HERA Gives Us An Exclusive Chat On Her “She’s Gonna Create” Campaign In Collaboration With Stylefile
The gifted graffiti artist talks all things street art, female creativity and more.
The latest offering of the gifted HERA, in collaboration with Stylefile, producer GNARLY, and heaps of other creative women, is one for the books. The “She’s Gonna Create” Bundle consists of an amazing 150 pieces, including a HERA art print, a cosy soft fleece hooded sweatshirt of the finest Nike quality in one of four colorways, and the insane collaborative project “Nuthin’ But A She Thang,” in vinyl form (with a cheeky digital download!). HERA, who makes up one half of HERAKUT with artist Akut, states the album “creates a connection, a network. And networks like this can give a lot of talented, creative women exactly what they may sometimes still be missing: a loud voice.”
HERA’s unmistakable designs decorate the vinyl sampler, taking the project to the next level as a genuine work of art as she aims to incite conversation through the writing and written messages in her creations. Stylefile’s art director Nikki labelled the collab as “the best of music, graffiti and authentic streetwear in one bundle,” marking this as not only an iconic collaboration, but a mesmerising array of different mediums all with the same message: female creativity cannot be silenced.
How and when were you first introduced to graffiti and street art?
I grew up in the eighties in Frankfurt, where my family took the subway everywhere. Before I could read I knew my way around the city by remembering which graffiti piece was where, for example: if we wanted to reach Central Station I knew I had to get up from my seat once we passed the big whale painted on the tunnel wall along the train tracks. But it took decades until I touched my first spray can, which was in 2000 when I moved to Wiesbaden to study graphic design. The moment I used that thing I knew I was hooked!
How important is it that your artwork tells a story?
Telling stories is everything. I am a storyteller through and through. My perception of reality and my coping mechanisms are based on finding my own logic and explaining things, people and myself my very own way. I hardly accept authorities like laws, because I believe that these were inventions by humans, just like my truth is invented by me and my little brain, which makes rules just as fragile and imaginary as those stories inside my head. When I paint, either on walls or paper or canvas, it ́s nothing more than an illustration of thoughts dealing with a certain issue. Therefore my work starts out with a thesis, then while working I consider the antithesis and in the end try to formulate the synthesis in a final message - which usually is the title of that one piece of artwork.
What is the message behind the STYLEFILE collaboration? What do you want the world to know through the collection?
The inside of the album shows a scene of various females gathered around one item – an LP. Expectations lingers as they are all focused on what this vinyl has to say. Inspiration for this depiction came from stories of sorcery. I imagined all these amazing female music producers to be some sort of witches, all coming together on this album “Nuthin But A She Thang” performing their out-of-this-world witchcraft.
For the art print motive I chose to envision the moment someone is entirely captured and filled by music. A person wearing headphones underneath a hoodie, allowing sounds and voices and beats to crawl though the electronics into the insides of the skull, just as an octopus can swiftly move into any hard object and claim it as its home. And after this occupation, this take-over, the beautifully fluid beast called music extends its tentacles into the open space again.
Your artwork is on show in many big cities around the world, including Melbourne, LA and London to name a few. Where has been your favorite city to create art?
Over the course of the past 20 years of my career as artist in public space I have painted in just as many villages as I have worked in big cities. It hardly makes a difference to me as long as I get to interact with the inhabitants of these places. Therefore on my all-time-favorites list of places there is definitely the Syrian refugee camp Zaatari in North Jordan where we spent so much time creating beauty behind barbed wire fences. Using bright colors in such a desolate place really opens a door to another world, and you could tell from people’s eyes how desperate they were to be leave reality for a second.
The second one that immediately comes to mind is Odinzowo on the outskirts of Moscow where we painted the tallest mural in Herakut history on a 75-meter-high building. Akut painted for 2 days and left me finishing the piece, so I spend 5 days hanging out with the Urban Morphogenesis Crew and my wonderful new friend Marsha who I don’t think of as my Russian assistant but my Russian sister. It was as if we had known each other since birth. Simply amazing.
Why is it that some creative women still lack an unapologetically loud voice?
When women are loud in public they are often times confused with being vulgar somehow. It is almost as if people think something is wrong with you, when you refuse to be timid. There is an incredible amount of terms for ambitious females, too. It will take some generations to loose this sort of thinking and language. I just hope that my unapologetic fellow females will have the energy to carry on even though they are being bombarded with criticism.
How would you describe the relationship between graffiti and streetwear?
I am far from being a fashion expert but I know what I need to wear in order to be creative outdoors. There needs to be a mix between utility and fanciness, between reason and plain fun. Graff writers used to be linked with Hip-Hop culture because next to rapping, DJing and breakdancing, graffiti was considered one of its four elements. When I paint in my beloved hoodies, sweatpants and sneakers it feels as if I was paying homage to that. Of course, I do not mind at all when other female artists flaunt more skin, but being a 40-years-old woman now, I am totally happy just watching.
The bundle retails for €69.00 and is exclusively available now at Stylefile.de.