Dear Eva, thank you for taking time for an interview with us! We are happy to welcome you to HAZEGALLERY. Tell us please about yourself and your path to the art world.
I am an artist and video producer from Bonn. Creativity belongs to me since early childhood, like the air to breathe.
I grew up in a very down-to-earth home with no understanding of art. My parents had their own business and very little time for my sister and me. As a child, I, therefore, often was in my own world, and so art became my daily companion.
I was six years old when I saw Salvador Dalí's paintings in an art book for the first time. It was like an initiation for me. I felt that this was an art form in which there was a kind of truth, something that could not be expressed in words.
With my pocket money, I bought art postcards of Dalí and stuck them on the walls of my room. I looked at these pictures every day and wanted to be able to paint in the same way. That's why I taught myself oil painting, and I started to express all that I saw, thought, felt in pictures. It has remained that way until today.
Why are you interested in surrealist painting?
For me, surrealism is an "absolute reality," as André Breton already wrote in the Surrealist Manifesto at the beginning of the 20th century. He meant that he believed in a dissolution of dream and reality. I go one step further: I think there is no separation between these two worlds, although we all live, think, feel as if they exist. Everything is manifested in mind. Reality is a self-created construct. The iconography of surreal painting is quite similar to that of dreams or of real events. And this fascinates me every day anew.
Why did you decide to get a dance teacher's education instead of an art education after you graduated from high school?
Two things played a role: One was the influence of my parents. As I already mentioned, I come from a very practical home and from a small town in the South of Germany. Art was always considered to be something crazy and to be something you can't keep your head above water with that. Also, I was a ballroom dancer at the time I graduated from high school. A career as a professional dancer was obvious at that time. Moreover, it was connected with the dance school business, which is why I had the approval of my family.
While working as a dance teacher in Augsburg and Bonn, you created stage projects, sculptures, and installations for shows. Tell us about this experience.
I completed my training as a dance teacher in one of the largest dance schools in Germany. In addition to the daily dance classes, many parties, balls, and theme shows were organized. I was from the beginning in a team that took care of the visual equipment of the rooms or stages.
Since the rooms were very large, we always had to come up with something to create an effect for the audience. I, therefore, created many large sculptures of paper mache and, i.e., let them hang from the ceiling, or glued several rolls of wallpaper together, which I painted and hung on the walls. I did all this in addition to my normal work, and this was often very hard, as it was not unusual for me to work 18 or 20 hours a day.
Did dancing and the stage somehow affect the understanding of art and its place in it? Is your theatrical experience reflected in your works?
I would say that dancing is an extension of art in a physically experiential way. Art is usually limited to the visual and can only be experienced through reception. Dancing can be experienced directly, physically. In ballroom dancing, it can even be experienced together with a partner.
In my education, I also learned to be disciplined. This still influences my artistic work today. Music and rhythm are also essential components in video editing, which influences both my work as a professional video producer and my video art.
Today I also produce the music for all my video projects myself.
You never got an art education, but that doesn't stop you from making paintings. Do you think art education is a necessity? Is there something you can't learn?
Much of what I really wanted to learn, I taught myself autodidactically. That began with teaching myself to read and write as a child, even before I went to school, and later painting, so that one day I could paint like my role models. In high school, I had advanced art courses for several years.
Whether that's painting or video production, it's still the case today that I'm constantly learning and working to improve. If others read books, I read pictures. Every day, even before I get up, I look at many artists' paintings and study them, trying to figure out how they work and why one painting works while another is not captivating enough.
I am firmly convinced that someone who really wants to learn something can also do it on their own.
The path may be more difficult and take more time, but the acquired knowledge may be more firmly anchored, simply because you had to make more attempts than if a teacher tells you from the outside
what you have to do.
I don't mean to say that education is not useful. I could imagine an art student gaining more diverse knowledge than an autodidact gets by focusing on just one thing. But I could also imagine that an autodidact enjoys greater freedom because he is not influenced by the preferences of a professor.
After you finished your career as a dance teacher, you started studying philosophy and got your bearings in the media industry. Why did you decide to end your career as a dance teacher, and what attracted you to philosophy and the media industry?
My time as a dance teacher was intense, vivid, and turbulent. This profession offered a great opportunity to connect with many people and express me in a way that is not possible in other professions. However, I had reached a point in my life where I needed new creative and intellectual challenges. This had been announced a few years earlier because when I was in my early 20s, my parents died. This was a big break in my life and made me question many things and give my life a the new sense of meaning.
