* SIGI VON KOEDING aka “DARE” – 16.09.1968 † 06.03.2010 – Rest in Paradise. You will be missed!

This interview was conducted over email quite some years ago. I decided to revive it a bit by including it on the new website.
Dare was a very strong influence on me when I started out with graffiti, and is someone who’s style and work I have always looked up to and admired. For these reasons I present you with this interview despite the dated aspect of it. Enjoy.

– What is the meaning or definition of your name?
To dare —–> dare to be different… dare to…… dare to….

– Crews
TWS (The Wild Side) / S2R (Styles 2 Remember) / RDM (Rock Da Mama)

– City
Basel, Switzerland

– Email

– Webpage

– How long have you been painting?
I started painting in 1986, about 2 years before I made my first graffiti related sketches, but with names of my favorite music groups or words like “wild” or “bronx”. I didn’t have a tagname at this time ’cause I didn’t know there was a writerscene, or people who give themselves a name, around.

– What kind of music do you like sketching/painting to?
My favorite music groups are: MARILLION, U2 and a lot of rock-related stuff. That’s what I’m listening to when I’m doin’ a canvas or sketches… But Ican’t take the ghetto-blaster to the basel-line :-)

– What are your three favorite movies of all time?
1) Brave (movie to the marillion lp “brave”)
2) In the Heat of the Night
3) As good as it Gets

– Apart from writing, what are your other interests/hobbies in life?
I was a singer in a rockband for about 10 years, so I’m very interested in music. I don’t sing anymore ’cause I wanted to put all my energy into writing; you can’t give concerts every weekend, having training with your group 2 or 3 times a week and focus 100% on writing at the same time.

– When and why did you get into graffiti?
As I said, it was 1986 when I started doin’ graffiti. But I’ve been drawing and painting almost my whole life… Until the day a girl showed me a photo of a painted new york subway. She asked me if I could do something like this in her appartment, ’cause she knew I was into writing letters and drawing. I thought, I have to practice somewhere before I use the spraypaint as a tool in her appartment and that was the day I made my first piece “born to be wild” which you can see on my website ;-) Since that time I started to do more and more until I found out that there was already a graffiti-scene in basel. I realized that I needed a name and I chose DARE, ’cause I thought, it fits with the movement… To dare to go out at night.

– What influences your style the most? (Definition of your style…?)
I had millions of influences in the beginning. It’s hard to tell who was the main influence to me… I just bited from what I saw and what I liked and it took a moment to get my own style. I guess it’s for everybody the same way. Nowadays you have graffiti magazines and millions of pieces around the world where you can get your influence. It means it’s easier to get a good writer but harder to find your own style, ’cause almost everything has been done before. My definition of style is my own handwriting: style starts with a tag or the way I write; the letters are an evolution of 15 years of practicing. But I always try to give the letters a readable shape… The color is just the decoration. I don’t like to fill my pieces with hundreds of colors until you can’t see the style anymore. A 2 or 3 color fading is enough for me; makes the style more outstanding. Even a one-color fill-in is good for me. I also like to play with the 3D blocks… Giving the style a kind of 3-dimension WITH outlines. It makes my styles more living and swinging…….

– What have your numerous travels around the world brought to you and contributed to your style?
Traveling is one of the most important things in the world of writing to me; it’s like learning about other cultures. it gives me alot of influences and I made friendships which are more important than writing today. My crew is my second family and the friendships are for life. I know I’ll see my friends in 20 or 30 years when we all have stopped going out at night for writing.

– The graff scene in Switzerland? What are the negative and positive aspects of it?
We have a huge scene in basel. Also other cities in switzerland have a scene. Graffiti is all over the small country. About the positive and negative aspects it’s probably like everywhere: you have competition, jealousy, fame hunger, creativity, just everything you can imagine.

– What is your motivation in painting? What will the future hold for graffiti?
I have a lot of motivations to do graffiti. I live from what I do: means, I sell my canvases or I do graffiti-jobs for companies or private persons. Most of my friends are in the writer movement, to see what my friends do is mostly motivation enough…. And I always try to get better or to be different; that needs alot of working on my letters.

– What is your favorite surface?
Wall, canvas, steel, paper… Whatever.

– How did you come to paint canvases? What was and is your motivation in that?
I made my first canvases in 1992. It took me a long time to find my own style on canvas as well. Illegal graffiti has a time limit. Someday every piece is history. It can be buffed, crossed out or painted over. Canvases are for life. I wanted to work on canvases like I never do on walls. Sometimes it takes weeks to finish a canvas. The walls are done in 3 or 4 hours. I don’t like to spend days on a piece… It’s probably the basel-line background who made me like this. Having a night to finish the piece, taking the foto the next day. So I will go on with canvases, also because I like to have exhibitions… Seeing the reaction of people when they look at my canvases, a feeling you almost never get when you do a wall.

– Who are you down with and which writers do you paint with?
I paint with everybody who’s a nice person. But my favorite writer partners are in my crews or very good friends.

– In your opinion, what are the true important elements to remember in graffiti? (What “mental” or “spiritual” standards do you set for yourself? if any…)
Well, I guess you have to remember where it comes from and you should know about the history and the reasons they had to do graffiti back in the days. Everything is different in Europe today… We have other social problems and for a lot of writers it’s just a kinda fashion and they’ll stop when they get married or when they get into the bizznezz world. For some writers it’s more!… And these ones will go on like i do.

– Any special shoutouts or hellos?
The list of my friends would be too long…. Look at my dedications on my pieces and you’ll know who’s down with me :-)