Rafael Gerlach aka SatOne is an illustrator and self-employed artist based in Munich, Germany. The artist was born in La Victoria, Venezuela in 1977. In 1979, he moved to Munich, and in 1992 he began painting graffiti. Seven years later, SatOne started the study of graphic design and then went on to work in various advertising agencies. In 2003, he began doing freelance work, doing illustrations for on and offline media, as well as doing photography, character design, and painting murals. He has since worked with companies such as Adidas, Gravis, Asics, Burton Snowboards, and Ford, as well as doing murals and exhibiting his paintings around the world.
As an experimental artist, over the years SatOne continued to develop his interest in graffiti until it became a unique formal vocabulary that conjures up a landscape of science fiction and imaginary worlds. The figures in his work are futuristic and abstract, yet still express emotion and humanity through their organic forms and recognizable faces. His skillful mixture of a powerful graphic style with improvised abstract elements opens up dimensions in which graphic design, illustration and abstract art melt into an inseparable unity.
On the subject of writing graffiti, and his painting, SatOne states, “Painting on the street is a big attraction for us artists. Where else but on the street do we have such a large audience and such an unadorned form of dialogue? I cannot deny that it is a form of vanity. I also love that when writing on the streets, I have many conversations with nice people that are usually very honest and spontaneous. Outside, I also have a soft spot for old abandoned buildings or ruins. They often have a very exciting combination of different materials and surfaces. Also, the fact that these images are actually secret and no one ever sees them exerts a certain magic. This magic becomes even more apparent when the ruins are torn down and the art inside disappears with them. Photos are, and will be, the only evidence…
When I’m in the studio and alone, I must deal intensely with myself. My work lies in the artistic essence of being completely free and that is very important to me. What I need to learn now is a certain balance between myself as an artist and myself as a person. In the past, I devoted all of my free time to art. I drew almost pedantic and training techniques, just to be better. Perfection was my drive. Today I am pleased to be able to let go completely. I know that my development of a technique depends not on perfection, but of freedom.”
2012: Chromolog, Munich; Escape the Golden Cage, Vienna; 2011:
Stroke.04, Urban Art Fair, Munich; 2010: Zerfall und Zukunft, Gengenbach, Germany; Synthesis & Integration, Moscow; Fall of Mankind, Krakow, Poland; On the Red Carpet, Karlsruhe, Germany; Urban Painting Summer Show Street Connection, Milan; 2009: Of Might and May, Ingolstadt, Germany; Inoperable, Vienna; Buscapè, Modena, Italy; Kunst im Tresor, Munich, Gegen die Wand, Kassel, Germany; Intoxicated Demons, Aalborg, Denmark; Clean & Dirty, Bilbao, Spain; Born under Punches, Stuttgart; Stroke.01, Munich; Graffiti Repositioned, Frankfurt. 2008: Metamorphose, Munich; Bread & Butter, Barcelona; Rock the City 2, Calle de la Alhóndiga, Segovia, Spain; Infart 3, Museo Civico Nuova Ala Contemporanea, Bassano del Grappa, Italy; Carhartt Gallery, Weil am Rhein, Germany.
Reference Notes: Information and texts compiled by Alison Tara from the artist’s website (www.satone.de), and an interview with the artist by Marco Schwalbe on www.quintezzense.de.