Apr 21, 2010

By Ben Lewis

1 If you weren’t an artist, what else would you be?

If I weren’t an artist I probably would have ended in a gutter, around my 30th year after a period of heavy drug and alcohol abuse and cheap prostitution. This all would happen after a failed career in the royalty gossip journalism, because it was only one magazine about this subject that invited me for an interview after I left the school of journalism beginning in the the eighties. Nowadays I am very happy that they didn’t choose me for the job!

2 Name 3 of your least favorite artists.

Three so called art photographers that need a kick in the butt are: Wolfgang Tielmans, Tracy Moffat and Peter Beard, Although their work was a kind of interesting, they all are for years not producing anything renewing anymore. Their work needs a lot of talking to make it look like something.
The emperors new clothes!

3. Anytime, any place – which artist’s body would you most like to inhabit?

Although I would like to keep my own dick, for the rest I would like to have the body of Michelangelo’s David. I know he is not an artist, but only a piece of art, but I ignore that detail.
If this is impossible, I would choose to transform into German fashion designer Bernard Wilhelm, years ago I once kissed with him and I touched a fantastic sexy body.

4 What is your favourite ‘ism’?

Humanism, is my favourite ‘ism’, I have the opinion that all people should have the right to develop themselves without any force from the outside or ‘above’. I believe in life before death!
That has to be celebrated and explored by every individual, in his or her highest personal way, without hurting any other creature.

5 What was the most intelligent thing that someone said or wrote about your work?

“I want to buy your work”, this is the biggest compliment one can receive.

6. And the dumbest?

“Neat paintings you make”

7 Which artists would you most like to rip off, sorry, I mean appropriate as a critique of originality and authorship?

I admire really the work of a lot of artists, but ones that make me always smile, are mostly the ones with a strong attachment to the pop art, like Andy Warhol, Jeff Koons and Damien Hirst. I love their humor.

Beside of them I have always be inspired by the great Italian directors from after the second world war: Passolini, Fellini and Visconti. As a photographer I also learned a lot from Robert Mapplethorpe, George Platt Lynes, Richard Avedon, Guy Bourdin, and Irving Penn.

8 Do you care what your art costs? State your reasons!

Yes I do care, because one can always go up with his prizes but rarely go down! Therefore I think it is essential to know what your work is really worth. Mistakes can be deathly for your career.

9 What are the three big ideas that you would like your work to express?

Three ideas? that is a lot, but I will try: express in the most honest way my individual feelings I have at the moment I create my work, celebrate our freedom of speech, celebrate individualism.

10 Are you a political artist?

No, I think too outspoken political art looks ugly and boring, but I also dislike empty, self-centred art.

11 How do you start the process of making work?

Stretched out on my couch, half asleep watching crappy television series, after dinner.

12 What next?

A short movie about a girl end of the 19th century that discovers she is an actress in a costume drama. Nobody believes her and they want to lock her up in the madhouse.

13 If Moma and the Tate and the Pompidou wanted to acquire one of your works each, which would you want them to have?

Moma: Installation of Dusk, all pictures, the DVD (3,5min) and statue of the black bird (2meters high) Tate: Installation of Moving Target, all 16 pictures and two plasma screens with looping movies of morphs. Pompidou: Installation of “Le dernier Cri”(“the Latest Fashion), 4 still life’s, one double portrait and one movie of 4,5 min.

14. What is your favourite cheese?

Farmers cheese from the north part of the Netherlands, so called Beemster Kaas.

15. What’s next for you?

A wonderful spring and summer, with a lot of beach.