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CARDBOARD MASTERY AND FANTASTICAL SCULPTURES OF DANIEL AGDAG

INTERVIEW: CARDBOARD MASTERY AND FANTASTICAL SCULPTURES OF DANIEL AGDAG

Interview by Evan Pricco

Maybe it’s just me, but there is something quite comforting with controlled chaos. I like the idea of organization amongst all the noise of the world, where you let yourself blend into the mechanice of the modern world. Daniel Agdag, with his fantastical cardboard sculptures of machines, gears and technological structures that surround us, is literally breaking down and examining chaos in new and exciting ways. His newest solo show, Stories I Haven’t Written Down, which runs from February 17—March 17, 2018 at Jonathan LeVine Projects, will be his first solo in the US and feature an array of cardboard and tracing paper works that are both nostalgic and illuminating. We sat down with the Melbourne-based artist to talk about childhood, staying curious and naming his show.

Evan Pricco: This isn’t so much a question but an observation: I assume you were a curious kid. Did you have all sorts of books and LEGOs and K’Nex sets?
Daniel Agdag: I was definitely a very curious kid, but quite introverted. I didn’t have a lot of lego – certainly not as much as I wanted – my parent’s couldn’t afford much so my mum would save for a special set that I would have my eye on. But when I did eventually get the set, I usually disregarded the instructions completely and just made my own things!

What, if anything, does your work say about where you live? In Melbourne?
I would say that I don’t try to specifically reference Melbourne, my inspiration comes from all over. In many ways, I am trying to create my own world, rather than replicate the one I see around me. Of course I do spend my time walking around the industrial parts of Melbourne to gain inspiration, but my work does have a global influence. For instance, I traveled to Tokyo in 2016 and spent the bulk of my time walking around the city with my head cranked up, looking at all the ducting, they have a very impressive arrangements of ducting. I love encountering odd little details too, like a submerged switches on the ground surround by a metal guard or an unusual funnel that receives countless pipes. Its really details that intrigue me, both as a curiosity of what they do and why they were designed to look in such a certain way. The details never get old, they are the strongest driver of my ideas and my questioning of their logic is what creates my narratives.

What were your first forays into sculpture? Did you initially work with cardboard, or did that emerge gradually?
I majored in painting and minored in photography. Sculpture did not emerge as a practice until I lived next door to an architect who introduced me to cardboard as he was using it to make his architectural models. I then began making objects and buildings before moving onto creating my more narrative driven pieces.

Maybe this is silly, but what is something that has piqued your interest recently in regards to your process? Like, what sort of structures or machines are you interested in right now?
Lately I had an series of ideas involving little compact compartments that are also vehicles of some type. I had a very tiny car once and I loved the cosy nature to it. The fact that is was so small meant everything for its function needed to be thought out to make it fit just right in it’s compact framework. I like that idea of people, engineers, designers having a desired set of circumstances that they have to make work and in turn it creates a unique outcome, a peculiar object, vehicle or structure.

What did you make for the LeVine show? I noticed that some of the works deal with flying for this one. What got that sort of train of thought moving?
I like the use of flying (and hence the flying machine) as a metaphor for many challenges and undertakings. I get caught up in these narratives of solitary people who dedicate their lives to a single cause, like inventors or engineers who spend their time pursuing an idea that they can’t let go of for some reason. I like to think of this idea that the works are the end result of such a lifetimes work, of someone doggedly pursing a vision that may never be recognised. And they are poised, ready for launch, possibly into fame and recognition for this work or into complete obscurity. Life can be like that.

I love the name of your show, “Stories I Haven’t Written Down,” and its like the perfect connection to your work. When did that name come up…
All of my show titles sort of emerge from a collective theme that all of the pieces that belong to it encompass.

With this show, I had completed a short animated film last year, that took over 3 years to make, and I was thinking about how with film, especially animation, everything has to follow a process and nothing left to chance. But even during this, my mind is always awash with little stories and ideas that I don’t get a chance to write down, even though I carry a notebook with me at all times. So, contrary to film-making, I think my sculptural practice really embraces this idea of improvisation, and allows for these stories to materialise in the form of a singular piece.

