Interview with Artist Showdown Miami

Q: When did art first caught your attention?

A: I am quite sure it all began when I one day just decided to stop listening to my teacher. It simply felt better to stare out the window and pay attention to all the events taking place outside. My textbooks became the canvas for my first scribbles based upon these events. These were the first stirrings of artistic expression I noticed within myself, borne out of necessity, and bubbling to the surface.

Q: You come from one of the most beautiful regions in Austria, Carinthia. Do you believe it plays an important role in you creation process?

A: To a certain degree, Carinthia influenced my development as an artist but to say that the geography, physical or otherwise, is present in my work, is, if so, more a result of the subconscious.

Q: Your work if pretty much contemporary, in tune with the international art scene, yet unique. How would you describe the local art scene in your area?

A: I spent a period of my life traveling intensively, absorbing and reflecting upon a wide variety of cultures and artistic works which inevitably influenced my own artistic style. Generally, I don’t devote much attention to the Art Scene: I am my own person and reject culturally implemented or constructed scenes or trends, whether they be found in the realm of music, art or politics. If the cultural milieu were the sea, these constructed trends would be born underwater, only to float to the top and be swallowed whole by the great white business shark.

Q: Do you think an artist has to be in a major City where art is shaping history or you can make your own history anywhere?

A: I believe Art can happen anywhere, but the question must certainly be, what is art? We wasted an entire academic year trying to answer this unanswerable question. It is, of course, easier to make a name and present works in major cities than in small towns. Those that are interested in art collecting and exhibiting are to be found in the major cities- this is a matter that does not concern the will of Art as Art can exist in the mountains whether or not it be noticed.

Q: What has been the most important thing in your career as an artist?

A: I have trouble trying to narrow it down to one defining thing- there were many important steps along the way to where I am today. It is the sum of all these steps that have allowed me to go the distance.

Q: What has been the most difficult part of being an artist?

A: To keep on working, not to stand still, being able to discover myself over and over again, these are the my greatest difficulties in being an artist. A very cumbersome and omnipresent obstacle to success as an artist is the monthly bills that one doesn’t necessarily have the cash on hand to pay. However, if you believe in yourself and are committed to your work all the problems find, sooner or later, their solutions.

Q: What's the most important fact at the present stage of your career?

A: At the moment, I have a desire to paint large-format pictures. Somehow, the years of experience have given me the courage to tackle large canvasses.

Q: What do you think that matters the most for an artist living in the XXI century?

A: To question as much as possible, keep an open perspective and keep your feet on the ground; Not to get confused between what is and what seems to be and to listen to your own voice; One must not become what others wish of him, but what he wishes for himself.

Q: There have been so many great Austrian artists. However I suppose Gustav Klimt is the most well known one. There is also the Pop Artist Kiki Kogelnik. Do you find international recognition of your work something that really matters to you?

A: Naturally, it is a good thing for my Works to be shown internationally, for their feelers or tentacles to reach out a little just as friction among differing cultures can create new points of view or discourse. I believe it to be of value to travel around the world with one’s art the way that musicians go on tour- it is of such benefit to an artist. I experienced this myself when I was invited to be an artist-in-residence in Cairo. Everything there was so contrary to my culture- it was a very exciting adventure.

Q: Could you name your top 5 artists?

A: Cy Twombly, Per Kirkeby, Antonio Tapies, Willem de Kooning, Georg Baselitz and many more...

Q: What's more difficult, dealing with the business part of being an artist or managing insights, turning projects and ideas into art?

A: Successful artists were also good businesspeople. It is simply part of being an artist. However, place too much emphasis on business, and the art suffers as a result. Often, making art takes so much time that there isn’t much left over for anything else.

Q: What's your long term goal as an artist?

A: It isn’t so meaningful to me to reach a goal- it’s more as if the process itself is the determining factor. So much takes place each day that if one stays aware of even a few of these daily events it becomes difficult to look to the future. Important, is to stay aware. Anyway, I certainly plan to present my work in chosen locations which I see more as stops along a journey than as goals.

Q: What advice would you give to those artists that sometimes don't know how to tread the unstable beginning of their careers?

A: One should slowly build up a network and find ways to come into possession of the materials needed to realize his artistic endeavours. I always had the chance to trade paint, frames, etc., for finished works which left me more time to devote to my work. Of course, it is helpful to have a pool of art savvy people on your side; it helps to strengthen your spine. Mostly, these people are to be found where the artist resides and does most of his work.