Gabriele Wendland - Schnappschuss
Kategorie: Portraits

 

Die Werke der freien Künstlerin Gabriele Wendland sind so lebendig wie ihr ansteckendes Lachen, das ich noch gut aus unserer gemeinsamen Elternratszeit aus der Schule unserer nahezu gleichaltrigen Söhne kenne. Gabriele Wendland photographiert als Grundlage für ihre Zeichnungen und Malerei und produziert auch Holzschnitte. Ihre figurativen Acryl- oder in Mischtechnik erschaffenen Bilder sind ungewöhnlich und humorvoll. Es ist viel Bewegung in ihnen. Die Hamburger Malerin stellte kürzlich in China und den USA aus, gibt zahlreiche Kurse im Kulturhaus Süderelbe und in der Hamburger Kunsthalle, engagiert sich in der GEDOK, der Gesellschaft für deutsch-chinesischen Kulturaustausch und für Menschen mit Fluchterfahrung. Ich durfte sie im April 2016 in ihrem Atelier in Hamburg besuchen und lasse sie hier im Originalton zu Wort kommen.

Worum geht es in deiner Kunst? Wie beschreibst du deine Malerei?

„Ich habe keinen großen philosophischen Ansatz, sondern einen bildlichen Ansatz. Das, und so einen geschichtlichen Ansatz. Ich setze meine eigene Biographie als Ansatz mit ein. Ich erzähle eine Geschichte, aber nicht, wie einen Roman. Wenn ich mein Bild erkläre, dann würdest du wissen, wie ich denke, was ich mache und was ich tue. Ich erkläre aber nicht jedes einzelne Bild. Das ist unangenehm für mich. Und das ist teilweise auch Nonsens, also sagen wir mal so: Einer meiner Lieblingsschriftsteller ist der Murakami, da geht es um Realität. Also eigentlich um realistische Malerei, die in die Phantasie geht. Oder anders herum. Das ist eigentlich so der theoretische Ansatz meiner Bilder.

Der praktische Ansatz ist sehr experimentell. Es gibt viele verschiedene Möglichkeiten, ein Bild zu beginnen. Das wechselt bei mir immer je nach Stimmung. Manchmal ist es eine Idee und dann Experiment oder erst ein Experiment und dann diese Idee hineingeben. Einmal ist es ein sehr experimenteller Ansatz und dann ein ganz bewusster Ansatz. Und mein bewusster Ansatz ist ganz klassisch. Ich arbeite viel nach Photos, ich habe ja kiloweise Photos. Bis jetzt hab ich alle Photos selbst gemacht. Also grundsätzlich mache ich selbst Photos. Das heißt aber nicht, dass ich jetzt ein Photo abmale, sondern eine Figur kommt aus dem Photo, die andere aus dem Photo, ach, das Haus interessiert mich… Ob ich nun zeichne, drucke, male, es gibt keine Vorzeichnungen sondern ich arbeite es direkt, also ich übertrage niemals ein Bild auf was anderes. Aber ich probiere im Kleinen natürlich aus. Ich habe immer neue Ideen und dann probiere ich erst mal im Kleinen aus: Kann man damit arbeiten? Und wenn ich merke, diese Geschichte interessiert mich mehr, dann fange ich an, erst größer zu werden. 

Gabriele Wendland Triptychon B-M BandDas zieht sich auch irgendwie durch. Bei Musik habe ich so kleine Zeichnungen und dann wird das ganz groß und anders herum. Ich arbeite immer experimentell, auch wenn ich nach Photos arbeite. Und wenn ich anfange, dann ist immer wichtig: Wie verhält sich die Farbe? Wenn ich nach einem Photo male, mache ich nicht eine genaue Vorzeichnung, sondern ich sehe: Aha, jetzt habe ich gerade zu viel Rot, verdünn' sie mir und male das rot an, und dann läuft alles runter und zack zack zack zack. Und dann nehme ich Blau und mache die nächste Figur: zack zack zack zack, dann läuft es. Dann drehe ich das Bild um, dann mach ich das, zack zack zack zack läuft es runter. Wenn ich dünne grobe vorzeichne, kippe ich irgendwie Farbe rauf, wie sich das verhält, damit ich Strukturen habe. Also Strukturen entstehen immer dadurch, dass ich Farbe laufen lasse.

Ich male ja mit Öl. Oder sagen wir mal so: Ich fange mit Acryl an, mit sehr flüssiger Farbe teilweise, mit Öl würde es hier nur nach Terpentin dampfen. Ich fange wirklich mit Acryl an, damit ich herumprobieren kann. Und dann mache ich ein Grundgerüst. Dann stelle ich das Bild erst mal weg. Für einen Monat. Ich arbeite mindestens an zwanzig Bildern. Das bedeutet immer: Ich arbeite, je nachdem, wie groß das Bild ist, eine Woche oder zwei Wochen am Bild. Oder einen Tag, je nachdem. Bei Kleinen ist es ja manchmal nur eine halbe Stunde, mehr nicht, und dann lege ich es weg. Und das heißt, jedes mal, wenn ich es nach einem Monat wieder hervorhole, dann sind meine Gedanken ganz woanders. Und dadurch entstehen die Ebenen.

Man hat vielleicht eine Idee und dann kann man es probieren, ob man das so in die Richtung kriegt, aber im Prinzip spielt es mit dem Zufall. Und aus diesen Strukturen, die entstehen, das kann Farbe laufen sein, das kann irgendwie klecksen sein, das kann sein: Oh, jetzt habe ich Farbe über - ich bin ja irgendwie ökologisch, irgendwie habe ich keine Lust, viel Farbe wegzuschmeißen, irgendwie so ein Umweltbewusstsein - das heißt ich schmiere hier einfach irgendwie dicke Farbe drauf, dann habe ich dicke Strukturen. Oder ich mache noch Sand drauf. Manchmal habe ich eine Tube genommen und einfach so drauflos. Das kann ein sehr realistischer Beginn sein, der ins Phantastische geht, und dann geht‘s auch anders herum, dass es einfach irgendwie von Sand ausgeht, also erst nicht nach Photo gearbeitet.

Dieses experimentelle Arbeiten finde ich ganz schwierig. Ich kann mir kein Ziel setzen. Ich habe mir im Leben nie irgendein Ziel gesetzt: Das und das muss ich irgendwie sein. In der Malerei mache ich das auch nie, sondern ich lebe so mehr oder weniger in den Tag hinein. Gut, ich hab so mein Ziel: Ich will malen, ich will dies, ich will das, aber wenn man nur das Ziel sieht, dann fühlt man sich überfordert. Man muss sehen, dass man nicht überfordert ist, sondern einfach bestimmte Dinge ausprobieren. Wenn ich sag: Oh, ich komm überhaupt nicht weiter, dann mache ich Musik, dann mache ich Sport, dann mach ich dies, dann geh ich einmal den Jakobsweg oder was auch immer. Man macht Sport, man malt, man macht Musik und man macht irgendwas, und schon fühlt man sich wohler.

Die Idee ist ganz einfach. Es gibt ganz viele Möglichkeiten. Ich habe so ein paar Grundideen, das ist Musik, das ist China, das ist Schrift, das ist Sport, also irgendwie was mit Bewegung, irgendwie was mit Menschen, die was machen. Ich mache auch schon seit fünf, sechs, zehn Jahren irgendwie eine Serie mit meinem Sport Tai Chi. Das sind so Grundideen, die sich immer wieder durch mein ganzes Werk ziehen. Angefangen habe ich mit Männern.“ Sie lacht.

Gabriele Wendlands Männer

„Das war in den Achtziger Jahren, wo es auch in der Werbung so gewesen ist, dass immer nur mit Frauen geworben wird, dass die Frau so sexualisiert worden ist. Ich sollte eine kunstwissenschaftliche Arbeit schreiben über das Schöne an der Frau, also am weiblichen Akt. Hat mich nicht interessiert. Ich habe über den männlichen Akt geschrieben und damit habe ich mich ganz viel mit Männern und „wie werden Männer dargestellt?“ befasst, in meiner ganzen Malerei und der Beziehung Mann-Frau. Beziehung Mann-Frau, Männer, das war eins der ersten Themen.

