Art, Music, // December 15, 2019
Christiane Seeger — ARTIST/MUSICIAN
Interview with artist Christiane Seeger —
1. Who are you and what do you do?
Maybe that’s the philosophical question everyone is busy with 😉 But to answer it formally: In 1970 I was born in a small town in Germany. I went to school, studied mathematics and geography and in the year 2000 I moved to Vienna/Austria where I have a “normal” every day job. I’m an artist since my earliest childhood, not a visual artist but a musician. You can find the rhythm of music in all of my paintings. 1993 I started to be a drummer in several bands. At the moment my band is Totscus. In 2015, I realized that I am also a visual artist. I work with ink and acrylic and I’m also a photographer. I’m self-taught, but most of all, I’ve never learned anything about art, so my art is free. Because it has to come out of me without obvious influences. Since June 2018 my paintings on broken cymbals and drum heads can be seen at a permanent exibition in Austrias biggest music store Klangfarbe in Vienna.
• In September 2019 I participated with my ink artworks at III. Ingolstäder Art Expo 2019 and I was nominated for the art prize.
• In November 2019 I participated at the IMPROVISION festival – Bridgebeat – in Vienna.
• In December 2019 I participated at the IMPROVISION festival – Hot Club – in Vienna.
• My paintings are already spread all over the world: Vienna, Berlin, Freiburg, Dießen, Oldenburg, Bukarest, Budapest, Tokyo, Te Aroha (NZ)
2. Why art?
Because art makes me feel free. My thoughts about everyday life related things disappear when I start to create. I live absolutely for the moment, nothing else matters then and it gives me a lot of energy. When I’m tired in the evening, I start to paint. And I come out of a painting session very refreshed. It’s the same with drumming. I only concentrate on the groove and the rhythms and it refreshes me and gives me positive vibrations.
3. What is your earliest memory of wanting to be an artist?
The point is: I never wanted to be an artist. I always say “art attacked me unexpected”. It just happened. I remember that one day I just went into a store and bought a canvas and acrylics. I wanted to try it, I wanted to do something… That’s how I started. I never put any pressure behind that. I would even go so far as to say that it is still strange when I speak of myself as an “artist”. This is different related to the drums. I already knew at the age of 11 that I want to be a drummer. Unfortunately I could make this wish come true only at the age of 22. But at least I made it come true. If you are interested in the description of being a female drummer look here: http://www.totscus.com/blog/a-girl-cant-be-a-drummer/
4. What are your favorite subject(s) and media(s)?
I’m addicted to ink and water because of the flow. For me, water is the most important element of my pictures. Like many people, I’m drawn to the water on a regular basis. This may be the sea, a lake or just a small stream, the main thing is that it flows. And so does the water in my paintings, indicating the direction, it carries the color and it produces chromatographic effects, when it’s dissociated and mixed with the ink. The water usually serves as the basis for the entire picture. Various techniques produce different effects: Flowing structures are achieved when water and ink are allowed to unfold freely and are guided only by small movements. Graphic structures are either directly applied on the paper by means of water and a brush, or different films are used, whereby the ink is given a predetermined structure and can be leaded in the direction of the flow. By studying geography with focus on geomorphology and the love of nature, my style evolved into abstract painting of landscapes and water worlds. However, not real existing landscapes are painted, but new fantastic worlds created so that they appear like satellite images or images of distant planets. Elements of oceanography, meteorology and geology are incorporated here, creating barren planetary surfaces as well as underwater images or seascapes. The resulting unexpected forms may also involve erotic aspects for the viewer. I usually paint on paper but another of my styles is the painting on demolished cymbals and used drumheads. Since I’ve been playing drums for decades, painting the used drumheads and cymbals is a devotion to me because they’ve done their work and I give them a new purpose. Additionally to ink there is used acrylic, since ink alone wouldn’t cover enough. The acrylic paint and the flowing ink reveal completely different structures than on paper. Here also the round shape of the cymbals and used drumheads play a big role.
5. How do you work and approach your subject?
I always paint with music in the earphones, preferably to albums of various progressive but also experimental music styles. This brings me into a flowing state in which I can empty my mind and devote myself entirely to the colors and structures that arise during painting. Quite consciously, I don’t paint figuratively but allow myself to be guided by the flowing music sounds to create the fantasy worlds. The viewer is allowed to interpret himself what he sees. The selection of the colors I use is purely intuitive, whereby the music influences too which colors are used. Some evenings are entirely devoted to the black ink, which is my eternal love. Black is not dark, depressing or destructive to me. Black forms a contrast and allows the resulting structures to clearly appear without the eye being distracted by color intensities. I never have a concrete idea what I want to paint, I only feel a few minutes into myself what is needed, choose the music and then I choose the colours intuitively and just start.
6. What are your favorite art work(s), artist(s)?
As an autodidact I can say that I never was influenced by any artist. I don’t go to museums very often. But sometimes I like going to galleries to see works of art by less famous artists. I like artists who stay true to themselves and give free rein to their creativity. Those who don’t want to paint for the masses or want to be famous, those who only make art primarily for themselves are my favourites. Of course, I like the artwork of some of the great masters. The geometry and the minimalism have always fascinated me and so it is Piet Mondrian, Wassily Kandinsky and Pierre Soulages.
7. What are the best responses you have had to your work?
In fact, I was asked to participate in all three exhibitions that I already had. And I think that’s one of the biggest appreciations I can get. Not to ask, just to get it.
8. What do you like about your work?
It’s the process of the creating that I like the most. These hours when I’m at the studio with the music and the colours around me are valuable ones. Ink is a very sensitive and difficult media. To see how my artwork changed and improved over the years is very satisfying for me.
9. What advice would you give to other artists?
Just do it! Create, doubt, be angry, be joyful with all that what art can give us. Keep going with what you feel, stay true to yourself and don’t think about what the masses want to see.
Video of my art : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pPsNNih2zqQ
Website of my band: www.totscus.com
Band Blog: http://www.totscus.com/blog/
Videos of my band: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCPbEBTIBoJtM0_W6p8JkxGQ