All of the pieces in the show are independent ideas on their own journeys but they are tangentially related to each other in some small way, they may cross paths, they all belong to that same unique world, but they are their own narratives.

Cardboard to me doesn’t seem like the most sturdy of materials, and yet, its all about being pushed around and beat up and it does, indeed, survive. What do you love about cardboard?
Cardboard is a surprisingly robust material that always surprises me to the limits in which I can manipulate it. But also, I like it because of it’s egalitarian nature. It’s recycled, it’s non-toxic and regarded as a commodity. It has a tactility that lends itself to my ideas so well.

I’m not quite sure though if it’s the material itself that fascinates me or what it provides for me that does. I find for me, the narrower the medium, the broader my ideas become. This limitation allows me to be limitlessly imaginative with it. And for me, it’s fluid to work with – without the need for elaborate tools and a large dedicated space. That said, I am constantly surprised by the limits to which I can take it. The most important thing about it is that as a medium for me it offers the least amount of resistance to conceive and express my ideas.

Will you be in NYC for the show? Anything you want to see or do in the City?
Yes, I will be here for the show opening. There are so many things I want to see here, I was here 17 years ago so its been a long time between visits. I do want to relax a little but usually my partner and I like to go to a neighbourhood and just wander around, observing and discovering. But specifically, I will be admiring all of the bridges, all of the Art Deco architecture, Some buildings of note: The Woolworth Building, FlatIron Building and of course, all of the water towers will get a special look in.

Originally featured on Juxtapoz

JOHN JACOBSMEYER ON HIS NEW SHOW, VIDEO GAMES AND THE PERKS OF CHEAP PLYWOOD

INTERVIEW: JOHN JACOBSMEYER ON HIS NEW SHOW, VIDEO GAMES, TV, AND THE PERKS OF CHEAP PLYWOOD

In anticipation of John Jacobsmeyer’s upcoming show, Great Feats and Defeats, at Jonathan Levine Projects, we got in touch with him to hear a bit about where he’s been at lately. Jacosbmeyer’s video-game inspired world of conflict reflects his childhood spent between rural New Hampshire and Virginia, and the freedom and exploration found within childhood dreams and experiences. In his latest show, he hypothesizes a theoretical world where digital technology precedes analog, and how that might play out.

What is one major change in the work from this exhibit as opposed to previous exhibitions?
I think more than my earlier exhibitions, this project, attempts to answer the question: If time were reversed and analog followed digital, if plywood clubhouses were made in order to bring video game narratives into the real world, how would that look? What kinds of stories would take place in that environment?

Tags and graffiti show up throughout your work, do you have a background in graffiti?
I have a background in making clubhouses from scrap plywood salvaged from construction sites in northern Virginia. Sometimes the boards came generously tagged but when we made our clubhouses the graffiti broke up as various boards were cut up or used in different places. The result was a jumbled mosaic of fragments. Over time, I’ve grown to appreciate the work of graffiti bombers like Katsu who uses drones to disrupt mammoth billboards in NYC. My painting “Let’s French” features a Katsu type drone in action.

It also seems like wood plays a continuing role, what is something alluring about painting wood?
I was working on a painting several years ago of Bele and Lochi from a Star Trek episode and wanted them to be in a 1960’s wood paneled den. In order to make the wood paneling, I picked up a woodgraining handbook at Home Depot and found that the layered techniques were similar to how I create flesh in oil paint. I had so much fun painting woodgrain that I couldn’t stop thinking of other paintings I could make with it. Thinking back to my childhood, growing up on a farm in New Hampshire part of the time, and next to the woods in suburban Virginia the other part made me realize, wooden structures, especially ones made of plywood, were everywhere in my life. Rotary sawn, knotty pine plywood is among the cheapest types of wood product, and its figuring is the wildest. For me, that woodgrain pattern evokes sea monsters, evil eyes, dark holes, landscapes and much more.

Some of your pieces feel like stills from a movie or TV show. Do you watch much TV?
TV, yes. We’re experiencing a renaissance in great television lately. Since Battlestar Galactica, TV series have largely outstripped feature films in exploring the narrative possibilities of future humans. I’ll stream a series while painting in the studio. Part of what intrigues me is how far people go to become almost superhuman. This is carried to an extreme in much science fiction, including video games. So, with this show, my inspiration for the environments comes from my favorite video games, namely Doom, Return to Castle Wolfenstein and Halo. What better model to have for the design of a clubhouse than level E4M6 of the original Doom?

