There are few graffiti artists with the acclaim, success, and widespread recognition like DAIM. This German graffiti artist rose to prominence in the nineties and has since been on the cutting edge of graffiti and street art. Widely recognized as the man who popularized the 3-D art style of graffiti, his work is often replicated by artists, but few have managed to match his skill and technical proficiency.
DAIM, born Mirko Reisser in 1971, showed an early interest in art and was already getting commissions by the time he left high school. He entered the world of freelance artistry soon after and spent the next five years making a name for himself in the German art scene. It was during this period, the mid-nineties, that graffiti art became a more widely-recognized form of art and DAIM’s pieces soon became the picture-perfect examples of the European and German graffiti scene. In his own words, DAIM’s “geometric figures and letters obey the laws of light and shadow but defy gravity and curve space.”
DAIM’s first major contribution to the art world was his now trademark 3-D style. Inspired by artists like Vincent Van Gogh and Salvador Dali, DAIM sought to create 3-D images without relying on outlining, as was common at the time, but with forms made from shading. The result is brightly-coloured pieces that seem to hang just off the wall, all with a profound eye for technical merit and style, something that DAIM further honed when he did his fine arts degree at Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts in Switzerland.
While at school, cofounded “getting up,” an art collective that operated primarily out of Hamburg that consisted of DAIM, Gerrit Peters, and Heiko Zahlmann. The group works together to this day.
The vast majority of DAIM’s work even today focuses on letters and words, and his photorealistic stylings before he came to graffiti are present in each of his pieces. Combining a fresh look at graffiti writing with a strict adherence to the art and styles that form the backbone of European art, DAIM can be seen as one of the integral artists for moving graffiti from an attraction to an art-form with a history and connection to the European art scene.
DAIM’s impact is still felt on the graffiti and street art scenes to this day, not just for his early pioneering work, but for his contemporary projects. He was responsible for providing a certain technical mastery to the craft at a time when street art and graffiti artists were seen as amateurs unable to enter the art gallery, and his 3-D style has become a mainstay and standard for anyone who wants to make art with a spray can.