to me.
What is the whole story about the upcoming event Calligraffiti Amabassadors Hamburg?
Some sunny day I walked into the new Affenfaust Gallery, told them about the ambassadors and asked them, if the would be interessted in exhibiting our work. They liked the idea, i talked to the Ambassadors, they was ready and we started the show. We were already talking about a group exhibition online and i‘m very happy that it turns out to happen in my hometown.
Who are the heads behind the event and Calligraffiti movement?
The head behind all of this is Niels „Shoe“ Meullmann. When he released the book „Calligraffiti“ in 2006 trough „From Here to Fame“, it had a very big impact on me and a lot of other artist. In the beginning of 2015, he decided to move on to abstract vandalism and passed the administra- tion of the Calligraffiti page, to the 25 of us, the next generation.
You are one of the ambassadors, selected out of 25 international artists. How does it feel to be one out of 25 artists representing a global scene?
It feels great to be surounded by so many different personalities, nationalities and great artists from all over the world! I think its an exiting time for writing in general, the world is getting smaler and very good artist pop out of every country, so the movement is getting bigger and bigger each day.
Who are the other artists?
I already new most of them from the internet, i‘ve seen there works and met some of them before. But now that we all together in the ambassaour group, i get to know them better and we became closer. For a lot of us, its the first time meeting each other in person and to have the possibility to talk about our views on calligrafffiti and work together. So i‘m very happy to welcome them to Hamburg.
What the visitors gonna expect at the upcoming Calligraffiti Amabassadors show at Affenfaust Gallery?
You can expect letters from all over the world! We unite, what sadly seems to be so hard to do for some people, there will be latin, arabic, asian, kyrillic, abstract, old, new, black, white, colored, not so abstract, some done fast, some done slow, mixed, wild and simple letters. We are 17 Artist on the vernisage, some had a long way, from USA, Russia, South Korea, some are from Hamburg. You wil see some instalations and there will be some things, i dont want to talk about right now, but it will be a great show. So make sure you dont miss this!
Calligraphy sounds like that the Calligraffiti story is all about just beautiful text graffiti writing. Is that true?
No, i dont think its just beautiful writing, me for myself fo example, I like to write ugly and dirty and i like to fuck things up. I like to paint abstrakt, the legebility is not always important and it is a lot about composition. I like when people see my work and make up there own mind, see it with their own eyes and experiences in life.
How does the beautiful and harmonic aesthetics of calligraphy fits the rebellious „no rules origin“ of graffiti?
It fits perfect, rules are for fools! Breaking the rules is very important for progress in order to ele- vate your style and create something new. You dont want to repeat things.
And a final question. When does the Calligraffiti Amabassadors Hamburg exhibition will take place?
The exibition starts on the 17th of july, 20:00H, it takes place in the „Affenfaust Gallery“, Paul-Roo- sen-Straße 43, Hamburg and will run until the 8th of August.
ARTISTS: ADAM ROMUALD KŁODECKI (POLAND) / ANAROOP KERKETTA (INDIA) / ANNA T-IRON (GERMANY) / CLÉMENT KENS (FRANCE) / DAMIEN DEE COUREAU (FRANCE) / DIMITRIS VALTAS (GREECE) / MR. ZÉ (FÉLIX / RODRÍGUEZ) (SPAIN) / GHALAMDAR (IRAN) / JAN KOKE (GERMANY) / JASPER6000 (NETHERLANDS) / JONAS SUNSET (FRANCE) / KARL O‘BRIEN (UK) / KIRILL PLOTNIKOV (RUSSIA) / МИХАИЛ НОВОЖИЛОВ (RUSSIA) / MOOGORA 모구라 (SOUTH KOREA) / MISTER GREN (NORWAY) / POWERSCRIPTS (POLAND) / POKRAS LAMPAS (RUSSIA) / RAYNA LO (USA) / SAMY AMAR (FRANCE) / SCHRIFTZUG (GERMANY) / STANISLAV KOORAPOV (RUSSIA) / TAREK BENAOUM (FRANCE) / WARIOS WRS (ITALY) / XULI (GERMANY)
17.07.2015 – 08.08.2015
Opening 17.07.2015, 8 pm
Runtime 17.07.2015 – 08.08.2015
Paul-Roosen-Straße 43, 22767 Hamburg