Artist Interviews 2022
By Johnny Otto
You were born in Germany, is that right? Did you study to be an Artist there or did your artistic pursuits start when you moved to The USA?
While in Germany, I must have been 17 or 18 years old, I worked as an assistant with professional photographer Gerhard Vormwald for several years. After I moved to San Francisco in the fall of 1980, I began my formal education at the San Fransisco Art Institute , where I graduated with a BFA in Film and Painting.
Filmmaking and Photography have always been a big part of your life. Who inspires you in those mediums?
Film: Victorio De Sica, Michelangelo Antonio, Federico Fellini, Jean Cocteau, Jean-Luc Godard, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Fritz Lang
Still: André Kertész, Brassaï, Lásló Maholy-Nagy, Sylvia Plachy, Isle Bing, Gisèle Freund, Man Ray, Gerda Taro, Henri Cartier-Bresson
You adaption series of paintings look like colored film strips that are pieced together like when you edit on a Steenbeck Flatbed and have pieces of film hanging everywhere. Is that the inspiration for this work?
Honestly, I didn’t think about that. But it could very well be. The similarities are striking (Re-arrange and toss it up). Also, I have worked during my art college years as a student editor from early on. There’s a point here. Other than that, I was inspired by the shredding process of documents and its altering of the content to create a new reality - or let’s say image. I’m still utilizing this ‘Altering’ or ‘Adaptation’, with different technics like PIXEL or ROTA PIXEL painting. It is just more subtle and perhaps not apparent at first. The blots or dots of paint can criss cross in a way over time and successive layers like an edited version of a scene (drawing back to the film editing experience).
How influenced are you by Pointillism and artists such as Seurat and Signac?
I didn’t think of it as an influence, since the subject of these artist and their work doesn’t reach into my work very much. Looking at it now, I don’t see any relation. Not by the subject matter or its intent. I think my roots for the pixel painting come from the computer pixel, film grain before that. Working in the digital media, it is quite natural to have pixelated images. I am fascinated by the borderline of pixel versus smooth real subject rendering of objects. Not sure I can express this in words properly.
I love to ask how big a part music plays in the creation of your art or if it inspires you when you paint? If so, what do you list to for inspiration?
A good portion of inspiration comes from classical autograph manuscript - like Beethoven, Debussy, Mozart, Strauss. Just visually speaking. Listening to music while painting is making the process enjoyable. Although I don’t listen to the classics much, I put on random playlists on Sloundcloud to paint to.
You are currently in Los Angeles. Are you showing or do you have any up-coming shows?
I am planning an exhibition late 2022 in Los Angeles. It will be curated by a gallery friend of mine. The space will be a gallery building on Santa Fe downtown Los Angeles. More info to come.
Are there artists that you'd like to collaborate with and why?
Adrian Ghenie does some cool painting. I feel curious around his work.
How has social media affected your approach to art. And whether or not you still need to show your art in galleries or not? Is having an online presence enough?
Social media makes it easy to see tons of art all the time. But it is different to look at it on a feed rather than in a space in the real world. It’s somewhat lagging on emotional interaction and easily forgettable. So it doesn’t replace the gallery. It’s a replace of the flyer on the power pole. Plus, personally, my work looks different on screen or print media. I see social media as a conduit to get the message out, to spread the news. Not the final art piece.