|DREAMERS 180 x 260 cm, oil on linen, 2018|
An Interview with Justine Otto.
Who and where are you from?
My name is Justine Otto, I was born in Poland and came with nine years to Germany, where I‘ve studied art at the smallest public art academy in Germany called Städelschule in Frankfurt am Main.
What brought you to Art?
As a child I was always collecting small notebooks because I loved the paper as a drawing material. We had a lot of art books at home and there were some special miniature art books available in Poland. My mother collected them and I felt really in love with them and carried them everywhere in my little suitcase. Later one in school I started to paint on bedsheet as I had no proper canvas.
What is your driving force?
I love painting. I love the process of creating something very individual. In particular, painting is a medium which, like no other, is able to save time. It fascinates me that you can see so many steps of the artist in one painting.In addition, as a child I loved studios or working places of artists with everything that went with them. I cannot imagine a life without a studio with all the colors and utensils and the special atmosphere.
What kind of work you do and why?
I am mainly a painter, but I also make sculptures with epoxy resin and other found materials.My recent ”Heroes” series, which was inspired by old black-and-white photos of public officials and generals, is about breaking up and deconstructing these traditional ’archetypes’, literally, in painting.
Tell us more about your thought process.
I find it particularly exciting to explore the border between figuration and abstraction. My most recent works include figurative elements in addition to completely abstract passages. I like the contrast between complete detachment, where painting is completely free, unrestricted by the limitation of a (signifying) form – and figuration, in which ratio is predominant. I try to achieve this by varying the density of different techniques. Over the years I have developed a wide range of techniques from which I can now draw: there is spraying, wet-on-wet painting, taping, scraping, leveling out, dissolving all, stamping, working with various tools. I like it when dissimilar techniques come together and the entire object merges into a resonant image. There are no taboos. Being courageous and challenging oneself is part of what painting is for me. Over and over I experiment with a variety of different image carriers and materials. I have to arouse my curiosity again and again, this being very important to me for my painting process. Learning processes, as hard as they sometimes may be, are part of the venture for me. Often, the best paintings emerge from allegedly failed episodes, paths are then revealed, which might otherwise have remained closed. I also spend a lot of time in the studio simply gazing thoughtfully. Especially in regards to the largerformats, I always need to look at the respectiveimage for a long time from a certain distance. This observing is then replaced by a process of adding and in turn removing detail, if something seems too decorative to me.
Please share with us the one modern artist whose work you find Interesting and why?
It's a little hard to limit yourself to one artist, but I appreciate William Kentridge so much. I like his open political approach and his animated films, which he creates from his drawings.