How travel and nature inspire street art

VIDEO and SCKRE (Julia Heinisch & Frederic Sontag) are an artist duo who forms a powerful and inspiring partnership. They boldly turn the public space into their art playground and use it as an experimental field.

Visionary`s team had the pleasure of working with Video.Sckre in the summer of 2023 and hosted them in Bulgaria. Together we managed to create one of the signature murals in Sofia now, facing Bulgaria Blvd. - “Interconnections”, part of the communication and dissemination of the high-tech and research project PROGENY funded by the EU

Lucky to have them here, while working on a parallel project - the SEASONS mural project, on a topic quite related to their style and the messages they generally incorporate into their artworks, Visionary naturally invited them to take part in it as well. Thus, hungry to paint and travel, Video.Sckre arrived in Sofia in August, and 5 weeks later and hundreds of km behind their backs, they left a powerful impact on the street art landscape in Bulgaria and more than 30 art pieces created all around their pathway.




As the artist duo shares, they get their inspiration mainly from nature, their travels, observations, and experiences. Check out more about them in the interview below:

What is the story behind you as a duo?

We originally met at the Meeting of Styles in Wiesbaden in 2016. I (Video) invited Sckre to come and visit me in Vienna someday. Three weeks later he popped up at my door and we spent a couple of great painting days together. Somehow our styles clicked into one another, as did we on a personal and spiritual level. Two years later I had a big project to implement in Upper Austria, so I made a small jam with friends in addition to it, and so we met again over there. Since then we actively work together as a duo. It felt like it was the most natural step to take.




How did you form your collective style? 

Our style developed mainly in a natural way without trying to push it somewhere specific – that wouldn’t work. The theme of Fauna and Flora was already in both of our styles so we focused on that.

We constantly learn from each other. We both have different ways of how to approach a blank wall. Sckre was definitely the one who brought freestyle and “Jazz” into our dynamics.




I was indeed more controlled (e.g. preparing a sketch, thinking of a background, composition, etc.) which for sure had to do with my sculptural studies at art school. Before I got there I had a freer approach on how to do things. I guess I unlearned those skills by overthinking too much. It was the hardest thing to come back to after art school - not to overintellectualize things. Sckre works as a scenic painter for the Kammerspiele in Munich, but in his free work in the outside playgrounds of urban life, he has already had a long practice of experimenting with different ways of color application on surfaces. We both appreciate the raw drawing as a basis for developing an idea and sometimes the drawing is enough, at least for us.




And of course, besides our work together each of us has their own art practice and fields of study, which is super important as it influences and pushes our work together. It is an endless cycle of research and pushing our styles, one could say.


How did you decide to take part in the open call by Progeny for mural painting on the topic of The Socioeconomic & environmental impact of current electronic production and waste? 

We saw the public call online and instantly agreed to participate. First of all, it matched our field of interests (nature, sustainability, and of course, traveling combined with projects) perfectly. The socioeconomic & environmental impact of waste/industry/capitalism is something you cannot ignore at least when you travel a lot and get out of your comfort zone. Also, sustainability is something that interests us a lot because the paint that is being used also produces microplastics and waste. Over the last couple of years, we got closer to the concept of mineral colors, which seems to be a very agreeable way out of these problems. Still, it is a super expensive material.

And last but not least, Bulgaria was one of our favored travel destinations so we at least had to try participating in the open call.




What was the inspiration behind the sketch? What is your message with the painting?

As a compositional and symbolic basis, we chose the functional and optical properties of a printed circuit board. As the cycle of nature and evolution, it also works through connection, conduction, and resistance. The artificial graphic forms on the lower base of our mural develop into organic-natural elements. In the golden ratio of the painting the chip (the main topic of the research project) appears in the colors of the rainbow of a soap film. Between the compositional elements of the circuit board animals are placed. In the sense of a holistic and codependent system, there is one representative for the invertebrates and vertebrates.




Environmental pollution of any kind is not just a red flag in our generation, but also often emotionally charged. It is difficult to find solutions from this starting position, which is why we concentrate on the visual path to give those ideas and approaches the public space they deserve.

One of our core messages in that mural is that with the help of improvisation, reorganization, and adaptation – which is part of human creativity – new solutions can evolve. 

Each crisis pushes the collapse of outdated behavioral structures and the emergence of new forms of behavior - therefore progress happens only through initiative.




