The artist actually known as… 1010 (Ten Ten). The name, the word, the numbers. It all sounds as mysterious as the artist himself, who by choice tries to stay anonymous. Most readers today are spoilt with a gamut of information when they read an article about a contemporary artist. And the lack of information makes 1010 the artist, and his art work even more intriguing and appealing. 1010 Mural Stadt.Wand.Kunst Mannheim
So what do we actually know about 1010? The internet tells us he was born in 1979 in Poland, moving to Germany when he was 8 years old. And that he now resides in Hamburg. In an interview below he tells us he did his first pieces in 1994. This must mean he was 15. We know first hand that Montana-Cans is a proud regular supporter of his work. His work is inspired by his old Amiga 500, cartoons, fantasy novels and comics. And the breakthrough year when his iconic wall portals surfaced in his art was 1994.
It is not just his designs that are illusionary. With a clever twist of decision and fate, 1010 happily uses the GOLD fluorescent colors, knowing that all fluor colors fade faster and have limited life spans against UV exposure. As the sun takes control these fluorescent colors descend back into the portals as the color tones do themselves. Illusively drawing us in further.
Over recent years his popularity has exploded, as has the complexity of his artworks. A now global artist, 1010 is currently working at the MontanaCans supported “STADT WAND KUNST” (SWK) festival in Mannheim, Germany. The festival, which has been running since 2013 initiated by Alte Feuerwache Mannheim, has seen the contents of many Montana GOLD and Montana BLACK cans emptied upon the grand facades of the Mannheim streetscapes. With 16 world class murals already on it’s list, 1010 is now becoming an honorary part of the 2018 addition to this massive open air gallery.
Photography by © Alexander Krziwanie / MONTANA-CANS
With a prolific international gallery presence as well, 1010 is in no way limited by size or scale. His illusionary black holes and organic dissenting portals move visually into a 3rd dimension that doesn’t physically exist. They function just as well in the studio as they do on the street. Whether it be on paper, canvas or any other substrate, acrylic paint, water color and even pixels in the digital realm are all tools to create for this diverse artist. We had the chance to ask 1010 a view questions – you can find his answers below!
And with a another positive twist of fate, 1010 chooses to varnish over his Montana GOLD spray work with Montana Matte VARNISH (T1010). By doing this he reduces the finish back to the same matte of the emulsion paint that he uses for some of his undercoated broad color. Who would have known that the artists 1010 loves the Montana VARNISH T1010
Some questions to 1010
Q: In the art world where your identity is often your business card, what actually brought you to the decision to stay anonymous? Is it working and do you still have your private sphere?
A: I just want to do art and show the results, not to share my private life online. I’m not too worried though about people coming up to me while I’m painting at a wall and having a chat.
Q: Does this effect the success of your artistic career path?
A: No idea, I haven´t tried the opposite!
Q: Was there a single moment in 2012 where you had a break through that led to the path of creating the illusionary portals that you are now famous for (if we may call them that)? If yes, what was the context of that moment? Do you ever feel trapped in this decision or even without experiencing success with this concept, would you be painting this idea anyway?
A: No special moment. But a period of time where I’ve shifted from describing in paintings, to searching through paintings. I started painting in 1994, so its not the first time I shifted. Coming from classic graffiti characters with their 15 standard expressions, the first bigger change in my works was to reduce the color palette and also to get rid of every kind of face, or easy to interpret pose… Over time, I also got rid of characters and my mane focus at the moment is perception. Basically as an artistic method I add or I take away. I check if the opposite of what I think is right or functions best might also work. If something works or something doesn´t work, I would just try the opposite to find out if it maybe works too? From there you just take the next step.
Q: Montana Cans prides itself on making world class tools for creating. And in this case as you are a world classed artists, we were wondering what is your favorite Montana Cans product and why? How did you come to this conclusion.
A: For outside: The calligraphy and flat jet caps, some of the Montana GOLD transparent tones.
For Inside: Since I work with an airbrush in my studio and I mix most of my colors myself, I really got hooked on the ACRYLIC 180ml refill bottles, especially also the empty ones.
Q: Is there any place, space or substrate on your artistic wish list that you would love to paint one of your designs on? If so which/where?
A: Yes, a ton of them…
Q: Do you first create designs that you execute large scale on walls and then get inspired to make smaller studio works from this experience? Is it a classic draw first, expand and paint later? Or do all projects studio/street/festival all mix into each other?
A: It goes all the different ways.
Q: How many coffee’s do you need to finish one painting?
A: Usually I drink around 2 coffees a day. So mannheim took me 10 coffees and 8 Club Mate’s
It is safe to say that it doesn’t really matter who 1010 the person is. His art work amazes and has the ability to invite any viewer, of any experience level, in any language, to stop and contemplate what they are looking at. More often than not also offering a positive experience while doing it. This is a skill that not all artists possess. Take a look here to see if you agree!