Tell us about yourself, who are you, where are you from, and what do you do?
Hi, my name is Reiner Hansen, I am a painter. I was born in Denmark where I spent the first part of my life. I live in San Francisco, California.
My latest body of work consists of conceptual self portrait paintings synthesized from different women in the media and TV. I see these female types as having contrasting properties: both seductive and repulsive, flamboyant but needy, powerful yet victims of their own exhibitionism… they are consumed with advertising themselves, desperately grabbing for attention, perhaps paralleling my own experience as an artist, aggressively desiring exposure in the art world.
What’s your inspiration?
Reality TV stars and the hysteria surrounding them. I find that they personify some tragic developments in our society. Characters I observe in life, often on public transport. The austrian sculptor Xavier Messerschmidt from the 1700’s initially inspired me to do the portraits. He did these super detailed self portrait busts displaying extreme emotions. Also the german painters of the 20’s; Otto Dix, Georg Grosz and Christian Schad, as well as contemporary painters like John Currin and Philip Akkerman. I guess these artist all have in common that their work is sinister while humorous.
What is art to you?
Sharing my interpretation of the world. Some sort of freedom.
What does your typical day look like?
If I have the time, I like to sit alone in a cafe in the morning and scribble notes. I tend to work in the afternoon while listening to news broadcasts or documentaries. Or I get into habits of listening to the same music over and over.
How do you keep motivated?
Working on different projects in different media simultaneously. They feed off each other. Keeping a sketch book informs the work. I feel out of sorts if I don’t do my art.
What do you hope to accomplish with your work?
This quote from the painter Frank Auerbach is often at the back of my mind: “I’m hoping to make a new thing for the world that remains in the mind like a new species of living thing.” My aim is that the excitement and meaning I find in doing the work will rub off on other people…
What, if anything, would you tell your younger self?
Experiment and play, not everything you do is supposed to be a finished work of art. Be serious, but don’t take yourself too seriously. Cultivate objectivity in regards to your work and other’s opinions about it.
What’s the best advice you’ve been given?
If you don’t have much time for your art, you have to make it. It’s like a relationship, you get out of it what you put into it.
Have any future aspirations that you’d like to share?
Working larger and working with video.
What art supplies do you use?
I use oil paint and watercolors at the moment. Sometimes I make my own paints using dry pigments, wax and linseed oil. They feel different to the commercial paints, and have incredible colors. I also like to make my own gesso and oil-ground from chalk, pigment and rabbit skin glue. Photoshop.