Natürlich habe ich auch Stilleben gemacht, alles mögliche, ich habe alles ausprobiert. Aber das erste, woran ich wirklich ganz lange gearbeitet habe, das waren Männer, die Darstellung von Männern und die Darstellung von Beziehungen. Und die Technik ist auch ganz wichtig, weil mein Lebensgefährte Ingenieur ist, das heißt, es durchzieht sich immer irgendwas Elektronisches. Ich habe mal in einem winzigen zehn Quadratmeter-Zimmer mit schrägen Wänden gearbeitet, und da habe ich nach einem dreiviertel Jahr festgestellt, dass ich lauter eingesperrte Männer male." Sie lacht wieder. "Das Umfeld spielt mit. Im Winter bin ich meistens irgendwie drin und male oder arbeite und mache nicht so viel, vor allem nicht, wenn es regnet. Und dann kommen da halt eingesperrte Männer heraus. Oder, als mein Sohn klein war, habe ich lauter angeschlossenen Männer gemalt. So Landschaften mit an Computer angeschlossenen Männern. Und Häuser, die irgendwie Hände haben, so weibliche Häuser, die sich Männer grabschen.“

Gabriele Wendland - Häuser

Was die Künstlerin zum Arbeiten braucht

Sie lacht: „Auf jeden Fall den Zufall auch…. Material….. und irgendwie ein interessantes Leben!“

Malerei mit Tagebuchfunktion

„Ich habe ein Atelier und ich arbeite in einer Kunstwerkstatt für Flüchtlinge. Tagebuch ist übertrieben, aber vielleicht ist es so eine Art Tagebuch, das ich führe mit meinen Bildern. Und wenn man so mein Werk sieht, dann weiß man eigentlich, was in meinem Kopf so mein Leben lang herum gegeistert ist. Und wenn ich der Meinung bin, in ein Musikbild muss jetzt ein Flüchtling rein" - hier lacht sie erneut - "dann kommt er da mit rein!

Auch wenn ich nicht so viel Input habe, es kommt irgendwas dabei herum. Aber das, was eben für mich wichtig ist. Meine Malerei ist immer wie so ein Tagebuch von dem, was mir gerade zu dem und dem Zeitpunkt wichtig ist. Deswegen gibt es auch viele China-Bilder, das hat sehr viel mit meinen Aufenthalten da zu tun. Schrift ist auch ein ganz wichtiges Element. Ich habe ganz oft immer mit mit Schrift gearbeitet, aber nicht mit chinesischen Schriftzeichen, auch meinen Sohn sollte ich photographieren, er wollte kopfüber Harry Potter lesen. Und dann sollte ich das malen, das hab ich dann auch gemacht (lacht), da war er irgendwie sechs, sieben, und dann habe ich ihn dann photographiert, wie er auf dem Stuhl saß mit den Füßen nach oben Harry Potter lesend, das habe ich dann wirklich fast 1:1 auch gemalt.

Gabriele Wendland - Bücherwurm

Dann die chinesischen Schriftzeichen. In China, da gibt es eine ganz ganz tolle Schriftkunst und wie man mit Schrift was macht. In einem Musikbild ist Schriftbild, da steht „You and Me“, das ist wahrscheinlich der Name der Gruppe. Ich arbeite es ein, auch die Werbung in T-Shirts, die versuche ich dann natürlich zu verfremden, dass ich da nicht irgendwie Werbung laufe, aber das nehme ich absolut oft mit rein. Das sind so Wanderbilder.

Gabriele Wendland - Heidewanderung

Ich bin ja keine Landschaftsmalerin an sich. Es geht dieser Blick. Ich male ja nicht irgendwie schöne Landschaften, sondern es geht mir um Bewegung. Es geht mir darum, wie der Mensch lebt. Und irgendwie gehört dann dieser Wegweiser dazu. Also in diesem Falle ist er sehr wichtig. Das ist einfach so ein Bild, da hat sich der Wegweiser irgendwie verselbständigt. Das ist der Jakobsweg und bestimmte Zeichen gehören auch mit zum Bild, also  wenn ich eine Landschaft male, kommen Verkehrszeichen, Warnzeichen, Stacheldraht oder so auch mit ins Bild rein. Da photographiert man, da kommt Licht raus, und das wabert dann auch so, ein Blitz, der dann übers Bild wabert. Wenn ich eine Landschaft male, nehme ich die Strommasten teilweise mit. Ich habe Chinabilder, die eigentlich nur aus Strommasten bestehen. Ich habe nicht das schöne Dorf gemalt, sondern ich habe das Dorf gemalt mit den Baggern und mit den Strommasten. Ich male so, wie es dann ist. Und dann aber, wenn ich das dann mache, dann male ich die Bagger mit. Fertig aus Ende. Es geht mir auch darum, irgendwie die Lieblichkeit einer Landschaft zu brechen.“

Gabriele Wendland erzählt vom Unterrichten

„Für mich ist der Unterricht auch immer inspirierend, eine Inspirationsquelle, weil ich ja auch bestimmte Techniken zeigen will. Ich habe einfach meinen Schülern - es sind erwachsene Schüler - gezeigt, wie ich arbeite. Früher habe ich das immer auf ein Blatt Papier gemacht und dann weggeschmissen, jetzt nehme ich einfach meine Keilrahmen mit, also auch um denen zu zeigen, was ich meine. Das ist für Schüler, die autodidaktisch arbeiten und wenig Ahnung von Malerei haben, oder manchmal auch ein bisschen mehr, sehr schwierig, wenn ich das erzähle: Wie kann man irgendwie zu einem Bild kommen? Es ist sehr schwer und das muss man denen zeigen.

Ich habe im Unterricht auch Styropordrucke gemacht. Das heißt, man kann alles nehmen: Aha, ich nehme jetzt so eine Styroporplatte, steche da mit Bleistift rein, rolle Druckfarbe darüber und drucke sie aufs Bild. Und dann habe ich eine Grundstruktur, so ornamentalische Dinge. Das ist das Typische, was entsteht, wenn man einen Styropordruck macht. Ich habe da auch irgendwie nichts Realistisches gemacht sondern einfach nur ein Muster. Und alles, was dann reingedrückt ist, wird weiß. Dann kann man Farbe darüber streichen, also sehr dünn lasiert. Dann fängt man an mit Farbe zu arbeiten, ich habe ich hier eine Tube genommen, einfach so hau-drauf, und dann mit Sand gearbeitet, und erst zum Schluss habe ich begonnen: Aha, hier könnte eine Figur sein! Und dann guck ich mal in meinen ganzen Photos: Was für eine Figur passt dahin? Das sind irgendwie Musiker, das werden Musiker, also diesmal ohne Musikinstrumente. Aber diese Streifen könnten vielleicht so eine wabernde Musik sein. Und das sind Zuschauer.“

Gabriele Wendland - Gestrickter Sound

Wann fängt Kunst an?

„Nach Beuys kann jeder ein Künstler sein. Man muss es nur machen, ja: Tee trinken! Tee trinken! Das ist ein wichtiges Geschirr zur Teezeremonie aus China. Das sind so Thermotassen, die sind hier zwischen hohl, dass der Tee auch ein bisschen länger heiß bleibt. Machen wir natürlich nicht richtig, aber dieses Wasser nachkippen immer wieder… Der Tee bleibt ja drin und ich kippe jetzt immer Wasser nach. Und dann wird er wieder ein bisschen dünner. Auf jeden Fall ist das ja auch schon eine Kunst.

