3 Questions For 3 Artists
With over 30 contemporary artists, from around the world and across the spectrum of age and experience, represented on our site, we thought it would be interesting to hear their points of view in regards to art and the world in general!
How do they see art in relation to eternal questions and how does their work reflect on the contemporary world. We will also glimpse into their daily studio routines and the sources of inspiration that drive their creative processes and the challenges they face along the path.
We are pleased to welcome Lucian Patermann, Anca Branzas, and Frank Xarate for the very first round of Topictures “3 Questions for 3 Artists”.
What was your path to becoming an artist? Was there a particular event that has significantly influenced your artistic creation?
Lucian: Let's start a little earlier. I was born in a country that no longer exists, of which I have hardly any memory, about which hardly anyone wanted to talk to me for a long time, and yet which seemed to be on everyone's lips. With the best view of the headquarters of the local motor transport company, on the well-traveled Engels ring and two floors above a truck workshop, I grew up in a GDR version of a patchwork family (grandparents + single mother who was still almost a child herself).
The only art I encountered during this time was an oil painting by my great-grandfather. A wintry landscape that he had presumably already photographed during the First World War and then enlarged as a painting before losing his life in the Second World War. Everything after that and up to my time seemed to have been mostly working and strife.
Later, when I had one of my first exhibitions, only my mother was left in my family. (My grandparents had both died early and the rest were lost in quarreling). So, in the café next to the exhibition rooms, my mother sat alone with me and wondered: how did it come to be, with me and art? Her memories finally led her to an incontrovertible thesis, at least for the moment: I was still very young, maybe 3 years old, when I had a romp with my grandfather and he whirled me around in the bathroom until I hit my head against the iron boiler and cracked open the top of my skull. That could have been where it all began, with that „breadless “courage of fantasy. (I was inwardly seething with rage). In the meantime, more than 15 years have passed between that scene in the café and today. I had no musical or artistic support and when I dropped out of school, my mother had already moved out of the flat we shared a few years previously. I set out with a mixture of amazement and anger to leave as much of that behind as possible and to create my own perspective. At some point, I started studying "free art" at the Bauhaus University, was able to travel in the course of this, and finally, after a few years in which I had forbidden myself to paint in the meantime, arrived at the aesthetic forms that distinguish me today.
Anca: I don't think you become an artist but just you can put a seed in fertile ground. This means that I was already born with a special gift, that of painting, and through a lot of work and many searches I have reached the point where I am today.
Frank: I don't think there is a specific path, I think it's rather a number of events and spaces and images that build an interest. However, I must say that much of my path was born in my childhood near the Pacific Ocean on the island of Buenaventura-Colombia, where I was born, via the exuberance of nature and its movements, as well as through stories related to some objects from my house. All this was paving a virtual pathway.
What are your main sources of inspiration?
Lucian: Here, too, I would take a little more distance. Perhaps my greatest source of inspiration lies in events that I have not personally experienced and can therefore only imagine. I am talking about the evolutionary development that the historian Yuval Noah Harari has described as the cognitive revolution. This is primarily about our languages and their inherent ability to talk about things that have no material presence; in other words, the potential of humanity that can be inscribed through fiction (which is probably why I love science fiction). Our language is closely connected to our thinking. And our eyes are, in a sense, only the outermost part of our brains. So, it can happen that we can see things but still not perceive them because, for example, we don't have any words for them (we even sometimes manage to do this the other way round). This relationship between language and appearance is a recurring source of inspiration for me. Several times I have discovered gateways to worlds where before there seemed to be only walls. These worlds consist of connections, regularities and, last but not least, concepts, which, considered in themselves, can be suffused with sense and at the same time lose all meaning if one has no words for them. For me, this means in concrete terms that I have sometimes experienced things that have irritated me so much that, apart from question marks in my head, I had at most a vague assumption. I am driven to find a way to solve these puzzles, and I try to share the fascination that then dances within me through my artistic works
Anca: My sources of inspiration are my life, my mind and everything that surrounds me. For me these sources are endless and sometimes this is even liberating. I draw a lot and that helps me narrow down these endless sources, to focus on my current series of works: The Wedding, Post-communist Portraits, Garden of Eden, The Mask of the Fall, The Angels of our times, The Unicorn and the World of the Impossible...