What your plans for the rest of the year?
At this point, I’m itching to build something out of actual wood in my workshop, a spaceship perhaps. Also, I want to try and build a world using the same 3D modeling software I use for the individual models in my paintings. This will likely take time, but will provide many opportunities for new paintings.

Great Feats and Defeats will run at Jonathan Levine Projects from Februray 17—March 17, 2018.

Originally featured on Juxtapoz

Kip Omolade: Heavy Metal Deity (Interview)

KIP OMOLADE

HEAVY METAL DEITY

INTERVIEW BY RON ENGLISH // PORTRAIT BY BRYAN DERBALLA 

I haven’t yet had the pleasure of meeting Kip Omolade face-to-face, but I have certainly pondered the faces he has made. I have always been mesmerized by reflective surfaces and fully understand the complexities of painting oil on canvas to mimic light on metal. The heft of Kip’s art stems from its elemental expression of mystery in simplicity and of specificity into universal patterns and form.

Ron English: How personal is your art?
Kip Omolade: My art is deeply personal. The use of color is directly connected to my NYC graffiti days. The sci-fi look is connected to my childhood and teenage interest in comic books and my internship at Marvel Comics. The use of oil paint is connected to my painting from life at SVA and the Art Students League of New York.

Your inspiration comes from the African art tradition of mask making. Have you retained any of the original inspiration, like magical thinking or power imbuing in your modern interpretation?
I’m inspired by the African representation of deities. The Nigerian Ife culture specifically created sculptures that combined the natural features of actual leaders and a spiritual ideal. With my latest self-portraits, I’m exploring the role of an artist as a sort of deity.

How important are the details in the reflections? Do they constitute a primary or a secondary narrative?
It depends. I usually work within two motifs. Sometimes I’m interested in a spiritual, timeless look, so I’ll position my sculptures so that the reflections are reduced to abstract shapes and colors. Other times, I’ll take my sculptures outside so I can get reflections of the world and me. This approach gives me a chance to capture a specific moment in time and make a landscape, a portrait and a still life all in one painting.

People always look for themselves in reflections. How do you exploit this human inclination?
I don’t know if I consciously try to exploit people’s need to see themselves in reflections. I’m more interested in representing mere human existence. However, some people see my work online and think I just mount sculptures against colorful backgrounds. I suppose that when they see the work in person, they expect to see themselves but are surprised to see that the work is a painting.

There is a dichotomy between the work of art as a unique object and a work of art as an illustration of something else. You seem to be trying to balance these two artistic strategies in your work. Am I reading this correctly?
Yes. I want viewers to notice the beauty of my work and my craftsmanship, but I also want to illustrate the historical significance and cultural meaning. One of the things I appreciate about your work is that it’s skillfully done and captures the viewer’s attention, but there is also a message about society.

Have you ever thought of doing the reverse version to create a model that would be the inverse of the face? Then you could stage a more internal narrative in the room that would reflect into it, for a counterpoint piece.
That’s an interesting idea. I’ve never thought of that.

Have you considered selling the masks themselves? What is your idea of prop versus art piece?
Yes, I’ve thought of selling the masks themselves. During the process, I’ve always thought about displaying them as luxury items. In fact, when I’m finished with the sculptures, I usually ceremoniously mount each piece against a panel with my Diovadiova logo on it. I look at props as part of the art. The whole process itself of reproducing a reproduction of a reproduction of a reproduction of a reproduction of a reproduction is a kind of performance art.

Describe your process, including fabrication and photography as you arrive to the final end piece, which is the painting.
I start by making a mold and cast of the model’s face. I work the plaster sculpture by sculpting eyes and nostrils and refining the overall face. I use the sculpture to produce a resin version that is chromed. For the sculptures of women, I add eyelashes to match their personalities. I photograph the final sculpture and use references to paint on canvas.

What’s the largest work you’ve done so far?
My largest painting so far is 96 x 74 inches.

