Work table first studio downtown Pontiac, ca. 2001. This image is scanned from a slide. The dry brush ink drawings at the wall are based on newspaper clippings that I collect. Some of the motifs were, or are, used as initial source images for paintings.
The studio is a mess. So-so unfinished paintings. I'd rather look out the window. I always liked having studios with large windows, if possible on a higher floor. My current studio is like a box sitting on the roof of an old department store building. Looking outside, I see things that at times make it into my drawings and paintings ... window configurations for example, or roof landscapes.
Here is an anecdote, in case you want to know what is informing some, or at least this painting. "Amerikanische Sonnenstrahlen", 1995, is one of my own personal favorites. Perhaps it is because of the fact that it was painted at a time that I was wrapping up six months in Chicago as an exchange student at SAIC in the Fall semester 1994 - the first time that I lived a prolonged time in the United States.
I struggled with painting. Didn't really know what to paint, the city excited me more. One of the things that struck me was the peculiar light on some days. It could one day be a rainy, wet day with the top of high buildings wrapped in clouds, the next day a crisp, sunny autumn day with light cutting sharp contrasting edges.
Packing, there was this partially painted, mostly primed, canvas left on the floor. Afternoon sunlight hit it. This light just left marks, as you can see.
I think I should explain why I chose to name this section of my website artist's block. Besides the similar sound to blog (which is perhaps a bit softer in pronunciation), In German, as in English, there are quite a lot of meanings (often as part of a compound word). There are two versions that may be of relevance here: the writing or sketch pad, which is der Schreiblock, oder der Skizzenblock for one's flow of thoughts and ideas. But in case things are not going so well, one speaks of the creative block - der kreativen Blockade.
Watch out for my first discussion of one artwork of mine soon in this section.
Next week, I will be a visiting critic for Eastern Michigan University's MFA Critique and Professional Practice class.
Looking forward to return to Ypsilanti.
In Fall 2008, Telegraph did a show there called "EMU as MUSE". The idea was to not ship any work there but to make all work there, within 3 days (see my "Wall of Tower" images in the drawing section).
Thanks all visitors for a so far mostly positive feed back!
I am still in the process of thinking how I will use this section. A blog is only interesting for others to read if things get posted regularly. I also want to avoid stating the obvious too often.
In the past to weeks I have been to the atelier only for short visits, each visit about the lengths that it takes to to make one small drawing. With time constraints, I try to avoid to "sit around" and look around for too long, or read. However, from CAA in Chicago, I brought home the biographical book about Gerhard Richter, written by his longtime secretary (forgot his name), that was just published here in the U.S. in English.
Reading this instead of making art, you know, I must say this: There is nothing wrong with a bit self promotion. It is highly interesting how strategically one can built a career in the arts. It starts with rigorous editing of own work, archiving, and also separating with Weggefährten (companions [in the arts]) at times.
It also gives me insight into a questions that I wondered about: That is whether Richter uses assistants in creating his "S-Class paintings" (a term once used by critic Harald Fricke reviewing a show by Baselitz in the Neue Nationalgalerie Berlin).
This is even more interesting when contrasted with Sigmar Polke, who appears to be an even more private artist. I don't know if there is any bio out about him.
So why am I talking about the usual suspects rather than artists who should receive more attention (find them on my links )?
I don't know. I just think about other artist's work and life a lot.
Yet another artist I read about is Norbert Prangenberg.
He was included in a show in the Kunsthalle Bielefeld (the city I grew up in) a long time ago and I didn't look at his work in at least 15 years or so. His paintings and drawings relate well to his ceramic work and there is a tentative, improvisational approach, a playfullness that I appreciate. BTW he's going to have a show in April at Betty Cunningham Gallery in NYC.
Welcome! You found me. I appreciate your interest. Keep looking.
While I plan to keep my website overall geared towards a more general audience, you may find that this is the section where sentences are not finished, (writing) mistakes are made, beans spilled and where thoughts contradict each other.
So, feel free to join in with comments and contributions. Bis bald.
Hartmut Austen is a painter and educator living in the Boston area.