Who is Stefan Wiens?
Stefan Wiens is a contemporary German artist living and working in Hamburg.
He studied art at the College of Fine Arts in Hamburg under Anselm Reyle.
The artist creates wonderful abstract paintings, drawings and larger than life sculptures. Enjoy!
Stefan Wiens' work ranging from drawing and painting to sculpture is using everyday motives from pop culture, subculture and art history and transferring them into something new.
Born in Visbek in 1986, the artist lives and works in Hamburg, where he studied at Hochschule für Bildende Künste Hamburg in Anselm Reyle's class.
Wiens has an interest in an area of culture which includes rock and metal mythology as well as superficial things from TV and computer visualizations.
His works are often made out of profound material like styrofoam, chipboard and jersey - a material „real“ sculptors would not usually use.
In combination with the shallow motives, this often creates a feeling of unease, mixed with a certain humor and lightness.
His cartoon sculptures like Sponge Bob, Donald, Hulk or Batman measure larger than life dimensions.
They are often combined with several cut outs (shaped paintings) on the wall like Bats or Darth Vader. Wiens' Jersey pictures are a comment on minimal, color field painting.
He finds these fabrics on Turkish markets or in tailor shops and pushes the fabric over the wooden stretchers of the canvas to blur the fabric pattern and thereby generating a “psychedelic vibe“.
Wiens' abstract paintings are inspired by record covers from several bands.
The artist remixes the motif by highly reducing the forms to their basics and then applys decorative „ice cream“ colors – often countered with a nasty grey brush thinner.
Wiens work was shown in Hamburg and Berlin multiple times.
We asked the artist some questions and this is what he answered:
when/how did you find out you are an artist?
I started drawing and carving things in wood as a child. I've always worked with electric saws from early on.
Later I did an education as a carpenter before I attended art school. I've always been fascinated by pop cartoons and pop cultural phenomenons.
Im not sure if I really love or hate them – I guess it's a mix of both.
Usually when I make art I focus on things I don't like at first, like cheesy, kitsch motives, Jeff Koons, or artificial material, like garbage, jersey and styrofoam.
I'm just interested in the idea of creating something out of nothing.
I'm the bad Jeff Koons :-).
Later on I usually start loving the things I hated first.
Furthermore I think the pop symbols in my sculptures and in my shaped work serve to paint my vision of reality.
They are an interpretation of how I'm seeing the world and what surrounds me.
Second, I've always been interested in dark forms of satire and humor, I guess that started when I read dystopian novels at school.
During my art school time students made art that „looked good“ just to sell it. What I mean by this is that it seemed to me that the idea of selling came first.
But for me primarily its about the concept and the inner confrontation with oneself and ones work. Selling is part of a process.
I've always been fascinated by artists who don't seem to care about the market to create their own vision.
Maybe that's the reason why I'm so obsessed by crappy material, it's my way of rebelling against shallow, super flat high-art.
What is your relationship with Instagram?
I love Insta, I think it's a great way to connect with other artists. I was off the art scene for 3 years, because I was fed up and I needed to rethink my vision and prove if that's really what I want to give the world.
Furthermore, it's sometimes hard to do bulky, uncomfortable art in an art world, where everything is super sexy and superficial.
You have to stay true to yourself.
Insta helps me a lot to get feedback. It helped me to reconnect with all my colleagues and friends from art school who are now spread all over the world.
where, when, how do you work best?
I guess I work best, when I'm not emotionally involved in things.
When I use these motives like an emoji, I'm usually connected to or excited about, I tend to have a natural instinct when I work with it – interpret it.
It then serves as a filter to make clear my way of seeing the world. Usually I start working in the morning.
I write Emails and do social media, before I go to the studio and for a couple of hours just look at my work and think about it.
It's just like I'm waiting for the artwork to interact back. Then I have an idea – it could be another emoji after the one I did yesterday, or it could be an abstract painting that I do just to enjoy myself, which gives me a new idea for color and pattern combinations.
I usually then work the whole day and again take some time to rethink my days work in the evening.
where, how do you usually get inspired?
I get inspired by other artists' work I see on social media or in galleries. Also I get inspired by things that first may seem uncomfortable, like kitsch material or bad art.
And I like cheesy, stupid motives like emojis or Sponge Bob. Funny enough, these are things most people in society r e a l l y love.
It's hard to name some because I usually like every artist when I start connecting with their work and their lives. Who inspired me? I remember my first exhibition with my parents at Kunsthalle Emden.
There was a big retrospective of the german expressionists like Nolde, Kirchner and Schmidt Rottluff. I really loved the „aggressive“ way they were painting: I guess I adopted that in my work. Also I loved Kirchner's sculptures.
The second artist I was influenced by was Georg Baselitz. I believe although I'm using American pop, my work is still very german.
It's not giving answers, it's questioning. At the moment I look at all kinds of work and get inspired by it.
I'm sure you want me to name Joyce Pensato and Katherine Bernardt – funny enough I hated their work at first.
But now I love their work, as you might guess :-).
My way of thinking about art is not selling at first, it's about putting something out that I'm feeling and hopefully inspiring other people.
So here it's not relevant to name „big“ artists or small artists. It's about what gets me inspired. That could be either Sterling Ruby or Gabrielle Graessle, whom I met recently on insta.
What are your newest and current projects?
Currently I'm working on a series of name paintings. I always loved Josh Smith's name paintings, but I found out its the idea behind it that I love.
It's again a very uncool, cheesy statement to just use your name as a reason to paint.
On first sight that seems to avoid any form of statement or communication or even painting, but I think in my case it goes further. I'm very interested in demystifying painting and art in general. I use tape to glue my name and then apply several layers of color to the paper.
I like that idea of spreading my ugly name around. :-)
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A big thank you to Stefan for sharing his story and awesome work with us here!