What monumental or fantasy project would you want to do if money and time were no object?
I would love to travel the world and photograph my self-portrait chrome sculpture in various locales. I would also love to work on portraits of iconic people like Obama, Beyonce, Rihanna and Chuck Close.

How has your experience working within the gallery system been?
The gallery system is a relatively new experience for me. I’ve been working independently and made more money on my own selling directly to clients. It’s fun to get all of the money directly, but there is something that’s still powerful about working with the infrastructure of an established gallery. They still have the connections and power to sell, so the artist can focus on creating. This is why my upcoming Diovadiova Chrome show at Jonathan LeVine marks an important moment in my career.

Who is collecting your work and what are they seeing in the work as opposed to your original intentions? Has your interaction with the public changed your approach in any way?
Most of my collectors are entrepreneurs who are interested in the universal look of my work. They pretty much get my original intentions of cultural ties but they also make an emotional connection.

Earlier this year, I had a show at Viacom in NYC and was happy with the reactions from so many different people from different nationalities and backgrounds. The experience didn’t change my approach but it was meaningful and confirmed my vision.

Originally featured in Juxtapoz Magazine Winter 2018 Issue

 

 

 

 

Creativebloch Interviews Jonathan LeVine (Video)

As Jonathan LeVine Projects approaches its one year anniversary in Jersey City, Jonathan LeVine sat down with Creativebloch Magazine for a candid conversation about relocating from NYC, the art market and advice he gives emerging artists.  Watch the full interview below and pick up the Winter 2017 issue of Creativebloch for more with LeVine, as well as a recap of our Fall 2016 exhibition with Handiedan.

Video courtesy of CREATIVEBLOCH and PISTON RING MEDIA

 

Erik Jones on Hi-Fructose

Erik Jones Offers New Vibrant Works in ‘Armor’

By Andy Smith

The vibrant work of Erik Jones takes an intimate step in a new series of images under the title Armor at Jonathan Levine Projects. The works mix acrylics, watercolor, pencil, water-soluble wax pastel, and other materials.

“(His) work is vibrant and colorful, expressing a heightened sense of realism captured in his female subjects, juxtaposed with sporadic mark making and non-representational forms that could be said to mimic geometric high-end fashion,” a past statement said. “This effect is achieved by using multiple mediums (…) ”

Originally featured on Hi-Fructose

‘From Dream To Reality’ with Carlos Ramirez (Short Film)

road animation

 

In “From Dream to Reality“, filmmaker Max Joseph shared the out loud process of coming up with the original idea to cover road medians in art that would appear to become animated as people drove by, the challenges of unforseen hurdles and the creative collaborations that would change and evolve the idea over the course of the project.

When the medians proved difficult and far to time consuming to implement, Joseph turned to friend Casey Neistat and by working together, they came up with the idea of lining the walls beside roads all over the country with a strip of art panels that appear to become animated as people drive by. The animation by Anthony Scheppard, as captured on a Samsung phone, is absolutely amazing and the artwork by Carlos Ramirez is just magnificent.

And for the animation we decided to tell the story of the road you travel when you create something. The way it feels when you have a good idea. The way it evolves when it becomes real. The way you need to adapt with it. The way you charge forward. …The way you count on your friends… the way you outrun the obstacles.

Originally featured on Laughing Squid

Carlos Ramirez in BL!SS Magazine

THE ART OF CARLOS RAMIREZ

Marsea Goldberg

October 9, 2017

Carlos-Ramirez-1

This month we have the pleasure of featuring Coachella-based artist Carlos Ramirez, formerly one half of the art duo The Date Farmers. Ramirez’s new body of work is stunningly multidimensional, integrating Mexican iconography with embedded catholic symbolism, and it is peppered with political and pop culture innuendos. Just as multi-faceted as the subject matter, the body of work is structurally textured as well. Ramirez employs various house paints and acrylic in his work, as well as found objects from the “City of Eternal Sunshine.” We asked good friend Marsea Goldberg of New Image Art Gallery to ask Carlos a couple of questions about his art, an upcoming film project and the Coachella Valley. Many thanks to Marsea and Carlos for taking the time and energy for such a lovely interview.

What is your contribution to this film/art project? What are you doing on the project and how did this project that combines art and film come about?
Aside from the aesthetics and certain elements, I also helped compose and conceptualize part of the narrative and certain aspects of the project that Max Joseph initially envisioned.

