Herakut is a symbiosis of the aliases Hera and Akut, two graffiti artists from Frankfurt and Erfurt, Germany. Their collaboration started when they first met in 2004. Both were invited to paint at the Urban Art Festival Sevilla in Spain and before that time had only seen each other’s work in graffiti magazines. To everyone and themselves it was clear that despite the fact they both focused on character painting, their styles had nothing in common whatsoever. And that has not changed a bit.
Akut started doing graffiti at the age of fourteen with no artistic background. The photorealism he spray paints today is self-taught and needs a bundle of preparations consisting of a concept that has been mapped out on the computer, high resolution photomaterial and a predefined assortment of aerosol paints. If this is all set, Akut patiently assembles his characters dot by dot with one eye on the concept, the other on the wall, while blending out everything else.
Hera, in contrast, thinks that preparing a piece is to handcuff one’s self. It ties your perception to the sketch and allows no space for the influence of the surrounding atmosphere or any immediate response to the wall as a very individual medium to paint on. Different from Akut who had experienced graffiti closely connected to the hip-hop culture, Hera just felt the urge to work on the largest possible scale when she originally started to paint on walls in 2001. Therefore none of the unwritten rules and restrictions of the established graffiti scene had an impact on her work although another mental boundary did: As reaction to years of strict education of artistic techniques which Hera had received as a child, she today demands as much freedom as possible for intuition and spontaneity in a painting.
Two hardbound books documenting their work have been published and sold more than 10,000 copies. “Herakut – The Perfect Merge” in 2009 and “After The Laughter” in 2011. Approached as works of art, Herakut devoted themselves to every detail of each book, from layout and paper selection, to hand drawn details.
Today, Herakut works primarily on canvas and exhibits their work in galleries and art fairs around the world. In the autumn of 2012, they embarked on a new venture, The Giant Storybook Project, in which the scenes from an unfolding story are told on giant murals around the world. The photographs and renderings from these walls will merge into a printed book and a planned feature film, bringing these truly unique characters to life and sharing the Herakut brand of storytelling with an ever-widening audience who have embraced their beautiful, complex creatures and wry, insightful messages of love, compassion, suffering and romance while shining a light on those that society too often overlooks.