T he Low Bros are a German street artist duo who are making this 80’s baby flush with nostaligia. Their playful color palate, geometric layering and skate/hip hop vibes will legit make you feel like you grew up on the salty sidewalks of Venice Beach. They got mad street cred, hitting up walls in the U.S., Portugal, China, and the U.K. Ch-ch-ch-check it out.
Names: Christoph & Florin Schmidt
Graff Names: Low Bros
Age: 31 & 33
Biggest Inspiration TODAY: Daily chaos
Favorite Medium: Spray paint on wall
You grew up in Hamburg. Can you tell us about what kind of place that is? (For those of us who know nothing about Germany.)
Hamburg is a harbour city in the north of Germany. It’s the second biggest and also the richest city of Germany. But compared to Munich, which is a very conservative and clean city in the south, Hamburg is a mixture of posh and alternative ways of living with vibrant subcultural scenes. So on the one hand Hamburg is famous for the “Reeperbahn”, a party and redlight district at the harbour, St.Pauli, a soccer team with a pirate flag as a logo, the “Flora” and the “Gängeviertel”, occupied houses in the inner city that serve as cultural places for the alternative scene. On the other hand you have the harbour city with the „Elbphilharmony“ and the exclusive residential area „Blankenese“.
When you travel back to your hometown, is there one place you have to go to, food or drink-wise?
Two years ago we discovered a nice Vietnamese restaurant. We were painting a mural in the inner city at that time and needed to find something for lunch. The restaurant is called Xe Ôm and is run by a really nice family, with the mom taking care in the kitchen and the kids doing the service. Our favourite dish is the „sweet & beefy“, a meal their mom invented and cooked for them, when the kids were young.
What have you enjoyed about other places that you’ve traveled in the world? Is there one place that stands out that you’d want to revisit?
What we really like about traveling is that you get away from the conventional living you grew up with. New people, other mentalities, other surroundings, other tastes, other smells… We also like to see how people live in their city and love to discover the different kinds of nature. One city we’ve been twice at and would like to visit again is Portland. A really cosy city with nice people and great nature.
I read that you were self-taught artists and then you went to art school. What would you say was the most important thing you learned while you were there?
We guess other people got more benefit from art school than we did. The best thing was, that you got more freedom, because you pay less for insurance and get your monthly train ticket. So we could experiment and do our own stuff. For us, school wasn’t always the best way of learning.
I read something that said “If it takes longer than 5 minutes then it’s not graffiti any more.” Do you have a comment about that?
Haha… somehow that’s funny and sad in the same way. That’s the problem about graffiti. It always restricts itself by putting up stupid rules. The only good thing about this rule is, that you can break it.
And was there a turning point in your art, where it became less about graffiti and more about street art?
Actually we just did our thing and just the label changed. Yesterday we painted graffiti, today it’s called street art or whatever. Nowadays we don’t feel that we’re completely belonging to the one or the other.
You both have a very clean style, do you think that can be attributed to one certain thing, or has your style morphed over the years?
It morphed more to that. We always loved to try new things in graffiti and got influences elsewhere. Like graphic design. We left away the classic outline, so there was just shape next to shape and we wanted them to look clean. Guess we always had a high claim to have a quality “product“.
Where did art come into your lives and what would you draw as a kid?
As kids we drew a lot of Indians and war scenes. We were also obsessed with animals. From there it went to comics and graffiti. We got in touch with art quite late, in our twenties and opened up our minds.
You’ve mentioned before that skate and graffiti culture are about reclaiming the streets. I really love that statement. Do you have any crazy/funny stories about street lurking while tagging?
We’ve been at a festival in Manchester to paint and got our fee on the first night. We spend a lot on drinks and ended up in one of these movie like bars, where you need to knock at the back door and a small window opens. We got out in the morning, it was already light and we were pretty slushed. We found two cans in our backpack and start bombing in this really clean neighborhood. A miracle we didn’t get caught. So we ran around and tried to do some throw up’s. But we were too wasted. One of us started one and stopped cause he was too ashamed of what he did, so the other tried to fix it and it became even worse. In the end we lost orientation. So we grabbed a cab to make it back to the hotel. The ride took about 30 seconds, as the hotel was just around the corner. Maybe not the best example of reclaiming the streets, haha.
You use a lot of animals in your work. Are they chosen for a specific reason/color/aesthetic?
We started with painting more human characters, but this was too limiting. Animals gave us a better variety of shapes and colors and we still could show human behaviors in our characters. Sometimes even better.
Is there anything that really gets you in the mood to paint?
Music and good weather :)
What sort of music do you listen to while working?
Depends on our mood. From hip hop to electronic and way more. At the moment we listen a lot to the mixes of our friend Skor72.
You both have mentioned before that you used to skate? Do you still? And who is your favorite skater (growing up/today)?
One of us is still skating, but sadly not that often anymore. Favorite skater back then was Rodney Mullen. Saw him the first time on “The Bones Brigade Video Show“, one of the first video tapes we owened Nowadays we really like Richie Jackson’s way of skating.
Do you have a dream commission?
To build a big sculpture with a James Turrell room inside would be something!
If you could take over someone else’s job today, who’s would it be?
We would take over Mark Zuckerberg’s job and save Instagram, after we’ve changed the Facebook guidelines into something good. So people can see all the content they want to and no one needs to pay to spread the word.
Lastly, do you have anything coming up? Exhibitions? Projects? And do you have any specific goals over the next few years?
We’ll have a solo exhibition at the Golden Hands Gallery in Hamburg this September, and also one at the StolenSpace Gallery in London, next year. There are also a couple of walls to paint. We got some more projects and ideas in mind and we’ll see where this will lead us.