When will it be coming out and where? I heard Marfa, Texas, Los Angeles, or will it be both? Is that still happening?
Apart from being cohost on Catfish, Max Joseph is a dope-ass filmmaker that has done films, shorts and tons of other work that has touched, explored, questioned and brought to the forefront a lot of today’s abrasive and sensitive issues in an honest and unapologetic way. [He covers] issues that seem to be becoming the norm in today’s social climate, which are some of the same issues I explore in my work. We’re both using a similar formula and approach, so cohesion of the two was a no-brainer and he asked me if I’d be down to collaborate on a project with him.

I’ve never seen anything done quite like this and on this scale, so we’ve been working on this project figuring out the logistics as we go, as there are no previous reference points. But I think I can safely say it’s close to completion, so very soon. And yes, Marfa and Los Angeles are both being considered.

How has your work grown through the years as part of the Date Farmers?
As part of my continued journey and part of the former collaborative The Date Farmers, my work and vision have grown immensely, and on so many different levels. Having someone to harmonize and resound ideas with can be a very reinforcing thing to an artist, especially on self-doubting, fucked-up days.

How is your art different now that you are painting separately?
It’s different in that I’ve started to explore and venture into that whole idea of making it more personal and intimate in the sense that all risk or reward, curse or blessing, is mine, and in whatever the subject matter may be, as I keep developing and evolving the subject matter or message.

What are your favorite subjects to paint?
I paint and draw shit that I like and that which intrigues me, so most are my favorite, but I tend to lean towards animals or clowns; they seem to offer innocence and escape in today’s world, along with humor and emotion, and they point back to the natural world.

How have our current political climate, racism, immigration and the cancelling of D.A.C.A. impacted people in Coachella, you, and how does it play out in your new artwork?
Man, where can I start? Funny how we say “climate.” And if that’s the case then “hate” seems to be the wind right now that is blowing the sand off and revealing these issues that have never really gone anywhere. They have been right below the surface all along. Immigration and racism are nothing new, especially to those who have been in the social trenches or on the political frontlines the whole time.

The cancellation of D.A.C.A., that was deservedly earned and fought for by young people that only want the best for themselves and this country, stems from what can only be a negative and dark place. And it has affected the Coachella Valley in the same negative way it has affected every other city in the U.S.A. – creating fear, hate and social instabilities and nothing productive.

I think today’s political climate has gotten to an obvious point, a point with no in-betweens, creating separation and the fraying of the American people and forcing the choosing of certain sides, all of which is manifesting in not only my work, but in force among artist in the art world.

What do you have planned for your future creatively? Any large projects?
I hope to and have definitely been exploring into larger public works and installations, the last being a 30-foot sculptural piece I designed after my nephew asked me to draw him for “Coachella.” I titled the piece “Sneaking Into The Show,” and it’s of a shirtless cholo, his lowrider bike and his girlfriend, which ended up being more of a protest piece. And I am already in planning for future public projects.

Your work has an amazing color vibe – where do you think that stems from?
Apart from certain color combinations being more fulfilling to me, I have always been drawn to the use of color in most Third World countries, where the population seems to lean more heavily on imagery and the use of color due to high rates of illiteracy.

How have Coachella and the nearby desert communities changed since “Coachella,” and how has it impacted the arts?
Nothing has changed for the surrounding migrant or working-class communities surrounding Coachella, but the amount of traffic has. Most of the art installations brought into “Coachella” aren’t local, so the impact it has had on the local art scene is almost none.

Are you still treasure hunting in the dessert for collage materials?
I am still looking in the desert among other places for material, and supply is in abundance since I mostly use discarded materials.

