Can you tell me a little bit about you?
I am from Berlin and alternate between there and Ireland, where I studied for both my BA and MA. I had itchy feet from an early age and consider wide-ranging travel as my best education to date. Understanding another culture and language to level of literally dreaming and thinking in it informs my work as I also piece together varying formal visual languages in my studio work. Collage, print, painting, collaborative practices and installation are some of the many limbs growing out of the roots of my painting practice.
When did you first discover art, or realize you wanted to make it yourself?
Always. Always making art, always keeping going somehow. It is nothing short of a miracle to me how I can’t be bothered with lots of things in life, but I seem to have an unlimited amount of energy and curiosity for making stuff. And how life becomes incredibly dull when away from the studio for too long.
What do you like most about working where you do?
It’s a slightly schizophrenic situation, with working in the busy, buzzy city of Berlin some of the time, and then maintaining a near-perfect, almost residency-like studio in the stunningly beautiful West of Ireland. But then art practice is like that, really extroverted periods of time around showing work, socializing with other artists and looking at exhibitions, and then dropping off the side of the earth and burrowing into the art cave in order to create as close to uninterrupted as possible. Works for me.
What ideas are you exploring in your practice?
Recent works have departed into more bodily, abstracted forms. I would have been more concerned with the figure in earlier years, now only fragments of figuration remain. I absolutely love looking at abstract painting, but for myself always found it too “perfect” somehow, too ideal and removed from human failings. Hands, feet, patterns and organic, even cartoonish forms are what I am interested in at the moment. Graphics and print-media also interest me as they offer this fantastic flatness that reminds me of pre-renaissance painting, which I also adore.
What is your process like?
I go into literal working frenzies, for months on end, detrimental perhaps to my social life, but it seem that I need to build up this intensity in order to loosen up the parameters “of-what-has-been” for new work to depart somewhere exciting. I work on lots of paintings at once, alternating between looking at them and hiding them away from myself in order to “clean” my vision. Often I start with collage to assess the potential of contrasting elements. I have been mono-printing on paper and also on canvas quite a bit lately so that process has to be somewhat planned but overall I would say my process is mostly spontaneous.
Is there any subject or theme you’ve been particularly interested in lately?
Transformative processes, changes, individual responses to outer changes and morphing forms.
What is the strangest thing you’ve ever had to do for art?
Picking up “rubbish” as in objects trove around the great pyramids of Giza for a collaborative art project, perhaps. Long story. But art is always the greatest adventure.
Do you have a day job or other work that you split your time between?
I have had lots and lots of jobs, recently working in art supplies which kind of backfired as I spent everything I made on art materials – too much of a “sweets shop” situation. There is always some other work to keep me ticking over until the next great opportunity comes along and I run away for another show, residency or mad big projects in far-fetched places. Yeah, this obsession (art) doesn’t make for great “real-world” careers, but you just gotta keep making the best work you can and actually forget about all of that when you can – and as much as you can. A schizophrenic situation also.
Do you have a mentor, or a piece of advice (or both), which has influenced your practice?
Go for it, see where it takes you, let the work lead the way. (But maybe get a useful qualification in something else before you do all that 😉 )
Of course I never listened to that other than going for it and letting the work lead.
What does it mean to you to have a “community?”
Very important. Nowadays hugely enriched by social media where the artists output and interests can be the the line, hook and sinker for me to connect with rather than geographical location. This has helped me a lot, especially as my “working-frenzies” are somewhat isolating, independent of where they happen.
What is your studio like?
The Irish studio is a wooden shed, an oversized garden shed, really. Lovely wood stove in it and generally very cosy. At times quite chaotic- well it ebbs and flows but the “collaging-ten-different-things-together at-any-given-time” means that there at least a hundred different potential elements floating around on tables, floor and every other conceivable surface. Then the big clean happens in order to see things again. Berlin is a bit handier for studios as it is a very transient city, artists coming all the time. I have had various studios, sublets and situations in flux that suited me brilliantly there, and sometimes not having your own comfort zone completely makes some really fresh, unexpected work too.
Do you have any routines or rituals in the studio that get you into the mode or mindset to make your work?
I spend as much time as is available to me, usually listen to the radio as I cant be bothered to change tapes (yes I remember tapes and CDs 😉 or even bring my computer to the studio any longer. I kind of enjoy trashy pop-mush now as it blends into background noise and prevents the head from nattering on about “how everything is useless and why are you still at this anyhow”. And I never work early in the mornings unless it is still the night before 😉
How significant has attending art school been on your practice?
In hindsight, the MA wasn’t as important for my actual practice as I thought but I also did it after already working and showing my work for a number of years. The earlier BA was more important in terms of “finding myself,” discovering artists and peer exchanges.
What do you find most daunting, challenging, or frustrating about pursuing art?
Money or having to work at other jobs, isn’t that the elephant in the room for 99.9 percent of artists? Also sometimes I get creeped out by its utter self-centeredness.
How would you define “success” in art?
Making great art.
What is the most exciting thing you’ve done or accomplished so far, related to your work?
Outstanding for its extraordinary nature is a collaborative residency in Egypt that led to a huge project in Berlin, a collaborative show with an engineering firm in Ireland that impressed me with via the open-mindedness of non art-educated people and my recent solo show at the substantial and beautiful space that is Galerie Gerken Berlin.
Are you involved in any collaborative or self-organized projects?
Not at the moment although it has become an important aspect of my work.
What are you working on right now?
I am taking a little breather after recent solo show in Berlin, or I promised myself that anyhow. No, I am working. Of course – but smaller works and works on paper in the studio. To see whats next in terms of where the work wants to go. I have another solo in 2020 in Ireland and some group shows here and there. A new body of work generally about a year of making, selecting, discarding and editing and painting, painting, painting.