Ab wann ist es Kunst, das ist eine sehr schwammige Frage, die eigentlich niemand beantworten kann. Das ist einfach eine Aktion, wenn du es einmal machst. Das kann auch eine politische Aktion sein. Wenn dir aber dieses Ritual wichtig ist und du das immer erweiterst und du das ständig machst, also regelmäßig, einmal im Monat oder so, dann entwickelt sich das zur Kunst, weil dann auch immer mehr Leute darauf aufmerksam sind.  Das heißt, so ganz normale Dinge werden zur Kunst erhoben. Readymade nennt sich das. Dann ist da irgend so ein Flaschenhalter von Duchamp und dann stellst du ihn hin und dann ist das Kunst. Und das sind einfach so Grenzgeschichten, in jeder Beziehung Grenzgeschichten. Auch in der Malerei. Wann ist es eigentlich Malerei und wann ist es nur Auftragsarbeit? Also wenn du wirklich perfekt bist und wirklich sämtliche Regeln einhältst, wird das Bild total langweilig. Das ist auch eine Grenze, wo man denkt: Das muss nicht sein. Und experimentell? Irgendwann sind es nur Farbkleckse, und da sagt dann jeder: Ist das langweilig, ne? Aber wann es langweilig ist, ist auch immer irgendwie individuell, es sind einfach irgendwie Grenzgeschichten.

Auch das schwarze Quadrat von Malewitsch. Wenn man das einfach sieht und den Hintergrund nicht hat, dann ist es einfach nur: Was soll das? Aber wenn man einfach weiß, es ist eine Reduktion, also einfach ein Endpunkt an einer bestimmten Art, also er hat ja immer mehr reduziert, immer mehr in die Fläche gegangen, das ist ja Suprematismus. Also hier im Westen gab es den Kubismus, in Russland gab es den Suprematismus, und da wurde alles so in geometrische Formen und Zeichen eingeteilt. Und irgendwann hat man eben das schwarze Quadrat, und das ist ein Kopf vielleicht. Oder einfach nur ein Quadrat. Das ist dann auch wieder so eine Geschichte. Wenn aber alle Leute dann das schwarze Quadrat abmalen und das ist jetzt Kunst, tja, dann ist das langweilig.“

Wer sind deine Vorbilder?

„H.P. Zimmer hat mich geprägt hat, das ist mein Lehrer. Einer meiner Lehrer, Blalla W. Hallmann, ist ganz unbekannt, höchstens in Köln sehr bekannt, so ein Underground-Künstler. Der hat mich in  bestimmten Dingen bestärkt: Man kann alles machen, auch sämtliche Dinge unter der Gürtellinie. Also so unter der Gürtellinie wie er kann ich gar nicht sein, weil mein Leben gar nicht so ist, aber lieber nach dem Motto: Irgendeinen Mist malen als gar nicht malen! Und dann malst du irgend so einen Mist und irgendwann passiert schon irgendwas. Und wenn man lange nicht gemalt hat, zum Beispiel ist man in Urlaub, irgendwo auf Reisen, dann hat man eine Hemmschwelle - ganz viele, auch professionelle Künstler. Oder vor allem auch Autodidakten und Laien haben eine Hemmschwelle. Und das versuche ich auch immer meinen Schülern zu sagen: Aha, einfach anfangen! Und wenn man nur Käsekästchen malt. Ich mache da Telephonzeichnungen, oder irgendwas: Jetzt mache ich da irgendwie einen Zickzack und dann male ich einen Zickzack und schwarz und einen Zickzack und rot. Und automatisch entwickelt sich was ornamentalisch und automatisch kommt man wieder in den Fluss irgendwie zu einer Malerei. Das heißt, auch keine Hemmungen vor Peinlichkeiten. Also wenn das wirklich peinlich ist, dann kann ich das in die Schublade packen oder in den Mülleimer. Wenn man meint, man muss den schlimmsten Kitsch malen und das grausamste Zeug je nachdem, dann muss man das malen. Und ich meine, hinterher kann man sagen: Das kann ich nicht ausstellen! Aber man hat es gemalt.“

Zu meiner großen Freude und mit echter Dankbarkeit darf ich veröffentlichen, dass die inspirierende Gabriele Wendland am 30. April 2017 im Rahmen des zehnjährigen Jubiläums meiner „Praxis für Logopädie Britta Weinbrandt“ in den Praxisräumen einige ihrer Werke, Malerei und Zeichnungen, ausgestellt hat. Die Malerei ist bis auf weiteres noch zu besichtigen. Wer nicht abwarten kann, bis er den Weg zu mir gefunden hat - so sehenswert und schön war meine Praxis noch nie! - findet auf Gabriele Wendlands Homepage und in ihrem Archiv weitere Anregungen. Ebenso kann man ihr auf Facebook oder instagram folgen.

Kategorie: Portraits

 

I fell in love with Ezra Furman's music the first time I heard it. Probably for once I have to thank the fact that I seem to live in a hopeless and forgotten region in the southern North of Germany, where the last bus heading for our village leaves at approximately 7 pm. This means that I have to spend a lot of my evenings in front of the station in the car, waiting for a train from Hamburg to arrive in order to get my sons home when they are late from school. It is not a good place, as I am willing to demonstrate here:

 Büchen Bahnhof - instagram photo von Britta Weinbrandt

One of these nights in 2015 I did what I rarely do: I listened to a broadcast on the radio. And there it was. An Ezra Furman show. I felt struck by lightning. Happy. Understood. All kinds of things. Suddenly I knew there was someone out there feeling like I did. And unlike me, he was able to express himself. Through music. He speaks so many languages fluently, like Punk, Doowop, Country, Rock 'n' Roll... His lyrics are very much worth listening to. For me, Ezra Furman instantly became one of my greatest heroes, standing in a line with David Bowie, Tom Waits, Joan Armatrading and Bob Dylan. It felt like an awakening. I do not even care that he cannot really sing. It's the spirit!

I am listening to Ezra Furman all the time. My family thinks I am crazy. When I had finally managed to get a ticket for his Frankfurt show in February, 2016, I contacted the US american singer/songwriter to ask him for an interview. This took me a lot of courage. I did not expect an answer, I just had to try it. To my surprise and delight he wrote back: "I'm excited to meet you!"

Spaziergang durch Frankfurt

Frankfurt is only a few hours away and I have been there before, but the way old and new buildings are fit together keeps astonishing me. I took a long walk in order to to calm down before I went to the Zoom Club.

Zoom Club Frankfurt 

We met before the show. Of course I had been planning everything ahead. I prepared loads of possible questions, I even wrote down some kind of conversation guide (which, to be honest, was to be a guide for my master thesis and all the following interviews I did as well, but Ezra initialised it. A year later now, I am still working on it). The only room we found after I had introduced myself was backstage, and the only light sources we had were the emergency exit sign and my voice recorder. I had to let go of my plans and just went with it. These are the questions I came up with.

How do you work? From the lyrics, you could be a poet, you could just print the things you write. What does it make you turn it into a song? 

"Oh wow. There is a lot of different ways I have done it, honestly. There is just a lot of ways, there is just no rules to it. I wish there was a formula I could always generate a good one. One thing that I do is I keep phrases, I keep writing stuff down, lines and phrases, just words that I like and I just  keep it on notebook and I can keep notes on my phone and I just keep a bunch of scraps of language around. I think of them. A lot of times I am like listening to music and thinking about what could happen: What I could do? What if I did this music that I am listening to but did it in this other way? Or it could be better in this way or something. So then I have this library at phrases and then I guess I sit down at an instrument at some point and start to play and see if I can get anything good to come out. It' s really  intuitive and I just start playing and see what I start singing. And sometimes I look at those notes, or like grasp from there and sometimes I just need those later on in the process when I need to finish it. When on that it's like I am like sort of constantly a little bit on the lookout: Can I use something? I am always trying to write a song. Or just trying to write something. And if you have that just going as a constant, more or less constant thing, then your brain just kind of does it for you. If there is anything you think about all the time, suddenly it emerges. You don' t have your Eureka-moment like a scientist or like an inventor. If you think of it all at once that is because you have been thinking about it all the time. And you don't just have an idea out of nothing, it is like you put all this stuff in your head for ages until it combines and comes out. So a lot of times when I write a song it will come out really fast and just be like there. It is like I found it."

You seem to capture so many different speeds in your songs. How do you determine it? Does it come from the words or does it just emerge the same way?

"I have no idea. I don't know. I just start doing something, it seems to work or not work. That's a musical element, how fast the words are going, how fast the tempo is going. You are trying to make it fit with whatever mood you have left on to."

As an example you can watch Ezra Furman and the Boyfriends perform one of his faster songs here. "Walk On In Darkness" is one of my favourites.

