6 cool things about the 2 artists that make up Herakut | Inquirer Lifestyle
AKUT and Hera of the art duo Herakut. MARK SABLAN

6 cool things about the 2 artists that make up Herakut

AKUT and Hera of the art duo Herakut. MARK SABLAN

Hera and Akut, the German graffiti artists that make up the duo Herakut, were recently in Manila to showcase their artistic skills. After opening the “Beauty is a Sanctuary” exhibit and signing copies of their bestselling books, “Herakut—The Perfect Merge” and “After the Laughter,” at The Collective’s Vinyl on Vinyl, the pair did some mural painting at Fully Booked’s The Bridgeway and participated in a live painting with some local artists at the bookstore.


Super spent 15 minutes with the two and discovered some cool things about them.


Being opposites is perfectly fine.


They may have different styles—Hera usually starts their artworks and is into proportions, while Akut is an expert in details—but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it works out pretty well for them. “It makes sense that we’ve got two different mentalities and two different backgrounds, so we can see it from more than one angle,” explains Akut.


Working with friends can, well, work.


Forget about what other people say that working with friends is a bad idea. For Hera and Akut, at least, it proves to be a good thing. Having worked together for almost a decade, Akut knows that it’s hard for someone like Hera to be in the graffiti business. “It is a male business and that brings a lot of discrimination points for Hera in many different ways,” he says. Hera, on the other hand, is very thankful for being able to have a job that requires her to work with a friend. She says, “If it wasn’t for him I don’t think I’d be strong enough to go through with a career like this.”


They won’t resort to producing cheap, provocative art.


THE GRAFFITI artists painting Fully Booked’s The Bridgeway— complete with an audience

The two practice self-censorship because they know how accessible or available their artworks are. “We don’t want anyone to be aggravated or hurt or scared,” shares Hera. “That’s why we wouldn’t ever use sexuality in a way that it’s appalling to people. We use a lot of nudity but it always symbolizes the human being so there’s nothing obscene about it. We would never ever play with those elements just for sales. No provocation. It’s such a cheap way to get people’s attention.”


They believe that, at the end of the day, everything should still be about “The Message.”


Hera notes, “Whatever you see out there is always commercial—it’s advertising. And to get one’s attention you have to show them something really beautiful that will grab them and make them stand there and look, and then we slide in a message. So, first we capture people with the beauty, and then it’s about a deeper message. We are very serious when it’s about the message, so first we talk it through and come to an agreement. It’s always two hands more to make a story work.


They’ll come back to the Philippines.


It was the duo’s first time in the country early this month, but Akut says they already have concrete plans of flying back next year. Hera adds, “There are so many beautiful walls [in the Philippines] and they’re all without art, so we’re going to do something about that!”


They believe that going to art school is not a prerequisite to become an artist.


The two may have a lot of experience in art, but it’s nice to know that they don’t think there is only one way to do things. “You don’t need to go through the whole process of art school in order to communicate with someone,” says Hera. “You just need a bucket of paint and a brush and friends who will hang out while you’re doing it.”


More tips from Hera: “It’s always good for young people to first find out what they like to do in a way that they’re very comfortable with. So, when you paint outside you have to know your stuff. You cannot be searching for lines too much ’cause there’s no eraser. You have to practice by hand. Set aside the artsy, artistic ego and just think about how the more people you share the process with, the more people you can celebrate with when you’re done.” Mark Sablan, Contributor