OneTruth are among the most famous graffiti artists in Switzerland, having garnered an international reputation.
I am proud to have interviewed OneTruth together with my friend, Luc Benyon. Experimental and innovative, this collective is comprised of two brothers, Dr. Drax and Pase. They are incredibly talented and have broken the definition of art through their work.
OneTruth have represented Switzerland outside the borders at major events such as the 2012 Olympic Games and in the Swiss Pavilion at the 2015 World Exposition in Milano. We met these outstanding artists on a sunny day in Zürich - and we discovered how the streets have become their gallery.
What is graffiti art for you, and what is the movement like in Zürich?
OneTruth: Defining graffiti art can be as complex as defining art itself. Where it started? When it started? What is art and what not? OneTruth does not believe in the boundaries of a definition.
Graffiti art roots can be traced back to the ancient world when men used to represent life or imaginary scenes on cave walls. When we started, we were already the second or third generation of graffiti artist, and we learned from our teachers.
Until 2008, Zürich was an open canvas. Since then, it has been easier to work on commissioned art within finite spaces. For example to transform neighborhoods, or by doing workshops. These are unique opportunities to plant a seed in the new generation of graffiti artists - and for the participants to let their creativity loose.
In the past few years, we have had many requests from corporations for team building workshops - to allow the managers and the team members to mix and mingle in a relaxed and creative environment.
What is your source of inspiration?
I guess it is life. Our paintings, whether on canvas or on a wall, are the reflection or an instant picture of our feelings and emotional status. Even though not necessarily evident, every painting has meaning to us, and viewers can find their own – as with everything in art.
At the end, art is in the eye of the beholder.
Where can we admire your work?
Over the last 12 years we have had the chance to work, create and perform in several different locations realising personal exhibitions, corporate works and street art. Though the street is our true gallery, it is where we have started and where inspiration is as its utmost.
Some of our works can still be seen in Google Headquarters in Zürich and the UBS HQ's. The highest murals in Switzerland at 5 times 20 meters are on Wehntalerstrasse 312 in Zürich (pictured above). We are also in Berlin at Kreuzberg Goerlitzer Bahnhof and soon on Revaler Strasse 1 in Friedrichshain.
You do exhibitions as well as street art. What is the difference for you?
Going from a wall to a canvass was initially an experience of great impact, as the street is where we started and where our heart and passion still is. Nevertheless, canvasses offer the opportunity to bring our creativity to another level and experiment with different techniques and tools.
Where would you like to paint next?
In Zürich, the Prime Tower is an inspirational location, but in general we would like to have more opportunities to create and display our work. Graffiti is arbitrary by nature, although it’s still perceived as vandalism rather than expression of art.
The acceptance of graffiti as art and its ability to change the face of many neighbourhoods is more important to us than finding the ideal location.
What has given most satisfaction so far?
Graffiti art is temporary and thus unsatisfactory by nature. Through our work we strive to improve, never seeking perfection. Creativity is driven by our hunger to create something different and explore new challenges. Graffiti art has a philosophical meaning, as it is not built to last. You destroy something to build something new.
The best work for us is always the next one.
What does it mean for you when a graffiti is ruined?
Haters are part of the notoriety around our work, though respect is a fundamental rule in our world and beginners or fakers should not be covering others’ work. Graffiti challenges are initiated by painting or sketching something new next to an existing work. Damaging existing graffiti is not well perceived!
We both started drawing at school, and slowly moved into graffiti once we had the first spray can in our hand. Our apprenticeship began on the streets, painting walls close to railways or of abandoned building. OneTruth artistically started in 1998 in the underground, as an artist collective with Dosey, Ster, Senor, Werk, Reason, Pixel, Stock and Spoom. Working in a crew meant to be loyal to the graffiti lifestyle, therefore the "One Truth" of our crew.
Since 2010 we are the two of us – Pase and Dr Drax – and so OneTruth has become something deeper to us. We are brothers, we work together and we complement each other.
If you are more interested about OneTruth and you would like to participate in one of their workshops, buy a canvass or get know where to admire their work you can visit the OneTruth website or follow them on Facebook and Instagram.
(All photographs are copyright OneTruth. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner.)