Saturday, August 02, 2008

Art Space Talk: Oliver Fauser

Oliver Fauser
Oliver Fauser was born in July 1965 in Lörrach (Baden) near the Black Forest. Between 1987 and 1997 he lived in New York, Los Angeles, London, San Francisco, Milan and Hamburg, and toured Europe with various New Yorker Musical-Productions and German plays. After an intermezzo in the film industry in Cologne, he decided to return to the Black Forest one year later. He explores textue by utilizing various material, such as sand, plastic, gravel, filler, wood, leaves, emulsion paint, oil paint, acrylics etc..

Gray Circles by Oliver Fauser

Brian Sherwin: Oliver, you were born and raised in Lorrach (Baden) near the Black Forest. Eventually you traveled to New York, Los Angeles, London, San Francisco, Milan and Hamburg. You lived in these locations as well. How have your travels influenced you as an artist?

Oliver Fauser: Coming from a small town in the southwest of Germany I was eager to get to know the real world. My first stop on that journey was the City of New York, and I stayed for a year. So naturally, New York always remained a special place to me. It¹s a shame I haven¹t been there for 15 years.

The city really opened my eyes for musicianhood, for art, literature and life in general. And all of these many new impressions and experiences traveled with me to every new city, and grew. Living in all these places also made me understand the folks and the system of my hometown much better and I really enjoyed coming home from time to time.
Gray Circles Revisited by Oliver Fauser

BS: May I ask why you decided to return to the Black Forest? Philosophically speaking, would you say that you draw creative energy from your home?

OF: After my kids (two sons, now 15 and sixteen) were born, we still moved a lot, so when the firstborn was old enough to go to school we simply had to settle down, it was as simple as that. And at that time in our lives it seemed to us (my 2nd ex-wife and I), that the Black Forest would be an idyll for the boys. Also with Basel just 25 minutes away from where we live, it made it easier to move.
When we lived in Cologne we wrote a lot of songs together and after the move to the Black Forest we set up a studio and recorded it all. I also started painting again, I painted a little during the early nineties, but I was too busy making music and touring and being a single father. You can see a few painting examples of that time on my website, if you're interested, go the gallery and click on "Last Century Crimes" (smiles). There are worlds between now and then.

So, to sum it up, the last ten years have been the most creative and most satisfying years in my life. I have never been so pleased with my artistic outcome. I think that the safety of home probably plays a little part in this, yes. I know how to get around here with closed eyes. Nonetheless, I am not planning on staying here forever.
Mauve by Oliver Fauser

BS: Oliver, you appear to be very interested in the physicality of your work. Texture obviously plays an important role in your practice. Can you discuss the attraction you have to utilizing textures and perhaps discuss some of your methods in general?

OF: Textures are fascinating to me. I think everybody knows the situation, where you sit somewhere, like on a toilet, staring at the texture of a wallpaper, and the longer you look you'll start seeing faces, shapes etc., and next time you sit on the very same spot, you try to see the exact same things again, and sometimes it works. And then you see even more things, and that's great. Well, at least for me. (smiles). But that is basically how I get started. I see something on the pavement, in the woods, in a glass of wine, on a kitchen role, or I make up something in my mind, I draw a sketch of it and I try to put it into filler and styrodur. A lot of times it develops into something totally different, but only if I like it that way.

I hardly ever use anything else but styrodur as my painting base. Sometimes canvas or cardbox, but that's it. I am actually more of a styrodur designer than a painter, I shape and cut and brush filler and paint, be it acrylics, regular wallpaint or oilpaint. My early works are frameless, the later ones have a self-made woodframe the styrodur is attached to. Let me tell you, these woodframes are very unique and raw. (laughs) But in my work I always look for harmony or balance, why try and be provocative when it's not in your art?

I love first take impressions, but at the same time, there are pieces I have been working on over the years and they still haven't seen the light of day. Most of the time I work on a few pieces at once, sometimes ten to fifteen, within a time frame of 8 weeks, in which I only concentrate on that. It starts with filler shaping the textures and it always ends with black paint and many layers of lighter paint brushed onto it until it looks the way I want it to.

