[VIDEO]: Darren Pearson Vignette April 22, 2013
Artist Spot Interview | Kurt Von Behrmann April 04, 2013
AS When did you first start creating art?
Between semesters while I was working on my Master’s Degree at Cranbrook, I spent the break at my Grandmother’s home. Midway through my visit, I stumbled across a box. It was filled with assorted papers. What differentiated this collection of papers from any other box of was that every single page was filled with scrawls.
Pencil marks in assorted random patterns covered each piece of paper. Curious as to the origins of this box, I queried my Grandmother. Without hesitation, she replied, “When you were a baby you sketched on any piece of paper you could find.” She continued by informing me that before I could walk, or talk, I was preoccupied with mark making on paper.
AS What forms, mediums and techniques have you utilized in creating art?
The early works were exclusively drawings. Over time, my work would find expressions on canvas. This was during my first foray into higher education at Penn State. Once I had mastered the basics of paintings, I left figurative work for abstraction. Something about the format demanded that I expand to new areas. My works ventured into multimedia creations. Inspiration came from sculpture. Those first works allowed me to have a new venue, and new materials. From wood to wire to three dimensional sculptural elements, it would be in various mediums that my art would find ultimately find expression.
AS How have you been inspired or what is the driving force of your creativity?
Finding ways or inner thoughts fuels my work. The desire to give expression to ideas through a visual means is an impetus that propels me forward. Excavating meaning, creating deeper more profound work, it is very much about locating visual means to communicate so that others can feel and see what I have experienced. This is as important in propelling the work forward as the desire to simply create shapes, forms, colors and negative space. There are specific intellectual content to the work. This is a given with any work that goes beyond the norm. However, working formally often provides meaning in and of itself. Often just working with materials is sufficient to drive a work to completion.
AS Which artists have directly influenced your passion or style?
For the sake of brevity, I will just list the most recent. If I did not, there would that would span the distance between New York to London. A number of artists have left an impression. The most lasting, and the most recent, have been those listed below.
Jun Kaneko, Alberto Giacometti, Egon Schiele, Gustav Klimt, Friedensreich Hundertwasser, Eva Hesse, Ruth Lampkins, Käte Kollwitz, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Louise Bourgeois, George Grosz, Francis Bacon, Ed Hamilton and Richard Diebenkorn.
AS What art is hanging up on your walls?
It is a collection that is very different from my work, but is some cases not so much. It can best be described as eclectic and very personal. This work includes the work of Melany Terranova, Glynn Gomez, Michele Richards and several of my own paintings. My wish is to obtain work by Ruth Lampkins and Leon Verhoven.
AS Does music influence your process?
It is rare I do not have music playing when I create. Usually, I try to find music that fits my mood and themes for my work. When I was in the studio a few months ago I was greatly inspired by the music of Amy Mann. The recording that impressed me was titled, “The Forgotten Arm.” Mann had set these incredibly melodic haunting music set to sharp, incisive and very dark imagery. The combination of powerful graceful music in contrast to deeply felt songs about addiction, loneliness and emotional disconnects left a strong impression. It was such a powerful mix, I contacted Mann’s management to see if it were possible for me to create a suite of works connected to her songs. I was not the only visually based creative inspired by Mann. The director of the film “Magnolia,” Paul Thomas Anderson, wrote the script based on Mann’s music.
AS What is art?
This is a question that perplexes artists, the public and pundits. A simple answer is context and intention. If the desire of the creator is to create fine art and the work is placed in a fine art context, such as an art gallery, studio, art publication, art web site or alternate art space, then one has to consider the work a piece of art. Usually when someone asks if a work is art or not, the real question connects to if the work has value. The question is not about categories, but quality. I believe it was Dorothy Parker who may have said, “The word art is not elastic.”
AS Who is the artist?
An artist is someone who determinedly, stubbornly and passionately pursues visions irrespective of the obstacles.
An artist, one with even a gram of integrity, sets out to make the best possible work. Overcoming fiscal problems, strain, stress, fear and life itself, art is both demanding, rewarding, frustrating and something that defines you as much as you define it. An artist is someone who communicates a vision and wishes to do so without compromise.
See Kurt's full collection here.