Can Controllers

Can Controllers

If you think your locale lacks the accoutrements of graffiti, check with Austria’s Mamut and Kryot first — collectively known as the Can Controllers. Besides a common interest in hip-hop culture and writing (of course), the two also connected by playing countless hours of basketball on their local court. Mamut first got his graff on in the early ’90s, while Kryot got his start a little later.

“Back in that time,” says Kryot, “being interested in graffiti and living in Austria meant you always had to travel far to get a least a new magazine or some caps.” The local scene was so bleak that hardware stores weren’t even worth racking: “mostly you had to order cans from Germany,” says Kryot. In 1996, he visited his first real graffiti store, the legendary “Wildstyleshop”, in Berlin. “In reality,” he says, “the store was some kind of modified container — a mixture between a garage and a dog’s hut. Nevertheless, you could find everything to satisfy a writer’s soul in there.”


While Mamut’s focus was always on characters, Kryot was deep into letters. When the two teamed up in 1999, their work looked vastly different from one another. “In many cases, our opinions and views about style [differed],” says Kryot. He describes the meeting of the two minds as a sort of “style confrontation.” That diversity also helped the pair evolve as a team, and also as individuals.

“Soon we tried to leave the classic “style/character” constellation,” says Kryot, “trying to work together more on one piece than just putting one beside the other.” Eventually, feeling stifled by the typical graf scheme (fill in, outlines, background, seconds) and the same five letters of his name, “I tried to work more ‘free’ — encouraged by the knowledge I was given in my graphic design college back then,” says Kryot. Mamut’s style, on the other hand, was heavily influenced by artists outside graffiti culture, such as H.R. Giger.


The two began working without sketches or pre-conceived concepts — “simply developing the work by starting without any ideas, and waiting for them to come during painting,” says Kryot. “This way of painting gave back the kind of excitement we missed.”

The past few years, however, their collaborations haven’t been as numerous. Mamut is focusing on music (as an emcee) and canvas pieces, but Kryot continues missions outdoors. Instead of concentrating on Hall of Fame-type locations, though, he now prefers more obscure, abandoned places — “any spot offering a special atmosphere,” he says. “Normally my pieces are done spontaneously, trying to incorporate the given surrounding. I don’t need to have any plan cuz the spot feeds me with ideas — and becomes part of my piece.”


Travelling to South America has also been an inspiration for Kryot. In his first visit to Brazil in 2002, “the wide range of painting styles fascinated me,” he says. “People have such fresh ideas besides the graffiti mainstream you find in most magazines.” He adds that the locals are also usually welcoming of visitors adding their own paint to the never-ending dirty walls city-wide. His strong impressions continue to influence him to this day.

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Rick Kang

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  1. just a completion to the pics in our story above:

    large images (top to bottom):
    -Cancontrollers feat. Mosta / Austria 2005
    -Kryot, Mosta / Austria 2006
    -Cancontrollers / Austria 2006
    -Cancontrollers feat. Mosta / Austria 2005

    thumbs (left to right):
    -Kryot / Austria 2005
    -Kryot / Austria 2005
    -Kryot / Venezuela 2007
    -Kryot, Okso / Venezuela 2007
    -Kryot, Mosta / Venezuela 2006
    -Kryot, Okso, Mosta / Venezuela 2006
    -Cancontrollers / Austria 1999 (one of our first collabos)
    -Cancontrollers / Austria 2003

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