How did you get started doing what you do?
That was quite a long journey. After school I began to study computer science but I realized very early that my math skills were too bad. At this time I programmed my own VJ tools mostly, so actually, the final result was already something visual. Afterwards, I studied painting at the KHB – Kunsthochschule Berlin Weißensee. My visual language was very different from what I’m doing now. I started very figurative and photo-dependent, but became increasingly more abstract.
How would you describe your creative style?
It’s hard to put it in words, but the leading actors in my paintings are material, geometry and the process. I am trying to achieve something that I call “complex simplicity.”
What’s your inspiration?
The biggest inspiration is the material itself. Their surface and appearance lead to new forms and shapes that I react to. Of course there’s much more. It’s the world that surrounds me and every visual input I can get: 3-D programs, printed medias, movies, music, audiobooks, the internet, trash TV and 20th century art.
What does your typical day look like?
I am trying to keep my daily schedule as conservative as possible. That means I’m in the studio quite early and leave around six. I guess my two most productive times every day are the last hour in the studio before I leave and the hour at night before I sleep. When I come to the studio in the morning I’m just trying to pick the fruits of these moments.
How long does it typically take for you to finish a piece?
There is no rule, I would say something between two weeks and two months, which is quite imprecise. But it’s hard to say where the actual process starts and where it ends.
How do you keep motivated?
Motivation has never been a problem. I look at the world through the prism of my paintings; everywhere I find new elements for works. So fortunately, motivation is something I never have to think about. It’s just there and keeps me alive.
How would you say your surroundings have influenced your work?
Very much. It is not always a conscious process. Sometimes I realize quite a while after finishing a work where particular elements come from. It can quite often be found in the places that surround me. I’m from Berlin, and I have never lived somewhere else for longer than a few months. This mix of urban dirt, architecture, nature and people is very influential. I could say my work is a amalgamation of my surroundings filtered by my mind. Right now for example I am collecting pictures of house facades with removed graffiti and tags. They have a very special, abstract quality.
What, if anything, would you tell your younger self?
Don’t think too much. Try to unlearn the skills that led to solutions yesterday immediately. Otherwise, you lose the excitement of discovering something new and you lose the ability to bring them into a new context. And always paint sober.
What art supplies do you use?
Pretty much all I can get. From very typical ones like oil paints, acrylics, spray paint, inks, household paint, airbrush, markers, oil sticks, stencils, and collages, to different resins, dirt, bandages, paint remover, latex and foils. I also like to use different canvases or other fabrics and sew them together to get more structure and different materials.
What’s your process like?
Fortunately, there’s not only one route I take. It differs very much from painting to painting because of the fact that the works are driven by action and reaction. The first move is usually to create forms and structures I can react to; I always start with a big piece of raw canvas, on which I paint the first layers laying on the floor. I decide the actual format later by cutting parts off or sewing parts on. Sometimes I wrap the canvas around quite complex, wooden and geometric objects I build myself. My daily routine in the studio is driven by these moments some artists describe as being a “doubt sandwich.” Albert Oehlen described it once as “coming to the studio each morning and the paintings surrounding you are screaming “YOU CAN’T PAINT.” Sounds frustrating but actually it’s the opposite, it’s the engine that keeps me moving on.