Frank: Always nature, and images that I collect on my cell phone, be it a flower or a poster in the street, or the trance when I listen to music, the places where the sound takes me, or some text from a book or a poem. I think as an artist I'm always open to external stimuli that then emerge in my drawings. I also like some artists and their works that inspire me, such as Kara Walker, Basquiat and Gabriel Chaile, among others.
What do you think is the benefit of selling art prints? How is it different from selling original works?
Lucian: Personally, I would not dwell so much on the "opposition" here, because an original can also be experienced by many people, and pilgrimage to places of art can endow both the works and their viewers with meaning. Art prints are primarily cheaper and more adaptable than their original models. The lower price is as much a potential problem for contemporary artists as it is an opportunity. If artists can only make a little money from their work, then there will be little to distribute, because they will simply not be able to continue working. The opportunity I see in art prints is that more people can connect with it at home and it lowers the inhibition threshold to do so. In contrast to the works of artists who have already died, buying from contemporaries is always also a promotion of their future work and thus a special statement. The purchase of art must therefore not only be motivated for one's own possession but should also be understood as a contribution to our cultural landscape. Art prints also enable even more people to share in this way and can be part of a democratisation of art. What I particularly like is that I don't even have to have a lot of free walls at home for art prints. I could also collect them as a personal edition in a portfolio and add or swap something from time to time.
Anca: I think for the distribution of art, any marketing tool matters. If besides the sale of the work itself, prints are also sold, this does not mean that the "aura" or “value” of the artwork will diminish. On the contrary, it has the opportunity to be seen by more people, which is what an artist wants, and therefore a bonus, especially if they are not known worldwide.
Frank Xarate: I think it is a moment where the concept of originality has been rethought, to something more superior, the idea of having an original is beautiful, but so is knowing that others have the opportunity to acquire a print of the work since the relationship with the image should be free and democratic with access to beauty available to everyone.
Thank you to Lucian, Anca, and Frank. We hope you enjoyed the first in our series of 3 Questions for 3 Artists. Follow us on social media to keep up to date for our next round of talks, with more artists and more topics.
Lucian Patermann was born in 1985 in Weimar; He lives and works in Leipzig, Germany. He studied art at the Bauhaus-University in Weimar. Lucian Patermann's formal language is fed by the various manifestations of language itself in various media. He breaks down our language(s), sets them in motion, strains their sounds, dissects their narrative syntax, and transforms them into new fields of activity. The boundaries between the different levels of his artistic media are fluid. Behind the aesthetic appearances of his works often multi-layered intellectual fields can be opened up, which oscillate between history, philosophy, sociology, semiology, and aesthetics.
Anca Brânzaș (b. 1986, Oradea, Romania) is a painter living and working between Champery, Switzerland, and the south of France. In 2010, she graduated with a master’s degree from the Academy of Arts, Bucharest, and in 2015 she obtained a Ph.D. in visual arts from the University of Arts and Design, Cluj Napoca. Within the Ph.D. program, she received two Erasmus scholarships in Macerata, Italy (2012) and in Berlin (2015). Between 2015-2018, she participated in an artistic residency offered by Intact Space (Centrul de Interes, Cluj Napoca). Her paintings are filled with odd and peculiar characters that animate visually outlandish stories; offering us a picture of humanity in its absurd manifestation. They are both humorous and profound, unveiling a real-life fable filled with symbolism, rituals, and fantastical characters. Using a lively colour palette and exuberantly painted imagery, Anca employs an expressive way of painting that hovers somewhere between dream, fantasy, and reality.
Frank Xarate (b. 1985, Colombia) is an Argentinian - Colombian Designer and Visual artist based in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He studied Visual Communication Design at the National University La Plata in Buenos Aires and earned a postgraduate in Conceptual Design at UNTREF. Frank Xarate believes art has the potential to transform society and should be immersed in the streets, so as to reach everyone, with and for all people. His work is focused on creating an image that allows him to travel back to primitive childhood, to be immersed with the senses and imagination of youth. His research, imbued with underground culture and rich in references to the primitive Latin American Indios world, appears as a mental note that is realized through his artistic gesture and work. Awarded in national and international competitions, Frank has participated in collective exhibitions, workshops, and seminars throughout the world.