BOND TRULUV uses travel as one of his greatest sources of inspiration. Walking paths he has never gone before translates to his creative goal of creating artwork that has never been seen or done before. In this article and video, we explore the world of BOND TRULUV from the comfort of his studio and watch as this dynamic artist creates his augmented reality artwork, with his trademark graffiti touch.
There have been many references to the German-born artist BOND TRULUV, throughout the Montana media platforms. Without a doubt, his unique artworks have caught not only our eye but also that of an international audience. Going beyond your classic graffiti style writing, BOND’s commitment to finding new ways to express his artwork and letters has taken him down a unique path. Born in 1981, since the 2000s BOND’s roots in graffiti have guided him in a direction where graffiti meets fine art, stopping in the digital world and graphic design along the way. With a never-ending thirst for travel, BOND’s adventures have not only taken him around the world for education and experience, but they have also enabled him to leave behind an international trail of artworks. He has exhibited and created murals all over Europe, in Africa, and especially Asia, where India, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Taiwan, and Japan have all felt his colorful presence on the streets.
Video of BOND TRULUV Studio visit – Entering the world of graffiti augmentation
To get a closer look at how BOND creates artworks on small scale, we were lucky enough to have a studio visit with this multi-media creator. Not only was his informed ease of use with Montana spray products such as Montana GOLD, BLACK, MARBLE, and VARNISH impressive, his instinctive incorporation of drawing by way of the ACRYLIC refills and Montana EMPTY markers, was equally as natural. Where BOND takes his art to a new level is his multi-media initiatives. His constant experimentation of the digital world, long exposure photography, installations, and video mapping has resulted in him being the first graffiti artist to embed augmented reality into his artworks. This extends both the visual content but also builds on digital transformations that are also site-specific.
Constantly pushing the boundaries of contemporary urban art has made him a leader in his respective fields. On one hand, he has earned and maintained the respect of his peers in the hands-on analog world of graffiti writing, while on the other, creating a whole new way of making contemporary art that is compelling even for the ‘outsider’. Given that there are few innovators in this field such as BOND, while at his studio, we took the opportunity to ask him a few questions to hear his own perspectives on his work. This is what he had to say…
Interview with BOND TRULUV
MC – Before you started exploring the augmented reality aspect of your work, what was your focus when creating graffiti or murals?
Well, I guess it´s safe to say that my focus changed every so often, finding so much inspiration from so many different sources. Looking back now, there are really a lot of different styles and approaches in my work. You have already mentioned a few in your intro. There were and still are times when I felt really confused about which path, or style, to follow. Waging economic, practical, personal, and even political aspects against each other. When you look at the popular and in other ways successful artists that emerged from the sea of writers, it seems that they all have this one signature style that they are known for and according to which parameters they work. Like a brand or consumer product, it almost seemed to me that most them have a certain type of „corporate identity“. Naturally, I thought that´s the recipe for success and was constantly confused about myself not being able to build up this solid body of coherent work. Nowadays I think that this ability to change and play with new influences is a strength and I try to embrace and welcome new and unusual ideas. The world we live in is too diverse for singular inspiration. Of course, the longer you work in a certain set of restraints, certain routines come with it. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it sure can be limiting at times.
MC – At what point in your career did the AR work start to enter your painting work? Was there any specific moment to this starting?
One night about three years ago I had a couple of beers with some nerd friends of mine and we were deep in a discussion about technology stuff when the AR topic popped up. Pretty much the very next day I built my first AR app with Unity3D, and the help of a YouTube tutorial.
MC – Your affiliation to traveling must deeply inform your artwork, how do you practically manage this combination of analog and digital work? Is it as simple as bringing along a laptop with your cans, or do you need other special requirements?
Unfortunately, the technical aspect of the more complex AR pieces is super time consuming and challenging. I´m a self-taught person, not working in the industry or anything and I pretty much do everything myself. So, most of the time, putting together the AR animations and whole infrastructure as well as conceiving and editing the whole show is more work than the actual painting of it. Also, the troubleshooting and researching for the best techniques takes its time. There is rarely a case when technology or software just work like that. Usually there are random errors and a blue screen that come with the piece.
MC – Has the development of digital work become more important to you than painting with cans?
For me, the interesting and important part is the combination. There are way better digital artists out there and there are better graffiti writers and spray paint artists out there. But blending the different approaches to create something new and unique is what´s raising my curiosity.
The development of the digital aspects of my pieces surely take more time, though. But I enjoy the painting part a bit more. So, they always compliment and balance each other.
MC – Seeing you create in the studio is as if it is as natural to you as painting a wall. Do you prefer small studio work over working large scale?
Honestly, I don´t like studio work too much. I like to move and climb and explore. Also working inside the studio with solvents, ventilation is always an issue, especially when it’s cold outside. And I love spray paint for its handling, even for very small pieces. It dries faster and covers so much better than any water-based acrylic. I am constantly astonished how far spray paint technology has evolved.
MC – Do you prefer incorporating the AR element into smaller or larger scale works?
For me it´s the same.
MC – Do you still have the classic graffiti urges to just “go and drop a piece”, or would you rather develop a larger scale work that takes longer and includes the AR integration?
I try to keep the balance between fast and elaborate work. I really can´t work on a piece too long. Even on large scale murals I get bored after 3 days max. I have a couple of walls and abandoned spots around my house where I go regularly and do 1-3 hour freestyle pieces without much planning to blow off steam. Without those regular sessions I really get in a bad mood and I found out that I need those, just like a type of meditation. I have this abandoned complex a few miles away from me where I can paint in solitude and sometimes, I go there for a couple of days just sleeping in the ruins, painting 12 hours straight. Sometimes I paint 10-15 pieces a day like that. It´s like a challenge for me to see how much I can do and to tick ideas off my list. I keep a long list with random ideas for pieces that I work from top to bottom. But it´s never over.
MC – If you had to choose only one medium to work in, what would it be?
Tough one. But spray paint wins. Sitting in front of a screen all day is not cool.
MC – Do you have a favorite country you like to visit, or would you prefer to keep visiting the ones you’ve never been to?
I´d really like to go back to Japan. That place was so inspiring, and I have kept on painting according to my „Japan list“ for almost two years now to get rid of all the ideas. Also, southeast Asia always has been a good place and I definitely always enjoy the US. But there is a bunch of interesting places and every country has its perks. I´m not picky about that. These days it´s hard to plan trips and think about traveling though!
MC – What’s your favorite Montana can and cap combination?
Montana Black and the cap it comes with (black/pink fatcap). I rarely use anything else.
MC – What is the worst food experience you have had while traveling?
Interesting last question! There are a few actually. New Year’s eve in Mumbai 2010, I ate some bad chicken that knocked me out for 10 days straight. Lost 8 kg and took me about three weeks to fully recover. In Indonesia I had some very spicy sauce that I rubbed in my eye by accident. I was sure that I´d go blind that evening. In Taipei, somebody served us cluttered duck blood in a very spicy sauce for breakfast after a drinking night…bahhh. And the goat brain curry in Delhi was tough as well…
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