Interview: Silas Schletterer

silas-schletter_01Image courtesy of Silas Schletterer

Interview: Silas Schletterer

 

Luca Curci talks with the artist Silas Schletterer during FUTURE LANDSCAPES of Borders Festival in Venice.

Silas Schletterer was born and raised in Middelburg, The Netherlands. At the age of 19 he moved to Rotterdam to study Illustration at the Willem de Kooning academy of art, from which he graduated in 2000. After a couple of years of working as an illustrator, he decided to follow his heart and started focussing on his autonomous work. Today he makes a living as a contemporary artist.Inspired by films and fashion photography, he chooses young women and men to star in his work. The paintings he makes tell a story. Stories about beautiful, but lonely beings in quest for perfection and happiness.

The composition of his paintings often tends to be cinematographic, and nature claims a central role. Silas was a member of Dutch art collective Antistrot (1997 -2010). This renowned group of artists did shows all over the world (Tokyo, Miami, Dublin,..) including two solo exhibitions in New York and San Francisco. Currently Silas is one of the 6 members of the art collective KAMP HORST, established after the demise of its predecessor Antistrot. The main focus of its six members lies on making group paintings on both canvases and walls, but illustration and design also make up a big part of KAMP HORST’s body of work.

 

silas-schletter_02Image courtesy of Silas Schletterer

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Luca Curci – Can you talk about your artistic work? Which are your inspirations?

Silas Schletterer – It truly can be anything… While watching a movie I can get inspired by the compostion of a certain scene, so if that happens I pause the film and make a picture of the screen. I can ride my bike through the city of Rotterdam and stop to make a photo of, for instance, the sun breaking through the clouds. Fashion can inspire me. I follow a lot of blogs, websites and models on Instagram. This is also where I get my models from. I save the photos that I love on my computer and when need a character for a new painting I cut up different parts of their faces and build up a new model with all these different parts, so the model is a distinct person created by me. This way I can create a unique identity. The characters get a name and a background story while making the painting. I follow a lot of nature photographers (for instance livingitrural, huseyintaskin) on Instagram too. Just like the pictures of models, I save the photos that I love and cut them up, so I can use them as a background in my work. Lately I get inspired a lot by traditional Japanese art too. I totally love the old woodblock prints. The colors, the clothes and fabrics and the precision of how it is drawn and cut simply amazes me.

 

silas-schletter_03Image courtesy of Silas Schletterer

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L. C. – Are your artworks focused on a specific theme?

S. S. – I often use recurring subjects in my work like the relation between humans and animals. Nature, or what’s left of it (the composition is often set in an apocalyptic world), claims a central role. The characters have a quest, a goal to fulfill, traveling the desolated wasteland in search for other souls, surviving a planet we used to call Earth. These are just stories in my head, but the cool thing is that people can always create their own story when they take a good look at my paintings.

 

L. C. – What is your creative process like?

S. S. – It depends. When I start with an oil painting I make a digital sketch in Photoshop. But sometimes I just use a pencil sketch. While painting there will always be parts that won’t work, so they change during the process. I have lots of paintings that have a whole other painting underneath it. I like to experiment too and use different materials to work with. Especially when I do a portraits, I feel more free to use raw brushstrokes and use stamping techniques.

 

silas-schletter_004Image courtesy of Silas Schletterer

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L. C. – Did you style change over the years? How?

S. S. – Yes, it changed a lot. I got better at painting and it feels like I am still learning with each painting that I make. I started painting with oil paint only 5 years ago, so… still a lot to discover. My work got way more mature along the way too, I guess.

 

L. C. – What do you think about the concept of this festival? In which way did inspire you?

S. S. – I really like all the styles and diversity of the artists that are participating. This way the festival is accessible to everyone.

 

silas-schletter_05Image courtesy of Silas Schletterer

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L. C. – What role does the artist have in society? And the art?

S. S. – A very important role. Although there are always lots of people that do not understand art and therefore think art is unnecessary and a waste of money. But the world would be so dull without it and people would be off balance if art did not exist.

 

L. C. – Do you think It’s LIQUID Group can represent an opportunity for artists?

S. S. – Of course. People need to see art and It’s LIQUID Group creates a stage for the artists.

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