Interview with David Schiesser
Interview by Wertical
Wertical: How do you describe your art to somebody who has never seen one of your work?
David Schiesser: I would describe my approach as an intuitive drawing-exploration of topics such as the human body, sciences and relations between humans and animals. I research into forms, proportions, lines, ornaments and it results in something in between figurative and abstract art.
WE: Where did you study?
DS: I studied in Offenbach at the Hochschule für Gestaltung in Eike König’s and Manfred Stumpf’s class.
WE: What are you currently working on?
DS: I am currently finishing the preparation of the exhibition ‘om’ which is going to take place at popsixtyeight in Cologne. I am also preparing for a long trip to South-America. In the meanwhile, I tattoo and draw a lot in smaller formats to be able to draw whenever I want, especially while travelling.
WE: What are your three artists to watch?
DS: I cannot really answer to this question. I am pretty volatile concerning my interests in art. I am mostly inspired by the people I hang out with.
WE: What will your artist career look like in five years?
DS: I hope to something like it is now. I am very very thankful at the moment to be able to work so independently. As long as it stays on this same level of freedom I will be very glad. On the other hand, I have some bigger ideas in mind, which have to wait for bigger occasions.
WE: What does the title mean? One could connect it with the OM from yoga practice or an abbreviated name.
DS: The title "OM" is also found in yoga practice, which is good, because it also illustrates my own slope to the esoteric. Or rather, it is precisely a border area that the title carries within itself. OM as such is basically a mantra. Both Hinduism and Buddhism are in OM and above all in the continuous utterance of the original syllable, and the vibration of the universe has been created. I especially like the ambiguity: on the one hand, this strongly religious reference, on the other hand, the kitschiest of all syllables. As it is so often used and borrowed, it is deprived of its original meaning.
WE: You have been living and working in Berlin for several months. How does the new environment affect your work?
DS: We have a lot of space in our atelier, and I would say I have devoted myself to larger canvas. In addition, I have redefined my visual language through the industrial world around us, and all the big companies, such as welding, general electrics,…I always reproduce the environment that surrounds me, so that for example the plants I draw are basically the ones around me.
WE: Are the work for OM all from Berlin?
DS: Yes, all the works have been created there.
WE: You say you are not following other artists because their art does not touch you without knowing them. Instead, you are inspired by people around you. How can we imagine your environment? Can you describe it a bit?
DS: As indicated above, the atelier is a little outside Berlin, so a place in the middle of strongly industrial companies, which mainly serve the energy sector - in between intermittent nature, which is somehow very idyllic. I share the studio with Malte Zenses, with whom I have been working very closely for quite a long time. The inspiration jumps back and forth. I am always only there temporarily and the rest of the time I am in Offenbach in my little studio where I am tattooing, drawing and working on projects. I believe that these spatial separations, allow me to always focus on one thing. In Berlin I can produce great things, make muck, be loud. In Offenbach it is more organized, more communicative - planned.
Concerning artists and art, I follow artisans and look what they make. But I've noticed lately that I find it more difficult to get into their work ... An exhibition is already a step further, one sees the work in a much more present way. To get to know the artist or the person behind the work is already much more profitable, at the same time one understands what the person makes, the approach ... it is then more synonymous of the entire oeuvre. For me, things are easier to grasp if I know the creator. Of course, there are also exceptions.
WE: What about art whose artists no longer live? Does art from past centuries inspire you, for example, cave painting?
DS: It is indeed way easier. One has to arrange for the artist to be dead. I am, of course, highly inspired by many things, from cave paintings to Matisse. The Egyptians, with their unfinished side view and the narrow proportions, the Greek with their mythology and the display of individual muscular strings (the most beautiful representation of the body), the mediaeval with the woodcuts, Bosch and Dürer with their pictorial worlds, the Renaissance with its fine work, the ornaments and the vision of the future, African art .... There simply is so much that each day I am inspired by new things.