I was listening to Frank Zappa on the way here and he gave me a great question to ask you: What's your conceptual continuity?

"I maybe don't have enough of one because I am a little scattered musically. And I have sometimes been criticised or criticised myself for not being focussed enough and create one mood for a whole album. But at the same time, the mood is like being all over the place and life being something large and your heart containing multitudes, your heart containing many things at the same time, that's what I think what my life is like. I feel a lot of different stuff within an hour. I mean I just get mood swings, that's part of my life. I am very volatile. (laughs)"

How does being an artist help you with that? Or: Is there a connection? 

"Mm, it doesn't help. (laughs) You have asked me before: Is it therapeutic to kind of express yourself, and I think the word is cathartic. It's cathartic to perform these emotions in a very intense way. But it doesn't actually make them go away. Essentially the really therapeutic thing about it is that it's something to do that I can do. Usually when I am in a really bad mood I can't really do anything. I can't get any good work done. That's not always true. I have been in terrible mental states and just used the task of writing a song to say: Okay, I am going to do this! I know, this is something I can do! Which is certainly better than doing nothing. I have been to therapy and I have ways that I calm myself. A lot of times it is just seeing people, talking to people who I like, being social. It is really important."

I know that you „give it all“ when you are on stage. How do you regenerate when you are on tour ?

"The days are harder than the nights, because to wake up and kind of do stuff, load all the gear into the venue and you are tired from last night... But it's really the adrenaline of the show being about to start and meeting and seeing all those people there that you have never met and who are excited to see what you did. That just gives adrenaline. That's actually part of the problem though, because it just gives you so much adrenaline, that you still have adrenaline at the end of the day. You probably should go to sleep but you are still talking to people."

You sing a lot about beauty. I would love to ask you what beauty means to you?

"Wow! That is quite a question! Like in „Ordinary Life“, yeah, beauty is in that one. I probably in songs use the word beauty to mean things, like everything. To me it's very very beautiful that anything exists. And that's like my core position as a human being, that life is a gift, that the whole world is a gift and you get numb to it too easily. So I say: „The human mind gets sick of beauty“. Life is beautiful and you just just forget it so quickly. I am always trying to remind myself. Music does that thing of going beyond words, and beyond ideas, it has a spiritual and emotional uplift, that kind of reminds you about the grandness of existence. (laughs). I know I am being very flowery here. That is what  I use it for. That's what music does for me at its best: makes me notice that I am alive. That's all, soothing and beautiful."

This is the official video of "Ordinary Life".

I told you I was trying to be like an artist when I am working with people who need my help. Can you give me something to cling on to: What could that mean? 

"Oh, I mean to me an artist is someone who does something because it is beautiful or satisfying, that is the essential difference between someone who is doing things as an artist or - there is other kind of people I gather, like a religious person – they do things that are not useful but they are just gorgeous. They are gorgeous and they kind of live this hard weird life where you don't necessarily make money, you don't necessarily have any peace. You just work really hard, not for utility, not because it gets you ahead in some way. But actually just because of the thing, because you want the thing to be beautiful or good in this certain way. I think a lot of people actually do that with their work. To me that's how you be an artist, regardless of what you are doing. You could be an artist about being a locksmith. If you really have the kind of lock that you want to work on and the way you want to do it and you turn down jobs because you have to go to certain doors and help certain people and make it beautiful. You know that? I call it, that's an artist! So, that's my answer to that question! Yes!"

Ezra furman's signed album covers

Ezra even asked me if he had said something "useful". Afterwards he signed the three record covers I had brought, and he told me that my questions were the best questions he had ever been asked. Seeing that "Perpetual Motion People" is his album number 8, I left feeling very proud.

Then the show started and I enjoyed it very much. I got to know a lot of people in the audience who traveled as far as I did to get to see him. Ezra Furman is not only a very special person who seems like a fish in water when he is on stage - and, as I was able to observe until nearly 2 pm, when he is dancing, too - he seems to attract a special kind of fans aswell. I had a great time and I decided then to keep going to wherever he appears, if possible.

Ezra Furman show

In Frankfurt, I was especially touched by his cover of "Heroine". I saw Ezra Furman again in London in June, 2016, where he gave a speech about Lou Reed and Velvet Underground at the British Library. Sadly, the recording of the evening is not online because of copyright questions. Around that time Rough Trade must have done the following interview. Another reason to just love Ezra Furman is his answer to the question: "What advice would you give your teenage self?" His reply: "I don't know, I'd probably ask my teenage self for advice."

You can find Ezra's homepage and blog here, or follow him on Facebook and Twitter. There will be only one appearance in Europe in 2017, at the Barbican in London. Please, Ezra, if you should ever bother to read this blog: I want you to know that there are people in Germany waiting for you to come back aswell! Thank you for everything! 

Kategorie: Portraits

 

It was a lovely day at the end of June, 2016. I had just spent my first weekend in Cardiff since my last visit in 1998, in order to see the newly developped Bay area that I have only known from television shows like Dr. Who. I felt the Welsh did not change much over the last few decades. I had taken home with me two major experiences (and from that: impressions) from my prolongued visits in the Nineties:

Firstly I imagine that there seems to be some kind of a party going on behind every door that I see - except that today they do not stop at eleven o'clock any more. But wait a minute – that's only the pubs and clubs I am talking about. I remember vividly that I used to be awakened quite regularly by some neighbour suddenly starting to play Bob Dylan songs at full volume in the middle of the night, which I used to enjoy very much - because it was kind of weird.

And secondly: Whenever I sit down in a park to read my book, I expect to soon find myself surrounded by people, because the next person coming to the park will sit down right next to me for a nice chat – and not miles away, alone by him- or herself, as is customary in Germany. I really fell in love with Wales and the Welsh back then and I still cannot believe it took me so long to come back. But I found out now that this spirit I encountered then does still seem to live on, and this is what inspired this blog post. So let‘s go back to 2016.

The night before I had just been planning to enter the Live Lounge to get a meal, only to find out that all the tables are carried away at 10 pm, so that I had suddenly found myself dancing through the night. Again. Even on my short way back to the Hotel long past midnight, I kind of ended up singing along to a street band saxophone. The Welsh still seem to me to be open and kind, chatty and - to the highest degree - very feisty people.

The following day I had done all the necessary sightseeing at Cardiff Bay:

  • taking a glimpse at the Extreme Sailing Series and Triathlon
  • because of all the road closures due to those events: a very long walk
  • a visit to the Dr. Who Experience
  • a silent minute spent at Ianto's Shrine including a failed attempt to explain Torchwood to an Italian family: „It was founded by Queen Victoria against possible alien threats“ must have sounded terribly strange - and hopefully a bit funny - to them, because at first they did not know that I was talking about a TV series - and that no actual person had died
  • a visit to the Millennium Centre
  • a lovely and fulfilling chat with some artist ladies at their exhibition in the Norwegian Church.

The evening air was filled with hooting and jubilation. Apparently, Wales was winning a football match. Tonight, the ever ongoing celebrations did not stop behind doors – they were everywhere. I took a bus to the City Centre in order to catch the night train to London, because my flight back to Hamburg would be taking off early next morning. But first I felt the urge to level with the crowd that was waving and wearing Dragon Flags: I needed to get a beer.

Here I was, happy and ready to go to the station, but now, with a beer in my hand, the security guards would not let me leave the pub area. So I took the opportunity to ask a young man, if I might take the free seat next to him. „Only for a price“, was his smiling answer: „Conversation!“ Then he added a friendly: „Conversation is free“.

And I sat down. And this was just the invitation to the first of many chats that we were to enjoy since, either that one time in person, and online via Facebook or Skype. It turned out that I was talking to Olly James, funny, charming, honest to the core, witty and easy to talk to (I could keep going on here...) lead singer of Indie Folk Pop Country band Vince James. He named it after his grandfather Vincent, which is also Olly's middle name.

Being a part time student of „Arts & Change Coaching“ preparing for my master thesis, I am in the habit of talking to various artists at the moment, and it is the best thing ever. So in the end I could not resist to ask Olly James for an interview, which he gave me in September. Much to my surprise he told me he has not been asked for a big interview before, and so - with his kind permission - I decided to blog about our conversation.