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Originally featured on BL!SS Magazine

The Unmaking of ‘I Don’t Want To Grow Up’ by Alessandro Gallo

Alessandro Gallo’s solo exhibition For Some Reason (2016) featured I Don’t Want To Grow Up, a stoneware sculpture standing 18 inches tall modeled after the likeness of Jonathan LeVine. This new video – The Unmaking of I Don’t Want to Grow Up – show the artists process in reverse, giving a new perspective to the art of sculpting. Be sure to listen with for sound! The editing closely follows the song that inspired the piece – I Don’t Want To Grow Up by the Ramones

Gallo’s mixed-media process is rooted in realism and he begins by photographing his models from multiple angles. The resulting photographs are then used in conjunction with images from animal wildlife books as references while sculpting. He adorns his mutant species with clothing, tattoos and other attributes of typical city-dwellers, and positions them within mundane human circumstances, such as standing in an elevator or taking out the garbage. By placing his compositions within the minutia of daily life Gallo views his work as psychological portraits that embark upon themes of alienation, boredom and loneliness. Whether originally derived from nature or culture, his characters effectively embodying the values and vices of human nature.

Email sales@jonathanlevineprojects.com regarding availability.

The Making of ‘Lick NY’ by Prefab77

Prefab77 has a reputation for creating an all out assault of patterns and textures in his prints – from hand painted backgrounds to stencil and graffiti work, he weaves a luxurious mixture of acrylic, spraypaint, wheatpaste and foil across a range of high quality papers and reclaimed substrates.  For his upcoming release, he created a limited edition run of his iconic painting, Lick New York, in 5 different versions!  Available for purchase on Monday, December 18th, at 9 am on our online shop.

The artist began Lick New York by hand painting the background and base layers, highlighting specific areas with acrylic paint and gold metallic ink to denote points of interest and mimic the variegated NYC skyline.

He then used an ultra violet black ink to add his detailed mash-up of figures and symbols. Prefab77 describes, “The imagery in Lick New York is a hard edged, stripped down, ripped and torn cheeky montage of popular culture, politics and music reflecting the spirit of the great cities of the world but focusing on the greatest of them all, New York City.”

The process of creating this ambitious required an element of experimentation that resulted in a series of smaller, intrinsic runs aside from the main edition, which are special in their rarity and include extra layers.

Lick New York will be available for purchase on Monday, December 18th, at 9 am on our online shop

 

Kip Omolade in Asbury Park Press

NYC artist focuses on human faces

By Billy Anania

Kip and Diovadiova Chrome Kip X

Kip Omolade’s Diovadiova Chrome series is a perpetual work in progress, and each new exhibition reveals an expansion of his particular vision.

The New York City artist works in sculpture and mixed media, creating intersectional paintings through a multidisciplinary process. The abstract portraits that comprise his ongoing series analyze immortality, identity and body image as they relate to psychology and spirituality.

This weekend, Jonathan LeVine Projects is hosting Omolade’s latest incarnation of Diovadiova Chrome at their new location in Mana Contemporary. The opening reception will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 18. The exhibition will be on display at the Jersey City museum through Dec. 16.

Kip-Omolade-Diovadiova-Chrome

Omolade develops his paintings through multiple stages. He first creates face molds from human models using cast plaster, resin and chrome paint. These masks are then photographed and rendered with oil paint on canvas.

The molding process was influenced by ancient African traditions such as ivory masks and Ife bronze heads. The artist has adapted this form of representation to the 21st century, through the use of metallic paint and digital photography.

Kip and Diovadiova Chrome Michelle I

In studying human subjects, Omolade emphasizes the particular features of each visage.

“There is something powerful that happens when an artist focuses his or her entire attention to capturing a person’s likeness,” he said. “With ‘Diovadiova Chrome,’ the attention is even more amplified because I’m actually touching the model’s face during the molding process. I get to know more about the person when I feel the contours and details of her face.”

The juxtaposition of chrome and neon creates a glamorous ambience reminiscent of high-end urban nightclubs and fashion magazines. Omolade cites contemporary pop culture as the original catalyst for the series.

“I was studying the relationship between art and celebrity, but the process allowed me to explore various ways of representing a person’s face,” he said. “One of my final versions of the ‘Diovadiova’ model was a metallic rendition that referenced sci-fi characters. First I used a combination of sculpture, Photoshop and painting to achieve the shiny surface. But in terms of self-expression, I wanted something that was more truthful. With a lot of trial and error, I developed my chrome technique.”

Kip-Omolade-Diovadiova-Chrome-Kitty-Cash-III-2015

In synthesizing ancient rituals with modern tones, Omolade has established an innovative form of expression. The artist developed a 10-year plan for different “Diovadiova Chrome” exhibitions, with each show representing a specific chapter in a larger story.

