The Sandbox: Create Your Own City!

CITYx stands for the continuous transformation of your city to accomplish the needs of its inhabitants. In order to do so, knowing your city and taking action as citizens is crucial to change urban spaces. Living up to this credo, we stumbled upon the sandbox and wanted to contribute to this emerging spot by making it more skate-able with great illustrative street art. Considering our drawing skills, we gratefully got help from Reskate, RUIN, and adhocrates.

Reskate Arts & Crafts is a workshop and graphic arts studio from Barcelona that creates handmade projects. Reskate is comprised of Maria Lopez and Javier de Riba – both graphic designers and illustrators. The two were supported by Vienna-based artists: RUIN is a street artist and adhocrates are a creative duo specialized in illustration and subculture arts.

In the western part of Vienna, there is a secret place also known as sandbox. Why sandbox? Because the first concrete was mixed out of a children’s playground sandbox. Roby, who has been building the skate spot in his spare time after school, has done quite a tremendous work for his environment. We had the opportunity to speak to Roby, Maria, Javier, and RUIN in person and ask them some questions. Let’s see where it all began.

Q: How did you come up with the idea to build up a skate spot?

Roby: The DIY scene in the world was pretty known mostly in the US because they were the first people that started building. We have a skate park nearby, so we often came here to barbecue or something. I thought the place is pretty awesome and it’s dry from the rain; it is a perfect spot.

Q: What is the foundation here built on? How did you build that up?

Roby: We started by pouring just stones and dirt. Then we came up with the idea that we can use the filling part and the space to fill with garbage because there was a lot of garbage and so we collected it and put it in… The most important part is the back wall, because if you don’t have any back wall you can’t build up – so this is the hardest part.

Q: What do you miss about Vienna as a city?

Roby: I really don’t. I think it’s everything there. And if you don’t have everything, do it by your own as you can see (points out to the skate spot he started building with friends after school).










Q: Maria & Javier, how do you interpret CITYx?

Maria: A city that has space for activities and those activities can interact. It’s like a city where people can participate.

Q: Where do you get your inspiration from? Is there something or anybody you are influenced by?

Javier: When we work with another artists and see how they work, we are really inspired by them. And well, looking how they manage their art, I think that for me, for us, maybe is inspiring.

Q: Do you plan a concept based on a location or does the location inspire the message?

Maria: With graffiti designers and illustrators, I think we are quite stuck going to a place with a previous design. We get inspired by the place but we always work in advance and try to integrate our design in the space.
Javier: Maybe taking colors that are similar in the space or maybe the contrast with the colors in space.
Maria: When we work in a city we like to work with lettering and sentences, so we try to choose words that are related to a space.

Q: What would you say is the meaning behind graffiti or design, and what potential does it have to change things or ideas?

Javier: We are powerful with our job because we can really change. We can affect people in the streets because the image affects you a lot –  for us sure.
Maria: Yes, I think that even if you want to express maybe a political situation or political idea – not only political but also cultural, we work a lot with cultural concepts – I think that having the skill to put this message in a nice way so that people can see is a nice power.

Q: How is Graffiti different from traditional paintings? Is street art a form of conventional art?

Javier: I think the difference in street arts is that there is a dialogue directly with people and with the space.

Q: How do you deal with property damage allegations?

Javier: We choose a space that is really really abandoned, doing what we do, and to clean in one way and putting color in some gray space.

Q: How would you describe your style?

Maria: We’ve got quite a changeable style. I think we don’t stick to a particular style. I admire people who really have a style because then you can recognize their work, but on the other hand I think it’s quite fun to do different things.
Javier: Yeah, we can decide the techniques for each project because the project tells us the way to represent it better, and we will choose the techniques in each project.

Q: What is your favorite aspect of your job?

Javier: Well as we said, we can choose in each project how to work, and I think it’s fun because you have this freedom, and if you are bored of one style you can change it – you can also move to another country. For us, it’s perfect because we are travelling  and working and giving something that we value to the city were we are.



Q: How is graffiti different from traditional paintings? Is street art a form of conventional art?

RUIN: I think that the big difference is that people go outside and paint something for everybody and don’t think about getting paid and shit. I think it’s more free and more fun because people do much more collaborations than in traditional art –  like sitting in the atelier and painting canvas alone.

Q: How do you deal with property damage allegations?

RUIN: I got my own code, that’s it.

Q: What do you miss about Vienna as a city?

RUIN: I would love to have more culture mix and more opened, not so conservative, more friendly people on the street that respect you as a bicycle rider.

Q: Where is your favorite spot in Vienna?

RUIN: Hard to say …there are so many great spots in and around Vienna.

Q: If you could freely choose a wall in Vienna to spray on, which one would it be and why?

RUIN: Never thought about that too much. If I want to do something I may do it.

Q: How would your ideal city look like?

RUIN: Only bicycles and trains.

Q: What is your favorite aspect about your job or basically what you are doing?

RUIN: To inhale all the chemicals. (chuckles)

Q: What’s your favorite color?

RUIN: Green

Q: How would you describe your style?

RUIN: 95 % freestyle, always change to create new style

Q: What’s your favorite beer?

RUIN: Changes everyday.



RUIN, adhocrates and Reskate, thank you very much for your time, creativity and fun!








Watch the video to see the transformation of an urban space:


Images by TJ Alshemaeree

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About Alba Sano

Alba is currently finishing her last semester in Business Administration. Besides that she likes to help scholarship holders at the Austrian Integration Fund as a volunteer. In her spare time she travels a lot and keeps herself busy with reading topics about health, inequality and how the world works.

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