And here is what he told me about the release of his first single:

„I just launched „Forget Last Night“, which is the name of the new single. It is about being a bit reckless the night before and then waking up the next morning, thinking: Oh damn, what‘s just happened? We can all get into those kind of reckless states – and then wake up the next morning and think: Oah! You know: That could have gone a lot better. But there is always next time. If you listen to the lyrics, it says: Even though this has just happened and it might be bad, it can always be rectified next time.“

You can watch the video here:

He told me about the start of his career:

„It was just opportunities: Opportunities came and I just took them, really. It was just: When I wrote these songs I had the opportunity to play some gigs, and I did. And when I did play those gigs I realized that people actually liked my songs. So why not carry on? Yeah and I just have been doing that ever since, really. You know, I have always had the dream of playing to like thousands of people … in Glastonbury … of course I have. And I still have that dream now.

There is going to be an album coming up. We are building towards making an album. So that is kind of what we are doing at the moment: Getting demos down. And then we are going to make those demos into an album. It‘s kind of a work in progress. I mean we will probably have twelve songs that we want to put on there, but they could change within a week or a month, because if you are always creating, then you always want to try and better yourself. No, not better yourself, but, you know: If you get attached to a certain song then you want it to be heard more than other songs.“

You can see one of the gigs Vince James did here. You just have to be patient for a bit, the music will start at minute 3:47:

How did he come to be a Singer/Songwriter?

„I had my first guitar when I was about six. It was about six or seven, I was really young. And it was a Fender Strat, it was an amazing guitar. Sadly it is not here anymore. I was a bit reckless and I lost it, but I started playing other people‘s songs and then all of a sudden I found myself writing my own. So I think that‘s what really triggered something inside of me, to say: I have got to do this now, because I am actually quite good at it. And I like it, you know I actually really enjoy it. I think in a way, when people say: „That‘s completely honest music you‘re doing“, they‘re right. I try not to take it for granted at all, because I believe it is a gift. Gift from God.

We all want different things out of it. Some money, some fame, and some just complete enjoyment. I am not the most technically established musician. My technicality isn‘t amazing, my musicianship, that‘s not that great. I wouldn‘t even say I am a musician. I just write songs. And I sing. If I casted as something else, I‘d be taking it for granted. And it wouldn‘t be true. I honestly think like it is just something that was made inside of me.“

How does he compose his songs?

„I'm always writing. Obviously I spend a lot of time on my own, you know, writing music and just generally being on my own anyway. Because I think that‘s where most inspiration comes from. For some people – I mean everyone is different -  but for me, inspiration generally comes when I am on my own and locked away from everything. That‘s just the way I work.  

First of all it varies very much. I take a feeling and then I put it into a song. So it is pretty much as simple as that. It‘s just a feeling or a thought at that present time. And it just goes into a song. I will find myself playing on my guitar, and all of a sudden a melody will just come out of it. And then normally the lyrics follow after, unless I am writing about something that needs to be written about at that certain time. Sometimes inspiration comes and sometimes it doesn't. That's what I think that‘s why it‘s so special. I mean you got to take it while you can. But mostly, the main thing is to actually be interested. I think if you are always interested in what you do, you will always find a way to write a song or paint a piece or whatever sort of art you are doing. That's how I do it anyway.

It‘s just general situations that you find yourself to be in that could be bizarre. It could be funny. It could be all sorts of things. But normally those things happen and then I go away and think about them - and that‘s generally when I am on my own. So these things will happen but I won‘t think about it at the time and then I‘ll go away and then find myself on my own and then I‘ll think more in depth about it. And that‘s probably where it all comes from really. It might be a day after it happened, a month or a year. But it always seems to come out in the wash. So to speak, it will always come out, because we are humans at the end of the day, even if we push it down as far as possible, it will always come out. But sometimes it is against your own will. I mean all of the time, actually, I have never perviously put myself in an bad situation. But it just tends to happen in life, I am sure you have been there, I am sure everyone‘s been there.

And it is quite difficult to explain. And I think that is why it is so interesting really, because there is not a real a definition you can give it. Creating a song: There is no real formula. I think if there was, then I would probably be searching for the rest of my life. Just like everyone else. I think it just comes from the passion, the love and the interest for the music. That's what I think anyway.

Maybe I'll be fiddling on the guitar and some times it just happens by accident. But if there is something that I need to write about, then you know, I make damn sure that I write about it because it is just a good story to tell. And it gets everything that I'm thinking and feeling off my chest. It is quite as simple as that really.

It isn't really political. I am not trying to send a political message, I am not trying to take something out the newspaper and make it my own. By any means, it is all personal to me. I mean, that might seem quite selfish to some people, but it is all what I am thinking and feeling and what personal experiences that I have been through. That is kind of what my music represents. I think it needs to be personal. If you are writing about something that you do not know about: How can you actually give a proper description? And how can you actually give your true feelings if you don't know exactly what you are talking about? So I always tend to go with things that I know about and I am confident speaking about and then I put them into a song. If it is not honest, then no one is going to pay attention. It needs to be something that you really believe in, otherwise I don‘t think there is any point in doing it.

I mean it's just a way of releasing whatever you don't want to release in a general conversation. Or maybe something you're embarrassed about, something that you really don't want to say out loud. It just helps to put it in a song. And then maybe make it not so obvious. You know, 'cause if you put it in words in a conversation, then it comes across as quite obvious and plain - but if you put it in a song, maybe it leaves it up to the listener to figure out what you're trying to say.

So sometimes you need to go to the darkest places to get them, of course you do, which is quite painful sometimes. And then I go to these lovely places to play them, and it is just so ironic really‚ 'cause I don‘t know anyone can appreciate where you have to go to get these songs. It is like you are coming from the worst place possible and then playing it to these people who maybe are in the best place possible in their life. So it‘s quite ironic.

At first I was a little bit nervous, of course. I didn‘t want to give too much away of myself, you know at the end of the day you are sensitive and it is sensitive stuff that I am singing about. It is all about how I feel and what I was going through at a particular time, but as soon as I got over that and realized that there‘s a million other people in the world that were probably feeling the same way I was back then, it was all fine from there.
 
I mean, we are our own protectors at the end of the day, I know we have family and friends to support, but at the end of the day it is down to you to make sure that you are okay. And that you feel okay in front of whoever it is. I am vulnerable, of course I am. But so is everyone else. And I think if we can all come to some sort of an understanding, then I think, you know, we are in a good place - It took a long time to get there.“

And what about the audience and his reception?

„And then all off a sudden it‘s being played to these different sorts of people. And I think the main thing is to make them feel a part of it in the biggest way possible. If you can‘t do that, I don‘t think people are going to embrace you and come and pay an interest. Because I think the main thing that I try to do when I am playing at a show is to make them feel like I am there on stage with me. I believe that is why people go to Football matches and Rugby matches or whatever sport, you know, you go to a big stadium to watch. Those people are there to watch that game and try to feel a part of it. Like those players on the pitch. And that is what I want the audience to feel everytime they come and see me play.

And that‘s probably the best gift to give someone, I think. And it‘s a gift for me at the end of the day, because if I can make someone a bit happier, even if it‘s just for an hour or a day, that‘s just great, you know? That‘s something I definitely wish to achieve. I think that‘s what all artists strive for. I don‘t know. That makes sense to me anyway.
 
And I try to do it as best as I can, I don‘t know if I do a good job, but people have come up to me and said, you know: I like your lyrics. They listen to lyrics and they relate to them. And that‘s the best thing, really, because I do try hard to put good lyrics, like meaningful lyrics in a song. So that describes exactly how I am feeling at that point and it describes what they might be feeling at that point, so I think, I couldn‘t ask for a better reception than coming up to me and say: You know, that‘s what I‘ve been feeling. I can actually relate to what you are saying  - That to me is probably the best feeling, you know?“

What are his musical influences?

