Who is Florian Raditsch?
Florian Raditsch ia a contemporary painter, born and raised in central California. He first studied art at the University of Art and Design in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and he then moved to Vienna, where he graduated from the class of Judith Eisler at the University of Applied Arts in Austria.
Having crossed paths in the past, we reconnected at the Parallel Art Fair that was able to take place during more lenient restrictive measures in September of this year. When we decided to create the featured artist section on our art platform- It was clear from the start that we would ask to feature him.
His work is exceptional, his responses to my interview questions so insightful. But let me say no more, find out for yourself.
When and how did you realize that you are an artist?
I really would not say that there was any moment of realization. I have been obsessed with matters of aesthetics and my visual surroundings as long as I can remember - also, I have been drawing and making images ever since I could hold a pencil or brush in my hand.
I was also deeply involved with music from a young age, playing the violin - often in front of live audiences. Being as curious as I am, I pursued many disciplines, creating small worlds and experiences, something that remains a part of my practice today.
Did the environment you grew up in have an influence on your work?
Yes, it certainly did and still does. The two worlds in which I grew up were vastly different from one another.
On one side I had my childhood and youth, living on a ranch in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada (that’s middle of nowhere California for everyone else), and on the other, a family of Austrian immigrants in the US that was steeped in the history and cultural world of Europe at the turn of the century.
Was your family supportive?
To a degree. I was not discouraged to draw or make photographs or anything else. Certain individuals around me, such as my best friend growing up were very encouraging and engaging as far as art was concerned, and we worked constantly at developing our craft.
Although I cursed it at the time, I was mostly homeschooled as a child, which allowed me the time and energy to focus on creative endeavours and to learn the handiwork.
I believe what helped most of all was that several well-known artists and musicians existed in the family in the past, which, for my family lent some credibility to what I was doing.
How important is Instagram for you?
It is difficult to gauge the importance of Instagram for what I do. I love it because I love images. In that way I am able to see a whole lot that I probably would never see, especially as far as contemporary art is concerned.
I use it to stay informed to a degree and to share images that I deem beautiful or interesting.
You grew up in the States? Where did you live?
Yes, I did, in Central California, near the southern gate of Yosemite National Park. It is a place few people in Europe can really imagine.
It was the wild west basically, and it still is today - a wild west with internet and smartphones, albeit often with no decent cellular reception.
It is a place of cowboys and grand nature and the Miwok and Mono and Chukchansi people, of wildfires and rattlesnakes, hippies and counterculture, cattle rustlers, fantastic vistas, intellectual hermits but also far-gone poverty, murderers and conmen, and even the Klan, which was still quite present there when I was young.
It is a place of short, wildflower-abundant springtimes and dry scorching summers, the iconic images of Ansel Adams, endless landscapes, loneliness and strange occurrences, and a place in which it is sometimes hard to determine the decade or even century at any given moment.
Also, before moving to Vienna I lived in the Southwest (New Mexico) with all its desert colors, and in dusky Alabama in the Deep South.
How did you land in Vienna?
Coming to Vienna was really the logical completion of a circle. I had studied art in California and in New Mexico previously. At a point, I had to leave the US to start over completely, and Vienna and studying art here seemed like the right choice.
Also, my father’s side of the family lives in Austria and It was a familiar place, since I had often visited as a child - and was enchanted by the history and architecture and culture
How does studying art here compare to studying for instance in LA?
Originally, I intended to study art near LA at CalArts (California Institute of the Arts) in Valencia. This was a dream I shared with my best friend which never came to pass.
Instead I moved to the high desert city of Santa Fe in New Mexico, a place were Georgia O'keeffe is still omnipresent.
An art education in the US is quite different - much more openminded in a way, but also more academic in other ways - and with a set curriculum, and a focus on technical ability.
I did not perceive the overbearing tribalism of classes and professors as is common in Austria.
What is the most important thing you learned coming here?
As far as art is concerned, I believe the most important thing I picked up from my education in Vienna was an understanding of the conceptual side of art and the critical analysis thereof.
No, because I have learned so much from all of my experiences here.
I hear you are heading back to the U.S, are you going back home? will you be passing through or just checking in for a bit to move on to new adventures away from home?
For now I am not headed home really, but I do intend to spend more time in the US again. I will be in Washington DC for three months beginning in April for a residency at STABLE, however as soon as that is over I have to hurry back and be present for the setup of my show that will be opening in Innsbruck with the Tyrolean State Museum at the end of summer.
The show is primarily about identity and will bring together the two worlds in which I grew up and many pertinent topics associated with those worlds, one of which is climate, and more specifically wildfire.
Much of the area in which I spent my childhood was turned to ashes this summer, when the Creek Fire, the largest in California history swept through. Remnants of this event will even be in the show, and are currently on route (in crates) from California.
Describe how you see your work in one or two sentences?
My work is multi-facetted. Mostly I have been making charcoal drawings in a technique of my own invention. These are usually rather large and intricate and obsessive as far as production is concerned, bus also direct, often surreal, personal, and poetic.
Most of the work, be it a charcoal piece or another medium is representational in style, but sometimes it becomes more abstract, and rarely, entirely so. As far as emotion is concerned, my work has been described as mysterious or surreal.
When do you do your best work?
Most definitely in the solitude of my studio, probably in the morning hours, as I am most focussed at this time. Though I believe I am much more creative during later hours. I work every day and do not interact with people for long spells of time which allows me full concentration on my work.
This way of working has also proven ideal for Covid lockdowns. The mood in my studio is often dictated by the subject matter with which I am engaged - and probably also the music I am listening to.
What is your creative process?
My process varies. Usually it begins with a subject that I delve into, of which a type of obsession develops, which is in turn obsessively translated to the medium of my choice.
A lot of planning goes into the works, but I normally end up deviating from the original plan at some point, because I need to surprise myself as well.
My influences are the experiences and visions I carry with me from the past as well as the present. History also plays an important role, so far as that history is relevant to the present moment in which the world finds itself.
The themes of my work come from the natural world, the realm of science, history as mentioned, and my experiences.
Which keywords describe you and your art?
I would also say that my sensibility for art is in a way quite American, though also informed by the history of European art - much like my person. Keywords: Drawing, Charcoal, Pastel, Installation, narrative, meteorites, identity, sociopolitical, nature, space, architecture, parallels, phenomena
Florian Raditsch (b. 1987) is an artist born and raised in central California. He studied art at the University of Art and Design in Santa Fe, New Mexico and graduated from the class of Judith Eisler at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna in Austria in 2015.
Raditsch works in many mediums, most notably with charcoal, creating charcoal drawings in a highly unique and deliberate technique.
Much of Raditsch’s works center around the theme of identity as well as many sociopolitical issues, such as the subject of the US/Mexico border.
Recent Exhibitions include:
Legal Aliens at the Instituto Cultural de Mexico in Vienna,
Ticket to the Moon at the Kunsthalle Krems and Der Mond.
Sehnsucht, Kunst und Wissenschaft at the Naturhistorisches Museum Wien.
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A very big thank you to the so incredibly talented Florian and his awesome work.