Alejo Schatzky – Buenos Aires, Argentina

Cerro Torre Photography. Printed on cotton paper. 80 x 120 cms. Year 2015

Cerro Torre
Photography. Printed on cotton paper.
80 x 120 cms.
Year 2015

Briefly describe the work you do. 

I work with photography. My main subject is landscape. But I prefer to create new geographies rather than recreate reality. For me, photography is not a device to document things as they are but a tool to show things as I like them to be.

I work with loss of quality, turning every possible problem into an expressive tool. For that, I use a combination of old cameras, out of date films, odd developing and fire and chemicals to degrade the “originals”. Finally I use a digital camera to create a file that can be printed on different materials. Each step of the process adds a bit of distortion to the final image.

Tell us about your background and how that has had an influence on your work and on you as an artist.

I didn’t study photography in any way. I barely know the work of “the great photographers”.

When I was a kid, I was first attracted by the slides my father used to make during his trips. I can recognize there my interest for landscape and photography –and for travels as well. Later I discovered Andrei Tarkovsky’s films, where I can recognize my main visual influences –along with the painters I used to love in my childhood: Bruegel and some of the Impressionists.

256, from the series 365 Project Photography. Printed on cotton paper. 80 x 120 cms. Year 2013

256, from the series 365 Project
Photography. Printed on cotton paper.
80 x 120 cms.
Year 2013

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.”

I work at home. My studio occupies different spaces of the house, mainly my “office” (where I have my computer, my light box and the camera I use for the final process of my work) the kitchen (where I play with chemicals and fire) and almost all the rest of the house, where I have my prints.

A great part of my art practice takes place outdoors.

What roles do you find yourself playing that you may not have envisioned yourself in when you first started making art?

I play almost all the roles that one can imagine art circuit is about. Sometimes this is tiring.

Maybe I didn’t expect to work at self-promotion and selling in such an active way.

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?

I work every day in my art. This doesn’t mean I’m creating art pieces all the time. It takes me a lot of time to develop a series of photos: I think about it, I make tests, I reflect on them, I let the series grow, I edit, etc.

Sometimes, this process progresses without a tangible production and then the artworks appear all together.

Verano Photography. Printed on cotton paper. 60 x 60 cms. Year 2007

Verano
Photography. Printed on cotton paper.
60 x 60 cms.
Year 2007

How has your work changed in the past five years? How is it the same?

As my work is very experimental, I constantly find myself trying new things. In that sense, even if the results are very different, something that has not changed in these years is the process of research and experimentation.

One thing that has changed is the type of image that I am creating. Five years ago I was doing photography with soft tones and muted colors. But now the images are sharper and colorful, as a result of the chemical treatments that I am using.

How have people such as family, friends, writers, philosophers, other artists or even pop icons had an impact on the work you do?

The greatest impact on my work has always been music. It’s hard to explain but it is. I think music is the most direct of all arts, and the one that involves the highest level of sensitivity and emotion, and that has always been a great influence.

Have you ever been pulled in the direction of a pursuit other than being an artist? What are your other interests? 

I have many interests: music and literature are the main of all. But I also like woodworking and agriculture. And especially travel. I think in any of these areas everybody can have an artistic attitude.

About

Alejo Schatzky headshotI wish it was enough, so the viewer could see my work without bias or preconceptions.

I don’t believe in a formal curriculum. If its function is to legitimize the work of the artist, it will take then wrong way, because what someone has studied -at least in my case- has little to do with what they learned, and a collection of awards and exhibitions is no guarantee of quality. The only possible legitimization is the artwork itself.

Now, if the intent of the curriculum is to show the aesthetic and sensitive formation of the artist, something can be said.

I remember as a foundational moment the discovery, at the age of four years, of two albums: The Beatles’ Rubber Soul and Vinicius in La Fusa (Vinicius de Moraes). There I can identify the beginning of the formation of my taste and the search direction. The rest are the findings, mostly linked to music, that created in me the need to tell a story that today finds its translation into a visual language. Because one reproduces itself in every act that performs: I take pictures as I play guitar or knead bread.

From those findings I recover the preludes of Bach my mother played on the piano every day of my childhood, the guitar of Juan Falú, Bruegel’s paintings, the work of David Hockney, Sarah Moon photos, the films of Tarkovsky and Goddard, and the novels of Julio Cortázar and Daniel Moyano.

From sharing with like-minded people all my knowledge has arisen, and also the possibility of finding what belonged to me. I recognize there my biggest influences and my best learning.

At the studio

alejoschatzky.com.ar/

All images copyright of the artist and used with their permission.

 

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About 365Artists/365Days

The purpose of this project is to introduce its readership to a diverse collection of art that is being produced at the national and international level. Our goal is to engage the public with information regarding a wide array of creative processes, and present the successes and failures that artists face from day to day. The collaborators hope that this project will become a source for exploring and experiencing contemporary art in all its forms.
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