„It was always music in general, it was no particular band that I wanted. There‘s never been a band that I‘ve been truly obsessed with. So I‘ve never been to all their gigs, I‘ve never bought their records. I think, I went through phases, of course. I mean: Like there was a band that I loved one week and then next week another. It is like Offspring one week, Green Day the next. Yeah sure, I am a fan of a lot of bands. That goes without saying, I mean there is so many bands out there. When I was growing up, I was listening to all sorts, I was listening to Eminem. The rapper - but that all changed. That‘s what I grew up listening to. I listened to Robbie Williams. But I couldn‘t relate to them now, because things change. But maybe music did have an influence on my writing, but I can say primarily it is to do with experiences and just things I needed to get off my chest at that time. 

I don‘t know if it is to do with music as such. It‘s weird because I think the music that I play comes from within, it‘s not just from listening to other people‘s music. Simply because I am inspired by most things that happened in my life, including my family, friends and just experiences in life. Obviously music that I have listened to has helped, of course it has, but the things that I write about, you know the message, that I put in my songs, doesn‘t come from other bands. It normally comes from experiences that I‘ve had to endure. I think if you listen to my music it just doesn‘t have any reference to any artist that I‘ve listened to. Maybe it does a little bit, maybe it does to some people but I think the course it truly became, it came from within myself and not from any other bands or artists. But maybe you can‘t pidgeonhole that.

Honestly people have a tendency to relate me to other bands because that‘s what we do, humans: We see a face and then we kind of relate it to something we‘ve seen before. So that‘s always what happens. But it‘s all different ones. If it was one band in particular, I‘d be like maybe: Hang on, I‘m not doing something right here, but because everyone says different things, so someone will say: You sound like this band! And another person will say: You sound like this one! So I think that‘s quite good in a way, because you are not really being pigeonholed like I said before. It‘s all varied. I think it‘s really important these days to have a variation.“

You can read the actual interview here. I had to write it down in order to start my research anyway.

In my opinion there will be nothing to stand in the way between Olly and his vision of a Glastonbury gig some day - with his depth, personality and talent, he has just got what it takes.

So please, listen to him at Soundcloud,

 

feel invited to like his Facebook Fanpage and follow him on Twitter and instagram - so you will not miss the release of his first album!

... updated April 2017: I gladly inform you that Vince James has released two more singles, "Show Me Love" and "Bernadette",  and that he as agreed to do a gig on my SLT-practice's 10th Anniversary, which will take place Sunday 30th of April! Come and watch!

Raúl Cerrillo
Kategorie: Portraits

 

Whenever I am in London, one of the first things I usually do is take a walk along the Thames from South Bank to Southwark or vice versa. Being a great admirer of abandoned buildings (which of course it is not, but it looks like one), I always enter the Oxo Tower Bargehouse, no matter what may be going on there at that specific moment.

In 2015 we were lucky to find an exhibition called "Shaped in Mexico" and enjoyed a long chat with painter and sculptor Raúl Cerrillo, who very willingly became our guide and explained his work to us. We exchanged addresses, so that I was able to contact him in 2016, when I had started working on my master thesis and he agreed to help me with it and gave me a skype interview last September. I have also started blogging recently, so when I heard him say that he has not got the time to write down all the things that are important to him and he expressed the wish that I maybe had the talent to write it, I sincerely hoped that I had, and got started. And now, months later in May 2017, "Shaped in Mexico" is conquering Europe again, taking place in Düsseldorf from May 24th to June 6th, and in Venice, from May 14th to 19th. So it seems about time to publish this blog!

You will be reading what Raúl Cerrillo has to say in his own words:

Raúl Cerrillo told me how his work is a meditation

"In my painting I am trying to not use my brain. Which is really difficult. Because most of the artists go to the studio with the grandiloquent idea to make a masterpiece. That is not what I do. In my case it‘s not about that, it‘s: I go to my studio every day as a monk. As a monk I mould my body. And to be connected with my work, with my place. So that‘s the point, like a meditation. But the meditation is not like the oriental meditation. In the Occident we are not capable to meditate in an oriental way, like the silence. We are another race. We are occidental. So for us it is better to think in beautiful landscapes, you know? To think in love, to think in many many things. And we got into meditation. Very strong. But we need more image, we need another, different thing. And this is how I meditate, you know? I close my eyes and I am thinking another planet. I create my own planet. I create my new species. Which is the same as us but more evolution. And right now, when I meditate, I keep continuining working that dimension. No? This is a good way for occidental people to meditate. The people, we are not just creating canvas. We close our eyes and we create another dimension. And we create it, and that exists. That exists because you create it. Like right now, this is right here, you exist because I am talking to you.

And the painting and my art is just a tool. It is just a documentation. The only rules that I have when I paint, is the size of the canvas. Yeah, it‘s a rule. You do everything into that square canvas, and that is a rule, okay! I just have a square canvas. And my rules: Always have fun. My rules right now are: Don‘t use the outside reality. I am not interested to use outside reality. I don‘t use photographs, it is just: I want to work with my experience. This is my first rule. My second rule when I am working a piece is: Feel like a channel, so this has work by itself. Because I have to recognize that my hands think by themselves. Not just my hands. When you use your hands a lot, your hands think by themselves, because you are connected. So now I start working and I have music and I can talk – now I am dancing with the reality. Right now. Three years ago I couldn‘t do it. I couldn‘t do it three years ago. Like working and at the same time talking another topic, you know? Like a woman, you have that capacity not to be in very different moments. For men it is difficult, but now it‘s time to do it, you know?

Art is a medicine and painting means becoming a channel

So when I paint, I become like a channel. That‘s the point. You become a channel. Maybe not me. All the people who are very into one thing become a channel. The point is: Be concerned that you are a channel! That‘s the point. That‘s the difficult part. That is a very beautiful part and it is very easy to explain now, because the physic quantics and the pragmatic philosophy tell us that we are energy. We are spirits experimenting human experience. Not another way around. We are not human beings trying to be spiritual things, as the religions say. It‘s another way around. We are spirit people into this body - which is incredible, your body, it works by itself. And you know how to even pay attention. And we are here to experiment the material. To be aware that your body is a channel and you are divine. All the humans: We are divine. But the difficult part is like: We don‘t know that. We don‘t know that. That‘s the point. But we are divine people. We create things. Like God. We are different dimensional beings and we are evolving. We create tools to evolve. And so we are kind of little gods, you know? And the point is: Nobody tells that we are gods.

Art is a medicine because for me it is important to say that the human being is a multidimensional species, multidimensional humans. But we don‘t learn that in school. Why are we multidimensional people? Because first of all we are in the threedimensional. Right now, you know? We come to things, 3D. When we go to sleep, we go to a fourdimensional thing, you know? Our body is in bed but our soul goes away to another dimensional thing. The fivedimensional thing is when you create something, when you are creating something and you imaginate something. Your body is still there but you are in fact - you can talk to people, you can see, you can smell things. In fact if you close your eyes and you can say: I‘m in Manhattan and talking to a gringo in McDonald‘s and you can smell the hamburger, you know? We can do that as a species. This is the fivedimensional thing, you know, our capacity is huge, but we don‘t know how to use it or we are not concerned about it. So this is the fivedimensional thing. And the sixdimensional thing is when you meditate. When you meditate and you breathe, you have oxygen in your blood and you open your pineal, your glands, and your pituitary, opens, and that chemistry, oxytocin and different chemistry, put you in another state of consciousness. So when I start to realize that, I start to organise my body, my soul and I start to heal myself. Because I was always in the 3D-dimensional. Sometimes for people it is too much density. That is the point, you know? With humans, the frequency, it has to be like this: (forms a curved sinus wave pattern). But when you are in distress or when you are feeling fear or you are very nervous, your frequency starts to make like this, forms like: (formes a jagged pattern). When  people are in distress, you are in the density. And it‘s difficult to sleep or difficult to create and difficult to meditate. It is difficult to go to another dimensional point. Because you are in the density. So the point is that art helps you as a tool to understand your own technology. Your own technology: When did you breathe, or you organised your feelings and put in another dimension where the vibration is like this (forms a curved sinus wave pattern). Is: Friend. Is: Lovely. This is our frequency. So the point is: When I paint or when I am creating something or drawing, my vibration starts to do very small, so I feel good. I start to breathe better. And now I am concerned that I am in another dimension or I am in another state of consciousness. So that helps people to evolve. Because and otherwise: If you are into the density, you are always using the brain. Because you have to figure out things. And if you are using your brain a lot, your ego is constantly following you. So the point is to show, to help, to invite people, to find this state of consciousness. I am drawing, talking, expressing, you know? And meditation. So at that point art is a good tool to heal. And the point is, in the history right now, you know, the neo-conceptualism, it is very important, because the people get excited, when we use the brain a lot. We get whaa: I feel very intelligent, the ego feels whaawhaa: I am a very intelligent guy! But the point is: Your soul, it doesn‘t feel that way. Your soul needs to be in a very particular vibration. So that all your body, all your technology work together. So that‘s the point.

