Loomit in India
The German graffiti artist Mathias Koehler aka Loomit recently visited India for The Year of Germany in India, where he worked on an abandoned building in Malviya Nagar, New Delhi to paint an image of his Indian friend’s 5-year-old daughter. One of the world’s most famous graffiti artists, Loomit is a pioneer of German 3D wall-art. His affair with art started young, when he began sketching on his room walls and ‘school gear’. A comic addict, he remembers taking up the job as an altar boy at a local Catholic church, where he painted the ceilings, frescoes and other church elements to pay for his comic books. Loomit’s work is defined by an explosion of colours and personal artistic styling. We caught up with him for a quick interview.
When did you start working on graffiti? In the year 1983, a schoolmate told me about the first hip-hop movement that was taking place in New York City. The friend’s older sister got to be an exchange student around that time. That is how I came to know about the trains that were ‘bombed’ by the names like, TAKI 183. I knew then, that I had to try my hand at it.
What is your routine process of working on graffiti? Sketching is the first step, since the techniques alone do nothing. Handling of spray paint or normal wall paint is an exercise that you get better at with practice. And since I started with illegal pieces of work, I had to be efficient and fast even when I had time. It even works when you are participating on bigger pieces with artists that you don’t share a language with. The time taken by an artist to complete graffiti depends on his finesse, the complexity of design and of course, the area to be painted. Twenty square meters per day is my usual capacity.
Have the governments been co-operative thus far? City councils have been a little difficult to work with since they have to deal with bombing of walls and signs. An exception was the painting of boards in front of the German embassy in New Delhi, and even the Expo 2010 in Shanghai.
What’s your opinion on painting trains? In the first 15 years, 10% of my paintings were on trains. The thrill back then was just what I needed as a young man. I don’t miss it much now, but enjoy paintings trains legally once in a while, like the ones I did in Brazil and Kosovo.
What are you working on now? At the moment, I’m painting a construction site fence for my old hometown Kaufbeuren. It is great fun to meet my old schoolmates again!_
By: Nidhi Dugar Kundalia