You also took part in the mural project SEASONS last summer while in Sofia. Your paintings were in two seasons – SUMMER and WINTER (both created for a day each) :D
How do you relate to the topic of climate change was the main focus of the project?

Our artistic understanding of nature is an idealistic and mannerist version of reality. It shows something that might be lost already or never was but might be – depending on how humankind manages to navigate the “Earthship”. Like all the other international artists who participated in SEASONS, we also observed a loss of the different seasons in our home countries. Each year the hope of redirecting climate change is challenged even more. Topics that seem to distract public attention from this crisis are considered to be separated from it, but they aren’t! All the so-called problems are linked to one another, but humans, and especially politics/media intentionally ignore that. They are not just short-sighted - fast economic profit means more to them. 

What else can art offer to the public than an inspiration for alternative ways of thinking? In the end, the public can decide on how to consume and how to live. 


You have a fascinating portfolio with sophisticated indoor murals and very impressive large murals in the public space as well. On the other hand, I know you both have a passion for painting in abandoned and hidden places. Tell us more about those endeavors. Is there a strange or funny story you relate to a recent painting?

Indeed, there are a lot of stories to be told (and of course some which are not to be told). Usually painting in abandoned areas is something that is handled and perceived very differently. Austria and Germany have a strict policy about that, it’s no fun and has zero acceptance. But as soon as you cross borders (south and east) people are more open-minded, interested, and with a more positive spirit. We met a lot of hospitality throughout the years. Art always gets you in contact with people and connects without the need for a mutually spoken language – it is THE language.




So one story that happened to us in Romania after our five-week trip through Bulgaria took place in a semi-abandoned coal mine. We love to explore these lost places (the parts that are still active we avoid) because of their functionalist architecture and of course, the wild nature reclaiming its right. So, after hours of exploring we decided to paint a small piece. In the moment of adding the last details a car approached and some policemen and coal mine workers jumped out. All of them seemed pretty relaxed after realizing we were just painting there (they were more afraid that someone would steal the metal of this area) and the police were even happier when they saw that their uniform colors were matching our small mural, which was a lucky coincidence. We had a funny chitchat, they complimented us on the painting, and in the end everyone left happy. Maybe this sounds like nothing special but for us, it was one of the most positive experiences with police we ever encountered.


What is your impression of Sofia and Bulgaria? You spent some good time traveling around different mountains and smaller towns.

We are absolutely in love. And still, five weeks weren’t enough to see the whole country. We mostly went into the mountains and natural reserves. Never have we seen so many different wild animals in their natural habitat. Bulgaria is lucky to be such a rich country in this sense. Wealth is something that is in the eye of the beholder, even though many people probably wouldn’t consider it that way. Nevertheless, the potential of nature and its diversity was breathtaking. (This aspect of wilderness is nothing you can find at our home, everything is humanized and controlled.)




We also experienced a lot of hospitality and warmth from people we met on our trip. Also, the public artworks and monuments that can be found throughout the country left a mark on us, and together with the landscape our sketchbooks filled themselves automatically. Traveling usually pushes our style even further, which helps us on a professional level. Bulgaria definitely had a big impact on us. We hope to come back!


The artist duo VIDEO.SCKRE combines a fictional idea of fauna and flora on large-format murals and canvases. 

The base of VIDEO (Julia) `s work is the fast and intuitive sketch. She focuses on the characters of animals in motion and transition, while SCKRE (Frederic) connects them with his ornamental, abstract landscapes, shapes, and forms. He combines impulses from two worlds - classic style graffiti writing on the one hand and his background as a stage painter on the other. Together both artists often experiment with different formats, materials, and techniques. The unifying element of their artistic work is a fictional idea of nature.

SCKRE – Frederic Sontag born in 1988 in Ludwigsburg, Germany – studied scenic painting and is currently working at the Kammerspiele Theater in Munich.

VIDEO – Julia Heinisch born in 1990 in Linz, Austria – studied Art History and Philosophy at the University of Vienna, as well as sculpture at the Art University of Linz.

Together they have owned a studio in Linz (Austria) since 2018 and have realized national and international mural and art projects. 



Text Delyana Angelova

Cover photo: Doug Gillen

Photos in the publication by Mihaela Draganova, Doug Gillen (Fifth Wall TV)


Video for PROGENY by Doug Gillen | Fifth wall TV