ART CHAT with Wolfgang Flad

Stepping into the artist studio of Wolfgang Flad lifts the spirits and inspires excitement as one is immediately met with beautiful decorative installation pieces, a powerful energy and spaciousness that exudes contemporary sleekness and authentic style. The space has an uplifting energy, is brightly lit, minimalist and inviting. The creative playground exhibits a collection of abstract wooden materials as distorted wooden sculptures hang from the ceilings and fill all corners of the room. Behind the artist studio there is a large stags head mounted on the wall with beautiful, graceful antlers mirroring the artists own creations, gifted to him by a friend. The compositions reflect an architectural form – stable and fixed yet soft with movement and colour. The duality between the glossy backdrop and roughness of the brush stroke seen on the wall pieces symbolically encapsulates the duality of the 3rd dimension reality and compliments the 3D installation pieces on show. Features of the Artwork inspire the imagination to conjure up its own artistic, metaphysical or philosophical interpretations. The geometrical furniture in the office space has been hand crafted by Wolfgang himself, which he says is an experimental hobby. 

It is easy to marvel at all the wonderful creations decorating the entire studio, from installations transformed into beautiful hanging lamps above our heads to abstract toilet paper holders, Wolfgang is a man of many trades, talents and artistic visions. He merges creativity into an integrated expansiveness of art, installation, abstract design and organic natural elements. Much of his work is recycled and made new, even down to the paper Mache he uses to shape and form the larger installation pieces. We laugh when he tells us he shreds old art critic reviews to make the paste with hopes that in the future he can one day use his own critic’s reviews. The back wall is filled with a library of books from a collection of creative minds and artists he admires. On the top shelf one can see the book pieces he made for legendary punk rock visual artist Malcolm McLeary whom he met at one of his exhibitions. We are immediately taken by his humbled modesty, openness and genuine hospitality. His passion and respect for art is seen everywhere in the studio, which he calls a playground for personal experimentation. Much like a scientist in a laboratory he can experiment, build, develop, carve, paint, shred, paste, lacquer and shape his creations to merge into an aesthetic fusion.

So where do it all begin? 

I started painting oil on canvas, starting with abstract painting, abstract expressionism, trying to be more contemporary and interesting – it’s always interesting to not copy what’s there, to be authentic, and find something that is not existing, finding something that is your own language. There are so many interesting artists, like Bogdan Lascar, it has to be specific and new.

Do you have a vision for your work?

For sure I have a vision, it’s not very clear but I would like to do bigger projects for tepa art museum. I would love to do more exhibitions internationally. The last exhibition I used mirrors on the base because I want to integrate the base with the composition. It was shiny and reflected like a crystal, it was so beautiful, it was mirroring back and this is something I will work on for the future.

Are you trying to say anything with your work or is it an expression of something unknown?

For sure, always when you do something it’s like a birth. You are realizing something, I’m not interpreting my own work, what you can see is that it is a universal language about life, you can see in my work cells, bones, plants, the mathematical principal of life, it’s the maximum stability with minimum material which is what I use for my language.

Passion, drive and persistence are key ingredients to becoming an artist…what is your motivation?

The life of an artist still carries its uncertainties as it can be a fragile profession. I always knew I wanted to create something, design or be an architect, but I recognized I wanted to do my own thing. It helped that I had five children. I’m not just doing this for me, I’m doing this for professional intention.

The abstract wooden sculptures bring a host of visionary images to mind, such as Dali’s melting clocks, paint frozen in time, Burning Man mysticism to the ancient tree’s living among the temples of Angkor Watt. Colour also invites a new emotion and commentary into form. The blue texture reminds one of the white washed walls of Moroccan architecture, deep reds remnant to the human anatomy of muscle, bone and blood. Inspired by the reaction to his observers there are specific reoccurring themes running through the collection. The simplicity of carving, shaping and painting wood brings the observer to discover new realms of the imagination, time and space.

What have you heard people say about your work that surprises you?

Some of my friends have said it reminds them of the prehistoric dinosaur age, or radio waves to low budget science fictional movies to skeleton bones from World War. Mostly I hear it is like other worldly dimensions. The best thing that could happen is that I give possibility to the audience to see something in the work. Everybody finds their own way to think about what they feel, to think about the work. I like the idea of building a science fiction world in my studio.

Can anybody be an Artist?

You can begin tomorrow to start as an artist. What you need is the will, the need, the inspiration. There are some shooting stars. You can be recognised, but there is no guarantee. There are many possibilities, not just painting, whatever you have the passion for, do that, nobody can answer it, you have to answer it, your intuition, what feels good for you. Your first painting isn’t an art work you can sell. It’s a long way to figuring it out, who are you and what you want to tell the world. When you’re on your way and you have people supporting your work is what matters too.

Who recognizes Art as being Art?

You are the first person to recognize it as art. Many people over rate themselves. I am not the person who judges, I can only say for myself that I like it when it is unique and special, something really touching to me. I respect this as art.

How do you get into the creative flow? 

First things first, I go to my coffee machine and then music. I like electronic music and jazz. Music is very important for me in the creative process. My work is quiet meditative. I really enjoy what I do. I know I am a lucky person and I hope I can develop with my work in the future.

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