The Sicksystems

[Ed note: Print will be
featuring one New Visual Artist per day while the issue is on
newsstands. Keep checking back every weekday for new profiles on printmag.com. You can view
the entire list of winners here.]

Storefront graphics for Kixbox, a street-fashion store. Designers: The Sicksystems (Aske, Alex Kio).
Title: Graphic Artist, Designer 
From: Moscow
Lives in: Moscow
Age: 24
When he was 18, the Russian graffiti writer and graphic designer known as “Aske” founded the Sicksystems, a graffiti crew that gradually–as is happening more and more frequently these days–evolved into a creative collective and began getting work from high-profile clients like Miller and Nike. Six years later, Aske is striking out on his own, hoping to eventually establish himself as “a graphic artist and not just as a graphic designer.” 
These days, Aske works from home rather than the street, but he still begins by sketching and finding inspiration in familiar places. “I get inspired by the white walls of my room, because they remind me of a blank sheet of paper you can draw something on,” he says. 
And though Aske pays tribute to his graffiti past, he admits that the genre has its drawbacks. “Graffiti sets quite strict limits on creativity, and it’s recognized mainly by the writers themselves,” he says. “That’s why I decided not to limit myself to graffiti and develop by experimenting with different art forms. Still, doing graffiti I learned that to stand out, you must have your own unique style and try to be better than the rest.” 
That unique style is very geometric and inspired by Constructivist abstraction, science fiction, and video games. His work is also heavily based on letterforms. For the Moscow sneaker boutique Kixbox, Aske and former members of the Sicksystems created a landscape of colored shapes and letters–typography as topography. For Nike, the crew built an installation in which the letters looked like they had been forged in Communist factories. .
This love of letters may well be hereditary–Aske’s father is a type designer. “I think that in a way I inherited my love for letters from him,” he says. 
 
Illustration for the 10th anniversary edition of the Spanish magazine Belio.

 
“Air Force One” sculpture made for a Nike Sportswear campaign in Moscow. Designers: The Sicksystems (Aske, Alex Kio, Ivan Kola).

[View the entire list of winners here.]  
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About Charlotte West

Charlotte West is a Seattle-based writer who previously spent six years in Stockholm, Sweden. She writes about design and architecture for Print, Icon, Computer Arts and Men's Journal, and translates Swedish design magazine Form into English. Her first book, Projekt: The Polish journal of visual art and design, just came out from London-based publisher, Unit Editions (2011).

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