In December, Jonathan LeVine Projects is also featuring Omolade’s work at the SCOPE Art Show, part of Art Basel in Miami. For more information on the artist, follow @kipomolade on Instagram or visit www.kipomolade.com.

Originally featured in the Asbury Park Press

The Weird Show Interviews Eric Basstein

Eric Basstein. Turning collage sketches into mesmerizing paintings.

October 31, 2017

– Please, introduce yourself, tell us a little bit about you.
I’m Eric a 36 year old from The Netherlands. I live in Eindhoven, a city in the south of the Netherlands. It’s the 5th biggest city in The Netherlands with lot’s of high tech and design industry. Since a kid i’m interested in drawing and music. I’ve tried to combine those two as much as i can. There were fases that music was more present then art and the other way around. After more then ten years as a dj i desided to focus on my art. I didn’t want to lose my history in music and that’s how i came up with the idea of sampling art just like producers do with music. Just like a producer samples parts from other songs i try to do that with existing images. I sample them into a collage and use that as the sketch for my paintings.

Eric Basstein-Triumph

– You paint collages… How did you arrive to do blend these techniques in your own style?
I made some collages when i was in art school and always had the idea of transforming them into a painting. So when i had the the idea of sampling the collages made sense to use. I always start off going trough books and magazines without any idea in mind. The trick is not to search for things. I think if you are searching for something it’s hard to find it and also you are controlling to much. I just flip pages and if i see some i like i cut it out. After that it becomes a puzzle. I try so find the right balance between colours and shapes.

– How did music inform and influence your art? 
When i paint i’m always listening to music. Most of the time it’s in the same way like i used to build up my own dj sets. So i start the day with some soundscape or ambient stuff, after that it’s mostly jazz and hip hop and at the end of the day it’s time to bounce it of with some house music. I’m not sure if music also influences the image itself, mostly my mood i guess.

Eric Basstein-Bring A Flute To A Gun Fight

– How is your workflow? Is collage anyway involved? 
Every painting starts with a collage. Sometimes i make multiple collages and pick the best one. Then i transfer the collage on to the canvas. When most of the collage is painted i look for parts that need to be changed. This can mean that i change a colour or shape. Most of the time i really stick to the collage. The last step is the background.

– What´s not enough in a collage that you need to use paint to achieve your goals? What gets lost in the translation from collage to paint? 
I like to work pretty big so that’s the first “problem” with a collage. Also i’m a painter, it’s something that i want and need to do. After a couple day’s off i always feel the need to paint. I think that the translation from collage to a painting makes the image even stronger. With a collage it are all sharp pictures. It all has the same look and feel and the same quality. When it’s painted there’s more to see, the structure, the imperfections. The balance get’s more interesting.

Eric Basstein-The Air Between Us

– In the era of immediacy, the idea of turning something quite simple and fast (collage) into something more complex and time consuming (painting) seems really interesting and defying. Is there a sociopolitical comment in there? Do you feel your work process has a message on itself? 
Never thought about it like that, but you are right about the time process. I do think that people should take more time for things. Lot’s of people go to fast just to get it out as quick as possible to get likes etc. We check out phones every 15 minutes, need a new Netflix serie at least every month. I do like to take time, see something evolve, enjoy the process. I must say it took time for me to get more patience. In the beginning i wanted a painting to be finished in a week. After that it became two or three weeks. Now i’m not thinking of time as much but more in result.

– What´s your definition of collage and how your work fits into that definition?
For me the collage is a tool, a sketch. They don’t need to be perfect. I don’t glue them or use the best papier etc. Sometimes i recycle collages that i used before. Strip parts that i like and use them for a new collage.

Eric Basstein-Flying With Elephants

– Have you ever exhibited paper collage? 
No, never did that, but thinking to do so in the future. Exhibit them together with my paintings to have a bigger body of work.

Originally featured on The Weird Show

Handiedan Interview in Mass Appeal

INVESTIGATING FEMININITY, HANDIEDAN TIME TRAVELS TO ‘THE FOURTH DIMENSION’

Originally featured on Mass Appeal