JOHN REUSS

1CH.89: If you were to categorize or describe the style of your artwork, what would it be and why?

JR: I see my style as an eclectic mix based on historic and contemporary elements. As an example I blend what you would call classical technique with very contemporary use of graphic shapes. I use a mix of abstraction, realism and surrealism to achieve the expression I’m after. I guess you could label my work as “Existential Surrealism” or “Psychological Realism” – either way my work is about what goes on in the inside of people.

CH.89: Where do you draw your inspiration from?

Inspiration is quite difficult to explain I think – mainly because inspiration isn’t a fixed phenomenon coming from a single well-defined source. Inspiration is an amalgamation of input really. That being said, I get a lot of inspiration from words – from reading books, listening to the lyrics of music, things people say, etc. My own inner life is a place I draw a lot of inspiration from also.

CH.89: Can you talk a little bit about what your creative thought process is like when starting a new project/ piece of artwork?

JR: I never make sketches or plan a work as such. For me it is all about the process of creating a piece, as opposed to drawing a sketch and filling in colors – my brain doesn’t work that way. So when I do start up a new painting it’s usually out of a need to express something – it’s pretty much the only way I know to get stuff out of my head! I’ll typically draw directly onto the canvas and then paint on top of that, then sketch on top again, and keep repeating it until I’m satisfied, adding and removing parts and painting stuff over in the process. My ultimate goal is to get lost in my work – I’ve realized that the moment my work gets good is the moment where I’m completely lost in layers and figures – where everything sort of melts together and I’m just responding to what the painting tells me.

CH.89: Is there anything in particular that you would want people to take from your artwork?

JR: I can’t say I have a well-defined message that I want to communicate. I’m more interested in making art where I might set a certain tone or scenario – but the real message or story if you will is going on in the head of who ever is looking at it. I aim at making art that sets off thoughts and emotions.

CH.89: Can you talk a little bit about your lifestyle as an artist and what that is like?

JR: Well it’s a lot of work – although I have gallery deals etc. a lot of the work that has nothing to do with making art it still up to me. You have to realize that as an upcoming artist you are not only the artist – you are also the book keeper, the marketing guy, the transport company, supply & stock manager and everything in between. I guess busy describes it very well.

CH.89: When starting out an artistic task, do you think it is better to have a particular direction/set plan guiding your way? Or, is it better to act on impulse and go from there?

JR: It really depends on who you are – you really need to discover what works for you! I work very impulsive and intuitively. Of course I have certain plans and deadlines – but within that framework, navigating chaos works best for me and my creativity. For some people it works better to plan everything beforehand – to put the creative thinking into the planning and then execute according to plan. I just act and see where it takes me – I kind of see the process of painting as a conversation or investigation where the true motif is to be discovered.

CH.89: What is one major lesson you’ve learned as an artist thus far?

JR: It’s hard work!

CH.89: Do you regard personal style & taste to be of highest importance?

JR: To some extend, yes.

CH.89: What do you consider to be the hardest thing about being an artist?

JR: Making a living out of it! Closely followed by the fact you have to learn to accept that everyone has an opinion of what you do and not all are going to be nice.

CH.89: What is one thing you love about being an artist?

JR: To be able to touch people’s mind and give them an experience!

CH.89: Is there anyone in particular, any artist’s that inspire you in any way?

JR: There are so many – I look at art pretty much daily, and I think just staying in touch with what’s going on, who’s doing what and of course having other artists in your social circle is tremendously inspiring. Not only in the way that you might get inspired by what they do – but also just get inspired to work and work harder! Of course, I have my “heroes” as anybody else.

CH.89: What do you think of technology in terms of being a useful tool for artists today?

JR: If we are talking technology as in computers, internet and social media – it is both a blessing and a curse for artists, I think. In many ways it’s a very helpful tool to get out there and show/promote your work and it would be stupid to ignore it all together. However, since everyone can call themselves “artist” and upload loads of sub par work, the risk is the whole deal gets watered out and the really good stuff just drowns in the masses. Other than that there’s the risk of what I call the lowest common denominator syndrome – where what get’s all the attention is what appeals to the broadest audience… which in my oponion does not necesarily make it good art. As far as the general technological progress there’s of course all sorts of wonderful things happening in development of materials and mediums that artists can take advantage of.

CH.89: Do you think being an artist allows you to view the world differently from those who don’t follow creative paths?

JR: I don’t think it’s so much that when you become an artist you start seeing the world differently – it’s more like the other way round. I think people who become artists are somehow not completely normal to begin with! That probably doesn’t apply to everyone, but a lot of artists are “damaged” in one way or another which might give them a certain sensitivity to the world and a need to create.

CH.89: Do you enjoy traveling? If so, do you have a favorite city?

JR: I do – and I haven’t travelled as much as I’d like to (yet). So far my favorite city is Berlin. I would; however, love to visit New York city!

CH.89: Do you have a favorite author or book?

JR: That changes all the time – the last book I read that really triggered my imagination was The Dream Faculty by Sara Stridsberg.

CH.89: Any future goals or plans for your artwork?

JR: Keep evolving and learning. I’d like to get more exhibtions outside of Denmark. I landed my first show in the States this year in Washington DC – I’d love to go back. But Europe is interesting too.

CH.89: What does being an artist mean to you?

JR: Freedom

CH.89: Any last words on the aesthetic of your artwork?

JR: Not everything is as dark as it seems….

CHECK OUT MORE ON: JOHN REUSS 

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