Taking Calligraphy and Tagging to new heights
The art of graffiti writing is a multi facetted one. With various disciplines like tagging, throw-ups and pieces, even within the traditional categories of graffiti and urban art there is a constant drive to conquer new ground. German artist OSCAR is one of these artists at the wheel when you look into the genrés of tagging and calligraphy.
Many years ago he was focussed on classic graffiti with an acute interest in tags. At some point the classic tag just wasn’t enough to keep his interest which was probably the time when calligraphy surfaced on his radar. With ongoing discipline and the drive to create something of his own, he pushed the letters of the alphabet while trying to find ways to present them that were unique. The result brought on hours of testing with various materials, surfaces and some heavy marker work with Montana ACRYLIC and Montana BOLD markers. Many changes in formats including circular composition came to the fore and his style morphed into something that was truely OSCAR. All with the decisiveness of a well placed graffiti tag.
From these years of experimentation and development arose a new morphing of tags and calligraphy, all mixed together like a well cooked casarole. And equally as tasty. With his new found path, thousands of followers have jumped on his wavelength and watched his style progress further into a unique script. Not knowing where the path will go, his monochromatic and aesthetic color combinations have brought a harmony to and artform he himself is pioneering.
Take a look at his work here.
All images by the artist Oscarconspiracy
Your interest in calligraphy and graffiti handstyles are obvious and present in your current Artworks. Do you relate to one of these disciplines more than the other?
The technique of the strokes for every single letter itself is definitely based on calligraphic elements. The end results of my artworks I would more relate to graffiti. Personally I see more possibilities with graff. While most of the calligraphic artworks end up in mandalas or similar things, I prefer to combine elements of shadows, geometric structures, proportions and visualisations with it. I don’t like to set limits to my imagination. So I’m open minded for new inspirations, but will for sure stick to the elements of graff.
With your current work, do you relate to graffiti writing or it’s roots or have you found a path of your own that for you isn’t connected anymore?
At the moment, I cannot relate my work to graffiti that much. Graffiti got me started on focusing on handstyles a while ago. After that, I started with calligraphy for a short time. Calligraphy is great, but didn’t satisfied me for my personal artistic will to do. I wanted to create something own, like a code. Today I can say that I reached my first goals. Since the beginnig of 2018, I started drawing all of my ideas for alphabets into a booklet and it’s full of them now. Hard work. I use my self created letters for all of my works from now on. So I also cannot relate my scripts to typical handwriting anymore. I’m still writing letters, but I’m paying a lot attention to create them differently every time. That’s my motivation, and it keeps me hungry for more. The platform where everything comes together is, and will be graffiti. Friendships, contacts and the motivation to write permanently, connects me to graffiti. It’s like a relationship. Sometimes you’re totally in love, sometimes you have a normal connection without setting eyes on each other. But in the end you stick together forever.
With the current expanding trends of tagging presented online (eg. fat cap flair or straight cap tags), are you inspired by the marks a spray can makes in your own studio work? Or is brushes and paint more relavent?
I’m open minded for every technique to write, but at the moment I prefer markers for my studio works. It’s interesting to see how much people go crazy with huge flare tags at the moment. In general I don’t like all the trending stuff, it’s getting boring too fast these days, it isn’t special anymore, when everyone jumps on the train. But there are also a few really good guys into the fat cap game that push the limits higher for years now, like Sliks, Sicoer and Acroe, to name a few. They are inspiring of course and I enjoy seeing them! I’ll stick to my tools first, but when a fat cap tag finds a way into my works someday, why not! I’m not sharing lots of graff related stuff online, but it’s of course a part of me.
Has your decision to focus on handstyles brought you to preffering any particular mark making tools? For example markers, pen and ink, paints and brush etc..
Of course, with the personal roots in graffiti and a love for squeezers, it was a long way to work precisely with Chisel Tips for example. That’s what I started with, loosing nerves to get the thin lines clean and straight. I discovered the world of pens and calligraphy nibs very late which made it a way easier to work with them as I got some into my hands. Meanwhile I’ve understood that I also can draw good lines with Chisel Tip markers in any size. It’s a matter of practice. I’m feeling more comfortable with a soft nib than with a metal one. I don’t use brushes very often, it’s a whole other world, a new challange maybe?
Is the recognition of letters important to you? Or are the shapes you make independant of acknowlegable lettering?
I had a lot of discussions about this topic in the past. I’m drawing letters. 26, from A to Z .
When I started focussing on handstyles, my thoughts were to bring as much eye catchers as possible, like stars, dots, drips etc., while the letters were still looking standard. It didn’t take me a long time to recognize that this wasn’t what I’m looking for. I slowly started to break the form of each letter. First I built the letters out of strokes. What made it look more interesting, but a way to easy and boring about the time. So I restarted the whole thing and went back to the basic capital letters and tried to draw them as a whole, but for me with a recognizable style. After putting one letter after another, I was even more satisfied with the results of my scripts. That was and is the elementary base for my actual alphabets. Maybe it’s compareable with wildstyle in graff. Most people can’t read the name or text, but after a explaination by the artist, you’re able to see the single letters.
Do you find your work is well received within the graffiti art/urban art communities? Or does it also engage just as well with viewers of “normal” fine art?
Im getting lots of positive feedback from the graff guys, also from artists that I was looking up to when I started, which is always nice to see. In general it’s hard to define what the actual “art scene ” is all about. Years ago the people went to high class galleries and looking to single pieces for hours, nowadays someone posts a picture on social media and you reach millions of people. And after a few seconds you see the next one. So what plays the main role? I’m thankful for everyone who is interested in my artworks and scripts. I don’t put the people into boxes, so I don’t want to do it with my artworks.
Is it important to you who looks at your work, or who it should communicate to?
Simply everyone who wants to get behind the myths of the illegibleness of Oscarconspiracy. People who see and understand the work, understand I have invested greatly to create letterforms and structures. The ones that are interested will follow to see how my path will go forward.