DARE to be Different chronicles the life and work of pioneering graffiti artist Sigi “DARE” von Koeding, presenting photographs of street pieces, sketches, and more that fully explore Koeding’s legacy. As the graffiti movement spread into Europe from the US in the mid-1980s, DARE rapidly became one of its major protagonists.
Born and originally based in Basel, Switzerland, DARE created a network of friends that first stretched half a continent and later came to encompass the globe, his art continuing to find new audiences until the time of his death in 2010.
DARE’s original simple four-letter tag evolved into a 3D style that he perfected on canvas as well as on the street; this versatility eventually created a bridge from the back-alley atmosphere of traditional graffiti to the world of avant-garde art galleries, and eventually his contribution to the scene helped it to become an urban spectacle, an art form focused on large-scale mural creations, well-organized competitions, and cultural festivals. His careful eye for form, layout, and coloration gave audiences insight into his personality and often inspired viewers to change their perspective on street art, pushing their perception of the style from simply a form of vandalism to a legitimate art movement. The respect his colleagues had for DARE is still obvious today, especially in Basel, where pieces of his created 25 years ago can still be found untouched by other graffiti artists.