Other ingredients are sand and gravel, plastic and wood, and whatever else suits me at that moment. Lately, for examples my nudes, I have been cutting and ripping little pieces of styrodur in different shapes and sizes, and put it together like a mosaic. People think it¹s little stones.
Girl in the Twilight by Oliver Fauser

BS: As mentioned, you are a musician as well. How has that experienced influenced your visual art? Does one inspire the other, so to speak?

OF: Quite honestly, not really. It's two different things to me, both I love dearly, but I never thought about bringing them together. I know guys who did release CDs, and for every song there was an adequate painting inside the booklet, representing the feel of the music. It worked for them, it doesn't for me. At least not in this time and place.

BS: Can you discuss some of your other influences? For example, are you influenced by any specific artist or art movements from the past?

OF: Aside wallpaper (laughs), other artists inspired me to the extend that I started to think about art and wanting to do it myself. But in my own work I wouldn't call their styles an influence to me, though I am always looking for people whose works are similar looking to mine.

I love Klimt. At home I have a room full of prints of his work. It takes hours to see everything there is to see in just one painting of his. When I saw my first original Klimt at the Art Basel years ago, I could not believe my eyes, I must have stood there for hours just staring at it. I also like Gerhard Richter and I think Oda Jaune's work is amazing. Also Jackson Pollock, Robert Rauschenberg and Claude Monet. Just to mention a few of course.

Inside Out by Oliver Fauser

BS: I’m very interested in Rockville and Inside Out. Can you discuss these two pieces?

OF: These two pieces actually belong to a series of three. It started out with Rockville, whose textures were very soft, and the paint was brushed on it also very lightly. At the same time I was working on Stonedesert and I worked out its textures very “sharp” and brushed the paint very hard, very edgy, there's a strong contrast in it, and a strong contrast to Inside Out, to me Stonedesert got something dark and touching, something ominous about it. Whereas Rockville has a very deserted, lonely feel about it.. With Inside Out I tried to make it all look very very soft, very soothing, very poetic if you will, and when you look at it, it's kinda blurry.

The material used in all three pieces are the same, styrodur, filler, sand, gravel and a lot of other things. The brushing makes the most difference aside from the textures of the filler.
Rockville by Oliver Fauser

BS: What about your work in general? Can you give us more detail about the thoughts behind your work? For example, is there a specific message that you strive to convey to viewers? What are the social implications o f your work?

OF: There is no message. My only message would be that "life is beautiful". But I wouldn’t call it the message behind my work. Naturally, I am more of an introverted person, so I don't use my art as a vehicle to transport any messages, but there's something in me that has to get out as soon as it enters my mind. I want to show people my little world, and I want them to enjoy It and feel comfortable while they're in it.
Stonedesert by Oliver Fauser

BS: What are you working on at this time?

OF: I am working on a project with a good friend of mine, working title "be part of the art", where people can actually participate in the process of creating a painting of mine. They can basically remote control me, in a sense. But that's all I want to say about it now, cause we are still brainstorming about the ways to go.

In the meantime I am staring at wallpapers and tiles, drawing sketches, and am constantly thinking about new motives and techniques to enhance my work. Right now, I am actually working on my first three dimensional human figure: a woman in "stoned" styrodur.

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

OF: No. Okay, maybe that I have come a long way, I have developed my own style, and I have a lot of ideas for future projects. A friend of mine once said, that my work is sort of modern Pop Art. I leave it at that, but I wish he had said Rock 'n Roll Art. And maybe, to answer your earlier question, that's where my art and my music come together (laughs).

You can learn more about Oliver Fauser and his art by visiting his website-- You can read more of my interviews by visiting the following page--
Take care, Stay true,
Brian Sherwin

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

what i like is that it is like when you look the cloud, you can see so much things , congratulation
emmanuelle renon (zouzou)