Luxembourg graffiti scene pioneer Sumo opens his new gallery at 31 rue de Strasbourg on 15 September.
To celebrate, he welcomes visitors over the weekend to view paintings, prints and sculptures by Alëxone, Cone the Weird, Dave the Chimp, Spike and Vhils. Call by on Sunday and you can even meet the artists and get prints and books signed by then.
Sumo, pictured, was among the first graffiti artists in Luxembourg when he found his style on the walls of the capital in the mid-1990s. Most people will recognise Sumo’s work for the “crazy bald head” figure. But that was not what he started with.
“I used to draw pigs,” he told Delano during a recent interview. He had been trying for months to come up with something new and original, the holy grail in graffiti art. “I thought ‘I’m going to draw a potato’, and I tried to do something with that. I thought ‘if that doesn’t work I will go back to what I used to do’. From that moment, the crazy bald head was born.”
Sumo was around 23 when he made this breakthrough. Since then, he has worked as a graphic designer and opened a store and gallery. For the past six years Sumo has been a self-employed artist producing works in acrylics and spray paint, which explore themes of time and space.
While few of his original graffiti works remain in Luxembourg, outside of the gallery anyway, he says he thinks that one is still out there on one of the pillars of the railway bridge behind Hobbi Cactus. There, on one of the pillars he spray the word ‘think’ with the ‘I’ as a spray can. “Over the years everything got painted over and cleaned off but I took a photo a few years ago and it was still there. I had the impression they put an anti-graffiti paint over it so if someone paints over it, they can wipe it off,” he said, adding: “Maybe because it says “think” and I used a lot of colours. It’s cool now, but for a long time people didn’t accept us.”