How and Nosm (Raoul and Davide Perre) are identical twin brothers known for their large scale graffiti based murals that adorn city walls around the world. The red, black, and white-based imagery is instantly recognizable and commands attention through the impressive size and the intricate detail. Initially the color palette was limited for practicality but instead has become a distinct calling card and formal choice that has allowed these artists to push spray paint to a new level.
Born in Spain, German in heritage, and currently residing in New York, their influence appropriately extends internationally. Whether you visit South America, Europe, Asia, or cities around the U.S. you will be likely to encounter their work. Commissioned and facilitated, they have become sought after artists, an ironic progression, where the outsiders have become insiders and are currently redefining what constitutes graffiti and public art.
In the beginning, the twins first encountered graffiti as young teenagers. Skateboarding and tagging were the influences until the aerosol can was first introduced and the range of colors and options seemed endless. The traditional letterform art of graffiti writing was learned and they earned their stripes painting names on trains together.
The closeness between the brothers is inspiring. They finish one another’s sentences much like they continue their lines on mural walls and work in sync without hesitation. One ends and the other begins, their complicated yet effortless contours twist and turn like a three-dimensional maze. There is a flow present that is part of this process that allows their individuality to merge for a unified statement. Something that seems essential for artists who work on a large scale.
The limited palette and complicated compositions in all their work is visually mesmerizing but once the viewer is over the magnitude of the accomplishment, the activities within the artwork keep you coming back for more. Their stylized characters seem friendly but when looking carefully they are involved in some very dark activities. Alcoholism, betrayal, abuse of power, and other repulsive actions are ongoing. As you peel back one layer, another story is revealed that further complicates the message and meaning. A world that appears very dim and dark yet treated with respect, it’s as though a mirror is being held up to society, a dizzying effect that requires patience and time to unwind.
The aerosol can is paramount in all their public works and is the essential ingredient they use to raise this imagery to new levels. Precise execution and determination is what has driven them. Their style is essentially who they are as artists and people as a grittiness is hidden beneath levels of thoughtful design and bold form.
Featured image via Coney Art Walls