Since I had always been interested in philosophy, I began to study it. At the same time, I wanted to do something professionally that would give me a lot of creative freedom. So, alongside my studies, I worked in various TV productions, became a freelance sketch comedy writer, and continued my education in the areas of screenwriting, directing, camera and post-production.
According to your bio, we can conclude that you are the creator and director, you create your own world, and this is your reality. At what point did you realize that you wanted to be a director and a professional video producer? Do you manage to combine this with the visual arts?
When I worked in TV productions and later as a screenwriter, I realized how little creative freedom the individual crew members and especially the writers have, even though they work in a creative industry.
Everyone has to function at their post, not looking left or right. What is shown on TV is primarily decided by the editorial teams of the stations. For me, it was clear that I only have the greatest possible freedom of creation if I produce myself, and this works best in the area of business films. The development of the last years has shown how important the film sector is for companies, associations, or organizations, and creativity has become a very important asset. The diverse creativity I have as a painter and video artist can therefore be used very well in my professional context. On the other hand, the professional work also fertilizes my painting and video art.
How does the creation of a picture begin? Tell us a little about the creative process.
In every creative process, I think a lot. At the beginning of a picture, I combine associations, dreamlike and scenic things to express what is on my mind. Then I make notes on my smartphone, which I add to again and again. For example, I note objects, impressions from movies, commercials, photos I've seen, or colors I find appropriate in certain places. Everything fits together like a puzzle. When the list is long enough, and I feel that the picture has already formed inside me, I start painting directly without any pre-drawing. Sometimes, when a picture is very complex, like with "Paradigm Shift," I make sketches beforehand. But that is rather rarely the case.
How did you come to your style? Why internal and external reality?
The question of inner and outer reality has occupied me since childhood. I was about ten years old when I went on a trip by bicycle and arrived at a forest cemetery. Curious, I went into the mortuary, which was not locked. There I saw an old woman laid out. She had a smile on her face that I thought she was sleeping peacefully. I must have stood there for a few minutes, watching to see if she moved.
At some point, I went into the next room where an old man was lying on his coffin. His facial expression looked so discontented that I thought he was going to get up at any moment and complain about being dead.
The two people remained in my memory to this day, even though I didn't know them. They showed me that even at the moment of dying, everyone experiences their own inner reality, which cannot be perceived by others.
We can share our inner worlds with others only through the transmission of words, and in some cases, through telepathy. But still, no one knows how exactly I perceive a certain feeling, object, or color.
Conversely, I don't know it from others either. This is a phenomenon that can never be overcome. And that fascinates me to this day.
What kind of environment do you prefer to create in?
To paint pictures, I need a pleasant place where I can be alone. I like to listen to music, not mainstream, but instrumental music by unknown artists.
What is the message of your works? Do you have a goal to convey some thought to people through your works?
My paintings always have a message. I do not think that a work of art must give the viewer the freedom to make his own opinion. That is what I am an artist for. This is my language, my expression and I want to be heard or seen. When I talk to someone, I also want to be understood. For this reason, my paintings always have titles that give a hint of interpretation.
Who influenced your works the most? Can you list your favorite artists?
As I mentioned before, Salvador Dalí influenced me very early on and gave me the initial spark to become an artist.
However, the artist I admire most and who influenced me most today is Neo Rauch. Harry Lübke once said about him that he was perhaps the best painter in the world, and I see it in exactly the same way.
I study his paintings all the time, and the deeper I go, the more I realize how great what he puts on canvas is. He is a master of image and color composition. His iconography is admirable, hard to decode, probably because they are dream images, without a concrete intention, as he himself once said.
Another artist I admire very much is Jonas Burgert. I was allowed to see an exhibition of his in Bonn last year and was overwhelmed. It is a firework of paintings, seven-meter long paintings full of power and insanity.
There are a number of other artists I admire very much, such as Phyllida Barlow, Franz Ackermann, Louise Bourgois, Norbert Bisky, and so on ...
But not all of them influenced me.
At the moment, you are a professional video producer, artist, and video artist. Do you plan to learn new professions in the near future? If so, which ones?
Yes, of course, I am totally interested in stone sculpting and in the field of video in 3D animation.
Instagram Eva Ludwig @evaludwigart
Text by Lyubov Melnickowa @lumenicka