So I want to approach my painting and the sculpture the same way. To pull time, information, experience  - „chr“ (puts his opened hands together) - together. An object with enough energy to transmit frequency. That‘s the point. I think the artists right now, we have the capacity to express out of the closet. To say: I am a channel! I‘m a channel.

This is the beautiful part, but the dark side is that my psychiatrist ten years ago told me that I have schizophrenic problems. And bipolar problems. That was the density part. Why? Why? Because when painting or you are using your hands … when you use, you are concerned that you are in a different dimension. Just to receive a lot of information. You don‘t know how to put all that information. You don‘t know how to organise that information. And you start …myself, I started with panic attack. And I started with schizophrenic things and bury a lot of pain. In my soul. And you don‘t know what … you can‘t explain yourself: Why are you feeling that? Until you start to breathe and you start to organise. When you have chakras, different seven types of reality, and now you start to organise your body. And with your organisation, you become a channel. So all the information, you know, when you put it in your heart and your message and your consciousness and your sexuality and in your limitation, so now you have seven levels. Now when I have the information, I have a box where I can put information. And now I am a more organised human. And now that is why it is more difficult for me to make karma. That‘s another point. Because when you are organised, you are concerned when you create karma. And when you create karma, you fix that karma. So when you fix that karma: Your energy, it doesn‘t go away. You control your energy. That is why I have energy enough to write, to paint, to make a sculpture, to talk about how to organise the body. And now your energy – in Spanish it is „empowerment“. You have the power over your energy. You are totally in control of your energy and where you want to put the energy. Because when you are disorganised, you start to make a fight with your partner, with your mother, with your brother. And your energy is like: (growls). Because you are not organised. So for me, the art helps me to organise my soul and to put all the energy in the objects. So now the objects become not just a piece of art: Become an amulet, become something bigger than art.

It‘s difficult to evolve the soul or to heal by yourself: It is difficult because they don‘t have the tools. And what I am going to propose in my work is that art is the tool to go into your soul and find your divineness and be concerned that you are divine people. And the artists, we don‘t just make aesthetic objects. We have the capacitiy to divinize the objects.

The divinization of the objects through chakra energy

The human being, we come from chakras. It is vertical. That is why we are channels. So the energy is going like this (blows and shows a vertical line). And then, when the energy goes like this, it goes into our hands and puts the energy into the objects. That‘s a channel. It‘s like magic. It‘s magic! The people don‘t know that, but it is magic. You make a thinking of the universe, go to your body, to the energy, go to the thinking, to your heart, to your emotional body, and then go to the bidimensional paper or bidimensional thing or an object. So all that energy comes to a line or a gesture.

I mean it's an exercise. I work every day. I am very concscious about how to develop all the chakras. And the way that I am doing now: It's very simple: The first chakra: When you eat good and breathe, you feel good. This is the first chakra. The second is the sexuality, is the energy to go things. It is very important: You create things. You feel good, you create things, and then – this is the second chakra – the third chakra now is the vinculo, is how the society, how your parents ... how to deal with you. The four, which is the most important, is the heart, is the service, when you do things for the others with very unconditional love. Your service, your gift. When you have all this lined like this, little by little the next one is the message. When you have this line, this goes very strong (points down his arms): „foo“. That is the message. Because now you have the message to talk about service, to talk about your creativity, to talk about your health. And after you have this power with your message, the next one is the consciousness. Every day I check myself, like a doctor: How is all my chakras every morning? Every morning I ask to my day to give me the energy to do my purpose. And the last one is the spirituality. But when you work with the heart and mind, the message has got very strong. See, this is the circuit. You get into information, you make a vibration, you think how to go to pronounce that, and then „foo“. See? It's very simple. But if you are not organised all this line, your message is „mmm mmm“. So it is an excercise that I try to do everyday, because now I have to talk more: That I have to organise the system to embrace the frequency.

Raúl's paintings are the landscape of his soul - reflecting your soul

The painting is not a pretention-painting that it is a masterpiece. It's just a documentation about my soul. An aesthetic guy asked me: What is your style? And I said: It is difficult. If I have to talk about my painting I think I could say it's an expressionism of the self. That's the point. I am not interested to see a photograph to represent the things of the outside. No, I am very interested to see my own landscape that is inside of me. That's the point. The point is to see into myself. Inside. Not outside. When I paint I see myself, into myself. And that is why the art is this evolution. Now we have the tools to see inside, how. Meditation, plant of power, which in Mexico we have a lot, we have pejote, which is mescalina, we have cannabis, we have mushrooms, we have ayahuasca, those are tools that I try and when I paint, I try to paint that landscape.

It is a landscape about my soul. I want to paint my soul, that my soul is the same as your soul. It is that beautiful energy. So if I can make a portrait, because I am a painter, I want to make a portrait or I want to make a landscape, as a general painting. I want to make the landscape of into myself. „Into myself“ is the same as your soul. The point is, you have to be very brave. You need to be brave to go into yourself.

Because the only way you will create yourself is when you create something. Because when you create something, you reflect yourself and you reflect your species. That is why when you see any piece of art of my art, you are like in your mirror. When you see that piece of art, you are watching your mirror. It‘s a reflection. Because we are all. You are me and me are you. That‘s the point. And when you see the energy ... That is why in my painting I am not interested in beauty. Beauty is very important, it points, as a human being, but I am interested in energy. For me to create an object that has energy, you make a divine object. Because aesthetic is a philosophy idea of human beings. A lot of centuries weren‘t interested in aesthetic. But right now I think we are in charge to be a channel to put energy in the object, so we can reflect our soul in that object. That is the point. That is why my painting is layer of layer and layer, layer as you, as me. You are all your layers of your experience that accumulates in your life. And that is why when I am talking to you even in this tool, I feel your energy, because you are alive and you have all these layers.

 

The problem is: When you think too much in future, you get anxious - anxiety, anxiety - so you get nervous and distressed because: What will happen with me, with my life and the economy and the world? And you get sick. And if you start to remember things or you see the past, you get depressed. You get depressed: But oh, no! So the point is: Our species, we are like an automata. We are future – past – future – past. As automata! As automata! So the point is we need to understand that we have to be in the present, here. So you don't get sick. And again: Art helps you to be in present. Art is not just paint, is not just draw, is not just sing. Art is, when you are washing your dishes, no? When you wash your hair. When you connect to yourself. You start to see your life as an art. All the movements. Because to do this is very complicated, no? We are really very strange creatures. So when you start to say „wow“, you meditate all the time. That's what I try to do every day. Every day.

The purpose of the human being

But it is the hardest thing for all human species. The most difficult part, but it is part of evolution. Because if that thing could be easy, so it doesn't make sense to be here, you know? You have to fight for that state of consciousness in order to get the light. In order to recognize the light. You have to fight for it, you have to work like a djinn. You have to be really concerned of that, of your power. So now you don't get sick. Because if you get sick, you lose your purpose. If you lose your purpose, you go to the hospital and then the system cuts you and then you have to pay pay pay pay pay pay pay pay and then being sick, the system kills you. But if you are concerned about yourself, you don't get sick, you get more light, you create more things, your purpose is always strong. You create more things, you create things, and now you have your energy to do the work that you … that's why you are here on the Earth.

