Not many graffiti formations can claim having worked their way up on top of world-wide movement. Thinking back to the early years of “MA’CLAIM”, founded in 2001, it’s quite surreal how much attention we got for something we initially just did out of joy and conviction.
As a teenager growing up in a small town in Thuringia, the middle of Germany, life is easy. Theres’s not much happening and the days are chilled. All the people I considered to be “cool” at that time were into graffiti. My role models have been “Mode 2”, “Can 2”, “Odem” and “Seen”. So I started painting under the name “Skan”. I spent a lot of time painting within the local graffiti scene and discovered the immense spectrum of character painting in 1993. By that time I changed my name to “Akut”.
I already knew Andreas aka “Case”, who was also part of that small scene, before we painted figurative together. It was fun, mainly and like real graffiti guys ( :-p ) we founded our first crew “TMF“ short for “Two Many Faces” in 1997. We went to graffiti and hip hop jams, painted first commissioned canvases and met “Rusk”, a graffiti writer from Weimar. While the three of us worked together on common projects Rusk introduced us to “Tasso”, who has also been focusing on photorealistic spraying. Therefore it was easy for us to collaborate and happened just naturally.
It was in January 2001 when Tasso asked Case and me to form a new crew. Purely painting characters was our initial intention, but only with Rusk adding his styles our visual imagery became unique and “MA’CLAIM” was complete.
Beside our style often named “Graffoto” (invented by Tasso), it was also our different approach of processing the work, which the media became attentive about. To use the computer for planning photorealistic wall production, was obvious for us. This step of planning is something I still follow 19 years later. The conceptual part became my main function as a member of MA’CLAIM for many years, before I took a step back again and learned to let loose from controlling the result beforehand. This was a new approach I followed instinctively as a part of HERAKUT.
As a child I imagined myself as a grown up, who travels the world. With the „revolutionary“ output of MA’CLAIM, that was noticed, appreciated and booked to all over the globe, I was lucky to turn this dream into an astounding reality.
With me being part of HERAKUT, with Case and Tasso focusing more on working solo and Rusk taking a step back from graffiti to build up a different business with PARTISAN, the founding members of Ma’Claim did not meet often during the last years.
In 2014 Rusk and I reminisced the good old days painting a wall in Heidelberg. One year later Case joined at an event we had been attending several times over the years and that has become an important part of our journey, the Splash! Festival 2015. Last time the crew painted together was in 2016. Tasso, Rusk and I went on trip to Cali, Colombia, when Ma’Claim has been invited by MULI (Museo Libre de Arte Público de Colombia by Fundiberarte) to paint a mural there.