The eXTra finGer

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Monday, July 06, 2009

Interview with PISA73

q)Please introduce yourself.

a)My name is PISA73, I am a painter/illustrator.

q) Where do you live and work?

a)I live and work in Berlin.

q) How would you describe your work to someone who has never seen it?

a)Technically my paintings are mostly done with stencils and spray cans. My stencils are rather complex and consist of several layers, remotely resembling the screen printing process.

Many of my pieces are bold depictions of persons and objects with negative connotations. I often use images of crashed cars, weapons and porn actresses in combination with slogans or religious symbols. I don't intend to accuse anyone of anything, I am taking a spectators point of view. Lately I've begun to use my photos from riot scenes as templates for much quieter and subdued paintings which have a close resemblance to very grainy analog black&white photos.

q) How did you start in the arts? How/when did you realize you were an artist?

a)In 1990 I started painting graffiti which eventually lead to a degree in visual communication. During my studies my focus shifted to different forms of expression in an urban environment. I try to avoid labeling myself an artist, eventually it's up to the viewer to decide whether or not I am an artist.

q) What are your favorite art materials and why?

a)Being a creature of habit I am still happily painting with spray cans, the way I use them has changed quite a bit over the years. Paintbrushes and the like never appealed to me. Usually I paint on cardboard and wood, depending on the subject. I like used cardboard, like pizza boxes or asian noodle cartons a lot because it isn't just recycling, it's also a re-evaluation of everyday disposable items. In general I like to use inexpensive material.

q) What/who influences you most?

a)It may sound corny, but the society I live in and my conflicts with its value system and hypocrisy influences my work. Furthermore I challenge my own value system and my own conflicting opinions. I am sure that I am also heavily influenced by other people, but I can't put my finger on who it is. In terms of art music seems to be more influential than visual art.

q) Describe a typical day of art making for you.

a)Working with stencils is dull. Usually I am glued to the computer creating an illustration, which is followed by hours and hours of tedious cutting work. On the computer I have a pretty precise preview of what the final piece is going to look like. The most creative time is while rearranging existing stencils into new pieces or changing their meaning by altering the context. All this is interrupted by coffee breaks, lunch breaks, snack breaks, dinner breaks, visiting friends...

q) Do you have goals, specific things you want to achieve with your art or in your career as an artist?

a)It is rewarding to see when people are somehow touched by my work, so here's one goal: I want this to happen more often. As far as the career as an artist goes, I should like my own to be worthy of that particular denotation.

q) What contemporary artists or developments in art interest you?

a)Unfortunately I am a philistine. I seem to be too occupied with my own issues so there isn't much time to explore the art world. Not having to think about art for a while is bliss.

Furthermore in my experience it didn't help me being too absorbed by other artist's work. I noticed that elements of their work seeped into mine, but since I was lacking their substructure of the process that lead to said elements, I didn't consider my own resulting work conclusive.

q) How long does it typically take you to finish a piece?

a)How long it takes depends on the complexity of the stencil, meaning how long it takes to first trace the subject and second to cut the stencil. Some pieces only took a few hours, others several days.

q) Do you enjoy selling your pieces, or are you emotionally attached to them?

a)95% of my pieces I don't have any trouble letting go as long as I have a photo. Still I am kind of emotionally attached since I've created the pieces but that doesn't imply that I have to have them close to me.

q) Is music important to you? If so, what are some things you're listening to now?

a)It may be hard to believe to some, but listening to speed or thrash metal I find incredibly relaxing. Some part of me seems to hold on to a juvenile kind of anger and my other, more mature part indulges in a form of screaming-at-the-world-by-proxy which is plentiful in this genre. But I like some quiet music as well.

q) Books?

a)Everything by Neal Stephenson. Some William Gibson. Wolf Haas (I don't know if his books are available in others languages than german), Fletch.

q) What theories or beliefs do you have regarding creativity or the creative process?

a)None - with the exception that I believe it is counter productive to theorize too much. I rather produce by following my gut feeling and a general vagueness.

q) What do you do (or what do you enjoy doing) when you're not creating?

a)I like to spend time with my girlfirend. I enjoy good food in the company of friends. Listen to music, read, relax. Watch some sitcoms... Consume.

q) Do you have any projects or shows coming up that you are particularly excited about?

a)I am very excited about my one man show in september at Wilde Gallery in Berlin where I am going to show mostly new work. There's also a group show that I am happy about titled Street/Studio currently at Irvine Contemporary in Washington DC until August 1st and I'll have another one man show at Galerie Tobias Schrade in southern Germany at the end of July, which I am looking forward to.

q) Do you follow contemporary art scenes? If so, how? What websites, magazines, galleries do you prefer?

a)I loosely follow a few blogs but not on regular basis. The art scene doesn't interest me much and usually I attend openings at Wilde Gallery and sometimes tag along when friends go to openings or have openings.

q) Ask yourself a question you'd like to answer, and answer it.

a)Here's the problem: I am constantly asking myself lots of questions... trouble is, I don't have the answers.

q) Any advice for aspiring artists?

a)Don't let them fool ya.

q) Where can we see more of your work online?

a)The most comprehensive list of my work is on my blog I also have a website with additional samples of design work and some photos, but the site proved so time consuming in maintenance that it hasn't been updated in a year.