Paper-cuts are a really interesting media, although it might look a pretty flat media at first glance, the layers and details of paper can cast shadows that enhance the artwork, creating depth and visual distortions to the viewers. Max Gärtner is an artist based in Berlin, Germany whose work is extremely detailed and delicate, we had the pleasure to have a little chat with him.
You can reach Max on the following links:
1. First of all I would like to thank you for doing this interview, it's an honour for us to present more about you to our readers. I would like to start asking you about when your interest for illustration and paper-cut art started?
It's my pleasure.
I have worked with paper cuts for one and a half years. I started drawing as a kid, which is not necessarily something special, as far as I know practically all kids draw - I just never stopped doing it.
I think I was always talented with a pencil. As far as I remember, I became aware of my passion for creative expression when I was a teenager. It was out of the question to do something other than visual art professionally, except for maybe music.
2) Which artists do you use as reference?
Egon Schiele, Gustav Klimt, Moebius, Walton Ford, Eduardo Chillida, Alejandro Jodorowsky, Katsuhiro Otomo and many more .
What inspires me most at the moment is my 'inspiration map' on my desktop, which is full of pictures from the internet. I don't even know most of the artists' names, but each of the pictures fascinates me in its own way. Recently, I was thinking about putting the map online. So far I haven't shown it to anyone.
3. Your style is quite influenced by realism and nature. How did you develop this style and how would you describe it?
The hand-drawn line is very important to me, it is the basis of my work. And I have a passion for forms and contours. One day I started illustrating volumes with lines and I have brought it - at least I think - to an extreme. I would call my style a graphically abstracted portrayal of reality, and by that also nature of course.
4) Describe us a bit about your creative process while creating a piece
I always start with a pencil sketch, then I draw the prefigured volumes with a marker or fineliner. Lately I've been cutting them out with a scalpel, but I am in search of new techniques. The basis remains the hand-drawn line. This probably won't change anytime soon.
It's really hard to make a living as an artist, tell us more about the hardships and sacrifices you have made in order to get this far.
If one is out to make a lot of money or to have financial stability, then the path I have taken certainly isn't the right option. I would rather answer the question from the opposite perspective. If I had not followed my passion, the price I would have had to pay would have been way too high. Namely a life in which I could not, or could barely, unfold my soul creatively. It is difficult for me to imagine such a life as a fulfilled one.
6) How do you describe your daily routine?
I try again and again to create one, but I am never very good at following it. There are work phases in which I barely leave the studio for weeks, and phases in which I don't even think about taking a pen in my hand. When I'm in the middle of a project, I plan my time so that I can achieve my desired goal. When I'm not working on something concrete, I still try to respond to everything that stimulates my mind and to follow everything that inspires me.
The only routine that I'm following right now is my morning meditation. Generally I have decided to enjoy all aspects of my life and to appreciate existence itself. I have long enough worried every day, it's about time to stop that.
7) Being a multimedia artist, please tell us what's your favorite media to work with? Why?
I wouldn't necessarily call myself a multimedia artist anymore. Although I have illustrated and animated for years on and off - I now focus on making exhibitions. The basis of my work is always, as already mentioned, hand-drawing. If I use programs, it's only Photoshop. I prefer working with my hands as I believe that this is the best form to express my individual creative personality.
8) Tell us five lessons you believe are really important for every artist.
A.) One should never forget the reason why one has chosen this path: A life in which one lives out and expresses passion and through that finds him or herself. Success and positive feedback is certainly encouraging, but if you value it too highly, you can easily get lost in it or lose the connection to the 'real'. Or go under.
B.) "Respond to every call that excites your spirit." (Rumi) Inspiration is constant and everywhere, staying open and receptive to it is incredibly important.
C.) Artists should not identify themselves exclusively through their work, it is only a single expression of the self. A snapshot of the soul.
D.)"Everything you want is on the other side of fear." (Jack Canfield) Listen to your feelings, your subconsciousness is much wiser than you'll ever be. If something feels good, a rational explanation is superfluous. The best things happen when you first jump and then think.
E.)"In the end only three things matter : How much you loved, how gently you lived and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you." (Buddha)
9) Tell us five websites that you like to visit.
10) Thanks again for your time, please leave a final message for the ones who are starting out on this kind of business.
Every artist has something unique. In my opinion, the task is to find the medium and the form of expression that best expresses this. If you're trying to represent something that you are not, this will never be expressed. Artistic technical skills such as dealing with anatomy, perspective, color theory or learning programs, are increasing the scope of possibilities and the scope to manifest one's creative individuality, but they are not necessarily needed. And they are not everything. I know many artists who seem to have little or no skills in this purely technical sense, but they express in their works such an incredible power, that I have no other choice than to bow down before them.