So for me the most important part of our civilisation is the technology which is the language. The medium. You know how to mix the vocals with the consonants and we are an instrument, so. When we start to develop this technology, that is why the art is a documentation of the most important tool as a species. To understand our evolution. That is why the art is so powerful. For me there is no more powerful thing right now, because it is the documentation of our evolution. So it is the only line. We can be concerned: How we improve things. How we can think or thinking is changing, and when I started to understand that, for me it was to start to paint. Or to create things. Because art helps us to understand ourselves as a technology tool. So for me it is very easy to understand the human being as a piece of art. In terms of creation. Even the philosophy – which I love, philosophy - never gave me that answer.

I want to be the most impeccable in this world, because now I am going to another world next. So I want to say: In my past life on Earth, I did this and I wanted to be impeccable. I am trying to make very little karma, difficult. I didn‘t want to make a lot of karma. I try to divinise the objects, and I want the message to embrace the consciousness. This is going to be my statement in my next life. And it is important to think about it. It‘s a good excercise. You know, it‘s a good meditation. What are you going to say your next life? Are you going to say: Yeah I did a lot of karma and I put my energy with my partner or I put all my energy to fighting with my mother? No, it‘s not possible, because you will continue this wheel of karma. Some part of my life, it takes this person of this wheel of karma, and says: Get out! That‘s my job. In terms of pragmatic, you know, way to explain wheel of karma.

We are the only species to have consciousness. So our purpose is to co-create with the Mother Earth. Species human, we are the neurons of the Mother Earth. So, you talk to me: We are making a synapsis. Synapsis is when you make a bridge with two neurons  and make a thinking.

So the purpose, right, is the most important value that we need to share to the people. You lose a little bit your purpose: You get sad. You get angry. Because you lose your purpose. You are here to be happy, to celebrate that you are alive – you have this body – to help, no? To co-create, and to co-create the energy to accompany the energy of the Mother Earth. That is our mission!

When you have your purpose – it is very important: First of all you have to find your purpose. And you find your purpose when you feel good. And when you feel good, when you have your purpose – I do not know if I have the time to really make my purpose. I am not afraid to die. I am very afraid that I don't have the time to do my purpose. Really, I am very afraid. If I don't make my purpose, then I know really good what that is: When I don't have the time to do it I am going to come back again to Earth and to give a donation. And maybe I don't want to go back to Earth, I want to go to another planet, another experience. So that is why I do everything. I just work every day and I don't stop. I don't sit to really stop what I am doing because I start to have that classic drawing.

Obviously my purpose is very clear. Not just my purpose: The purpose of the civilization. The purpose is: We are here to experiment, we are spiritual things experimenting a human experience. We are here to alchemise, to create the material, to create things, to make concern. We are the consciousness of the Mother Earth. So we need to accompany the process of the Earth. That is our purpose. And my purpose is just to open the consciousness to the people. That is what I am here. To open the consciousness. I have tools to do that. I have paintings, I have a voice, I have tools to do that. This is our purpose, to make consciousness of the Earth. This is our species. The problem is: Most of our civilization have lost their purpose. They are going into the system. They are like sleeping. Our work is (claps his hands twice): Wake up! Heal yourself! Know yourself! Serious, and then you can help the others. That‘s the purpose. And now I start to play the guitar. So: To experiment another state of consciousness, you know? Because it‘s like mathematical, rhythm, feeling, and now you start to see, it‘s very complicated. But just to understand better my soul and my body, is to understand it better. So my purpose is to understand this beautiful body that we have and share that information so that people get inspired. About your own body, about the sophisticated that we are our own spirit. It is a frequency that goes into the soul, and that the soul creates energy and the energy moves this body. And this body has seven chakras and each organism works by itself. We don‘t have a precedent by itself. And this is unbelievable, it‘s incredible! It‘s incredible! So my goal, my purpose is to share that information, so that you can say: Wow! You come back to the mirror, you say: Wow! And now I‘m concerned about my power. And I have the understanding take care about the system, so I don‘t let my energy there. And I need to create things. Not because I am an artist, we are the same, we are the same capacity. Maybe me in particular, maybe a lot of pain … makes me understand myself. By force, because it was through a lot of pain. And this is my purpose. You know? And I need to refine my message, my technique or painting. And everything just to refine the message. You know? And to share this. Now the platform of art is too pragmatic for me. Very pragmatic for me. That is very important for me that you hear me, because the art, they love to hear philosophy, in the platform of art, but when I start to talk about the spirit of things and bla bla bla, so that is why I now use the physic quantics to explain this. It is about energy. So this is my challenge now, to put in the platform of art that we are people, that we not just make aesthetic things: We create divine things, because we are divine. We are Gods.

Raúl talks about nurturing the Inner Child and the most sophisticated play: Art

It is the same method, the same rhetoric. When you are a child, you are divine, you are anything. You laugh, you got to the bath, you are divine, you are very pure…. A creature. The point is: When you start to grow, your brain starts to take control.  And you start to lose, you lose your divineness, you start to forget that energy, you start to forget that. The point is: When I paint these adults and the kid, is that: When you are in art, painting is playing. Art is play. Your play is rules and you break the rules and you have a history of painting and you have a concept, you have a content, you have a skill, you have different vibration. So it‘s a game. It‘s a great big game.

So it lets you be always a child. So the point is: We need to remember our child … or when we were a child. So you start to remember your light again.

And in fact there is a theory that we are no particular human beings. We are not homo sapiens. We are homo ludens. Ludens. We come to the ludity. In a way we create, we alchemise, we create the thing with a physicality. It‘s a game. So we are always playing. We are creatures … that we love to play. We are ludent, homo ludens. And I think that I heard in the BBC of London that there is a test to qualify the intelligence in animals. And they qualify in terms of what kind of play they create. Dolphins create different kind of games. And the most sophisticated play of the human being: It‘s art! The most sophisticated play. You are allowed to create your own rules. And then you create your own statements. And then, if that statement is really good, it becomes a concept, and that concept needs a content and then creates your philosophy. And if it is a good philosophy, you create a good vibration  - that is what I am looking for, and when you create that good vibration you heal and you rescue the purpose of the human being. That is the line that I am interested in.

And yet I think for me it‘s a beatuiful idea to really always try to play with your kid, that you are. Because when you get adult, you get boring. You get straight. You think tomorrow.

About his habit of conserving books and VHS-covers from his childhood

Yeah, it‘s my treasure. My treasure that makes me imaginate things. So I couldn‘t get rid of them, I couldn‘t. It was part of my life. In this reality, so for me, I keep continuing, I keep continuing painting my books. And I am trying to be impeccable. I want to be impeccable, in this estancia, in this time, in this world. It is very fast, you know, for the cosmos it is very fast. I want to be impecable, don‘t make rush.

Raúl's sculptures reflect evolution and the concept of time

In that particular sculpture it was important for me to explain that the human, we understand the time in line, but it is very coherent, you know? It is very accurate, because you are born and you die. We realise that time is a line. But it's not true. In fact time is like this (draws a circle). So what I do with this sculpture is: I start to use different types of aesthetics like olmec aesthetic, maya aesthetic and aztec aesthetic. In that order. Olmec, and then Maya is classic period. And then Aztecas, this is post classic period, and then the television for me as a 20th century.

And then the QR. The QR, the quick responding interface. It's a line. It's a line. But the point is: I make this species to say that time is not a line. Because if we start to think that time is a line, you can get sick. As I explained you, you can get sick because you can get anxious. Past - depression, anxiety - future. A lot of humanity is getting anxious or stressed or depressed. So that sculpture helps me to say: No. Time is a circle. You have to be like the sculpture: To be there, to be in the present. Don't think, don't think future, don't think past. Just create create create. And when you create things, you are in the present."

Unfortunately after he said that last sentence, we were not able to establish a connection via Skype any more. But in the following email Raúl sent me a link to this youtube video where you can see what he is up to at the moment.

You can also find his website with lots of his objects here. Follow him at Saatchi Art. And there is a full transcript of the actual interview here.

And please, do not forget to visit Shaped in Mexico at Gallery Ariane Paffrath in Düsseldorf from May 24th to June 6th (or, if you are that lucky, in Venice from May 14th to 19th)!

 

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