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The Art of Daring – Painting in Public

As an original and clandestine way of announcing the art exhibition “Letters to Andy Warhol” at the Cadillac House in Munich, perhaps Germany’s best-known graffiti artist Loomit was given the task of vandalizing a billboard in Munich’s pedestrian precinct – inspired by Andy Warhol’s own artistic style.

In a cloak-and-dagger operation, the graffiti artist sprayed up a giant Cadillac advertising billboard in Munich’s city center.

What, at first sight, seemed like an act of pure vandalism emerged a few days later instead as an authentic way of heralding the art exhibition “Letters to Andy Warhol”, taking place at the Cadillac House in Munich.

It was back in 1984, when graffiti in Germany was still in its infancy, that Loomit (real name Mathias Köhler) sprayed his first graffiti art on to the water tower in Buchloe. In the same year came his first arrest for vandalism. But it was his Geltendorf train – the first completely sprayed S-Bahn train – that marked the start of his entry onto the scene. And over the years, he has been able to make the transition from illegal sprayer to recognized and sought-after graffiti artist.

Andy Warhol at Cadillac House Munich
"Graffiti is my passion and I’ve been lucky enough to turn this passion into a profession."

Loomit describes his style as a mixture of what a typical graffiti writer does – i.e. write his or her name on walls – coupled with a much more artistic and illustrative way of working, which involves the interplay of light, shadow and perspective. The graffiti artist is particularly well known for his 3-D lettering, which he learned from New York graffiti legend Seen.

This very public action attracted attention across Munich, appealing precisely to the people Loomit wants to reach with his art. He brings the art gallery to the street, to walls instead of canvas – to places where people can see it without having to pay.

"For me, New York is the birthplace of the graffiti scene"

The nighttime operation has elicited a real “wow effect” – simply by virtue of the fact that this impressive motif had not existed the previous evening. Just how you go about accomplishing such an artwork in just one night is not only a source of wonderment for most people, it also intensifies the effect of the graffiti on them.

The graffiti that Loomit creates comprises countless allusions to the founder of American Pop Art like the convoluted W and the cat motif that appears in Warhol’s earlier works. The loud color world in which Loomit moves is also strongly reminiscent of the Pop Artist to whom the art exhibition “Letters to Andy Warhol” is dedicated.

For Loomit, Andy Warhol is one of the founding fathers of the graffiti movement, as he paved the way for street art to be a recognized, aesthetic art form through his support for graffiti writers like Basquiat and Keith Haring.

"I love Graffiti"
Andy Warhol

In this way, Cadillac creates the connection from one “daring artist” to the next: Andy Warhol, in a similar way to Loomit, also experienced an artistic turning point. At the end of the 1950s, Warhol was one of the best-paid graphic designers in Manhattan. Soon afterwards he embarked on his artistic journey, concentrating initially on mundane items from popular culture. From the beginning of the 1960s, motifs familiar to every American came to dominate this period of his work. By doing so, Warhol brought the humdrum of everyday life and consumerism to the sphere of art.

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