Saturday, July 19, 2008

Art Space Talk: Levi van Veluw

Levi van Veluw is a young visual artist born in Hoevelaken, the Netherlands. He studied between 2003 and 2007 in the Artez School of Arts, Autonomous Arts, Arnhem. He has shown works in London, Stockholm, Chicago and Berlin, among other cities. Levi van Veluw's photo series are all self-portraits, drawn and photographed by himself: a one-man-process.

His works constitute elemental transfers - modifying the face as object - combining it with other stylistic elements to create a third visual object with a large visual impact. The work you see therefore is not a portrait, but an information-rich image of colour, form, texture, and content. The image contains the history of a short creative process, with the artist shifting between the entities of subject and object.

The Material Transfer series were completed and photographed within a time frame of 24 hours and without any digital manipulation. Giving familiar elements such as cheap carpet, pebble stones and sterling wood a new context results in a confusing conflict between the objects normal associations and the new values assigned to it in these works.

Material transfers Sterling wood

Material transfers Carpet

Brian Sherwin: Levi, I observed your work at NEXT in Chicago. Your work was displayed at the RONMANDOS Gallery booth. Can you tell us about that experience?

Levi van Veluw: It was a great opportunity to show my work in America. I wasn't there myself, but the reactions where great.

BS: Levi, you studied at the Artez School of Arts. Can you tell our readers about your academic experience? Did you have any influential instructors? What was the program like?

LV: There are a lot of art schools in the Netherlands, but they all have a different approach. At most schools you have to choose a medium. In Arnhem you did not have to choose and could use every medium you want. So besides painting I could also make videos and photos. During the study you get an enormous amount of freedom, and that was the hardest part of the study. You need a lot of motivation to finish the study. The study was a 4 year search about what you really want.

BS: Levi, since graduating from the Artez Art School you have enjoyed a remarkable amount of success in a short period of time. Your work has been showcased in several different locations across Europe and the United States and you have earned a number of prestigious awards that include the Photographer of the Year Award at the IPA International Photo Awards in the USA. How do you handle success? Do you block it out of your mind in order to focus on your work?

LV: In the beginning it was really hard, but you get used to it. Now I don't see it as success anymore, but as a great amount of opportunities. I can work everyday on new work, and that is what I like the most. I have the time to realize my idea's.

Landscapes Landscape I 120x100cm & 60x50cm
Landscapes Landscape IV 120x100cm & 60x50cm

BS: Your landscapes are very interesting. It is my understanding that they start out as a self-portrait. From there you alter the portrait so that it becomes something more than a face... something more than human. In a sense, these works reflect how we are rooted in nature even though we thrive in a technical world. In other words, these works are more than just a portrait. Can you discuss these works? Perhaps you can tell our readers about the process involved in creating them?

LV: The work is created through several combinations of idea's. I started experimenting with portraits a few years ago. After every photo, I analyze the work and discuss with myself what is good and what is not. Therefore they are not really portraits, but more of a series of experiments. Creating the work is a one man process. It is very important that I make every decision while I am creating the work itself because the process is part of the work. The objects really exist on my head and not though the use of a computer.

BS: Levi, what about influences? For example, are you influenced by any specific artists?

LV: No artist has had a direct influence on my work. But I like artists like, Erwin Wurm, Hans op de Beeck, and Anish kapoor.
Blocks 60x50cm & 120x100cm

BS: Levi, what are you working on at this time? Can you give our readers some insight into your future plans as far as your art is concerned?

LV: I am now working on a piece for interpolis/achmea art collection. Besides that, I am creating some new portraits that will exist from different kinds of light sources, a new rotating video and I am also experimenting with sculptures.

BS: Where can our readers see your work in person? Will you be involved with any upcoming exhibits?

LV: In the Netherlands there is an exhibition named:
Holland zonder Haast, Scheringa Museum, 25 May - 28 September
In oktober Ronmandos gallery will present some new work on the FIAC art fair in Paris.

BS: Finally, is there anything else you would like to say about your art?

LV: I don’t really have anything special to say. However, please take a look at my website www.levivanveluw.com. In October there will be new work to view on the site.
You can learn more about Levi van Veluw by visiting his website-- www.levivanveluw.com. You can read more of my interviews by visiting the following page-- www.myartspace.com/interviews.
Take care, Stay true,
Brian Sherwin

1 comment:

Elizabeth said...

Wonderful work featured in this interview. Looking forward to seeing more...