Briefly describe the work you do.
I’m working in a lot of different fields, such as graphic design, art books, photography, journalism and installations in public space.
Tell us about your background and how that has had an influence on your work and on you as an artist.
My parents always supported me in my creative way. So when I came to school, I parallel started to attend a private art school. There I learned a broad a variety of techniques. Looking back this definitely shaped my way of doing things, in any way. After graduation from school I studied graphic design at Burg Giebichenstein Art College in Halle in Germany. As they teach there both, art and design, also the graphic design department, where I studied, is in a way art. This means that the students are encouraged to search for their own questions and find answers to them, in both content and esthetics. This shaped my personality a lot. On the one hand it’s good, because I learned to think broad and outside the box. On the other hand I missed a bit straight tools, e.g. how to develop a corporate identity. But the advantages of this sort of education definitely overweigh the disadvantages.
The concept of the artist studio has a broad range of meanings in contemporary practice. Artists may spend much of their time in the actual studio, or they may spend very little time in it. Tell us about your individual studio practice and how it differs from or is the same as traditional notions of “being in the studio.”
Until now I never had something like an own studio. During my school education I used to work at home in my room. This was a bit difficult sometimes, e.g. when I started to work with spray cans.
During my studies I usually worked in the college. Right now I have a scholarship in Bremen. We are a team of 7 scholars and work together in one studio. After this I’ll move to Leipzig. Maybe that’s the first time to set up an own studio.
What roles do you find yourself playing that you may not have envisioned yourself in when you first started making art?
I don’t really consider myself an artist or a designer. I like the term creator. As such I’m always walking through the fog between art and design. Depending on which side I actually am, there are different tasks. Right now I’m working in a team with six other people. This is on the one side very enriching, but also challenging, e.g. concerning social issues. And one disadvantage is that I don’t find much time and energy left to work on my own stuff. But at least I find some time to apply for several open calls, scholarships, artist-in-residencies and competitions. This is something which I never thought about when considering working in any creative branch – that there is so much paperwork to do. If you want to survive in this business, you need to spin constantly and persistently.
When do you find is the best time to make art? Do you set aside a specific time everyday or do you have to work whenever time allows?
As mentioned, right now I don’t really have time or energy to work on my own stuff. But whenever I get the opportunity, e.g. with an artist-in-residence, an exhibition or a festival, I like to work on something specific for a short amount of time.
How has your work changed in the past five years? How is it the same?
I think what stayed the same is the fun and joy that drives my work. What’s new is a social matter. During my studies I became more and more aware of my role as a designer within the society. I want to have a positive impact within my means.
How have people such as family, friends, writers, philosophers, other artists or even pop icons had an impact on the work you do?
My family and close friends had and still have definitely a strong impact on my work. I like to show my work to them, get feedback and critic – and keep working.
Have you ever been pulled in the direction of a pursuit other than being an artist? What are your other interests?
No, not really. Already when I was a small child, I started to sew little leather pockets, inspired by my interest in Indian culture. So, I always felt the need to express myself. It’s just the format that changes from time to time.
I consider myself neither a designer nor as an artist. I call myself a designer. I am talking about communication, not about categories; Dialogue rather than DIN. This can be stimulated both by text messages in poster or book form as well as temporary installations in public spaces. Allen is my work in common a playful component. The experiment is more important than the stringent way from the initial idea to the final implementation. To visualize my respective idea is not important whether I digital or analog, with pen or brush, marker or watercolor, photograph or moving image, caution tape or cable ties, tacks or magnets, copier or printing techniques work. When working in the public space, I feel just as well as on your home computer.
All images copyright of the artist and used with their permission.