How and Nosm, Artists
How and Nosm Interview
How and Nosm (Raoul and Davide Perre) are identical twins 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.
What did you want to be when you were a kid?
As every kid growing up we wanted to be many different things regarding a profession. Somehow that seems to be the way of preparing your kid for their future, having goals and dreams and strive for them. Your parents keep asking you what you want to be and you feel obligated to answer something. In our case we liked building things, so it was usually something like “architect” or “engineer.” But to be honest, we just wanted to have a functional and non-violent family so we could play in peace at home, and later on do our homework without our mother being drunk and fighting with her abusive boyfriends.
What do you love? Why?
We love our small family of five. Besides them we share the love with only a handful of close friends. That is all one needs in life, a few people that are really close and important to us.
We do love our work and painting too, but that is a different kind of LOVE.
What is your process like?
Being born as twins, raised together and also sharing the passion for art, our connection and its dynamic is highly unique, hardly comparable to the standards of other duos working together. There is a mutual understanding in solving issues regarding a project without exchanging too many words. Our similar and shared life experiences demand little communication and since we can relate to them equally our ideas are naturally harmonic.
Neither of us is the leading force, but instead our focus is on teamwork so that we both together can be successful in our daily work routine. The individual ego is set aside, which enables us to make the most professional decisions regarding our work and business. That is very important to us because, in the long run, the positive outcome of our work ethic will naturally benefit our personal lives and our family.
So if we feel like a drawing or layout from one of us is stronger neither of us will take it personally or be offended by it. Accepting that certain drawings are simply better fitting for an outside mural or a painting guarantees the high level of quality that we always try to gain as a team. It is not like we always share the work 50/50, but more of a joint effort to help each other eliminate weaknesses. By teaching each other, we can evolve even faster.
What is something you had to learn the hard way?
Everything was hard for us as far as we remember, and we don’t want to sound like whinos. But we grew up with a very abusive father that wasn’t around much and never ever supported us or our mother. So when our parents finally got divorced, we had to move from our birthplace in Spain to Germany where my parents are from. We didn’t want to, but our father wasn’t paying any child support so we could only get welfare in our country of nationality. Even though we were born in Spain we were officially Germans because of our parents’ heritage. That is how the law works in Europe. So we grew up very poor and learned fast that when you live in a shitty neighborhood and live off welfare nobody cares about you, and nobody wants to have anything to do with you. You are labeled a bad influence. Long story short, we had to fight for every little thing we achieved. Nothing was given to us. Maybe that was the most important lesson: do it yourself or nobody will, and just keep on trying to get closer to your goal.
What is one thing most people would be surprised to learn about you?
That we are identical twins.
What are you grateful for?
That we and our family are healthy and that we are as successful with work as we are today.
How do you define success?
Doing what we love to do and being able to make a living of it means success to us. Monetary gains are important to support our families, but inner peace and happiness are so much more valuable and satisfying than that. We were never afraid of being poor because of the insecurity that an artist life brings with it. Most of our lives we have been poor, so we simply gave it a shot and eventually became professional artists. We always painted and loved the rewarding feeling we would get from completing a nice mural or painting even when it was without pay. Today we still feel the same way about it.
How would you describe your art to someone who cannot see?
We express with our paintings the way things are in life with its complexity, coldness and warmth, happiness and sadness. You hear us talk about our lives and once you get to know us you understand our paintings and can visualize the organized chaos and confusion within the intertwined imagery.
What’s the most bizarre thing that has ever happened to you?
Watching a UFO hovering over us for several minutes.
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