Friday, April 4, 2008

Mini Interview

URBANCODE TALKS WITH ALBERT SCHWEITZER

UC: Where does the inspiration for the characters in your "pictorial dramas" originate?

AS: I have always been drawn to the image of a figure. I paint very spontaneously, and at times the images seem to have no rhyme or reason to them. It’s almost like a bunch of people on a city bus, or in line at a supermarket, all shapes and sizes. Sometimes, I paint people I know, or I am painting an autobiographical world that I live in. The paintings are arranged like a narrative, doing nonsensical things to each other. My work evokes many different emotions. Emotions of love, loss, angst, despair, sexual erotica, passion, laughter, comical situations, and uncertainty.

I love jazz and the blues and when I paint, I feel the colors and emotions fly from them; I think my paintings are about where I and others fit in this world. I also love cats and they end up in my work, as well as other animals.

UC: You switch between mediums quite easily, from paint, to sculpture, to clay. Can you tell me a little about that?

AS: I have always felt a need to work simultaneously in 2-D painting and 3-D sculpture, when I was an undergrad; I took ceramics and painting, and was taught to draw properly. It seems only natural for me to do this, to build these sculptures and give them a world that they belong in, and interact with these other people in my work. I build static boxes or dioramas and place these figures in them, and then to place them in a story telling theme, it’s almost like a folk story.

UC: What artists do you feel the most kinship with?


AS: I have always loved Karel Appel, and Asger Jorn, when I saw Appel’s painting “Angry landscape” I felt his instant, emotional sense of the human condition. His painting was like an impromptu explosion of emotion escaping into the atmosphere. I also am quite moved by Otto Dix’s political paintings of WWII, and Joan Miro’s weird wonderful worlds, between hell and bliss. The artists I admire, depict fantasy, and embrace a Dadaistic nature, giving symbolic meanings and depicting dream like states. They push the imagination.

Bio:
Alber Schweitzert is a visionary artist who lives and works in Baltimore Maryland. Although classically trained his paintings are imbued with the naive, raw simplicity and energy that one would associate with outsider art. As a student Albert studied with Grace Hartigan. This association with Grace Hartigan has created a lasting influence on his work.

Born in Wisconsin in 1967, Albert now lives in Baltimore, Maryland. He received his B.F.A. degree in painting from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in 1990. He received an M.F.A. in painting from the Maryland Institute College of Art. He studied under Grace Hartigan at the Hoffberger School of Painting, graduating in 1995.

Albert exhibits frequently in New York, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C. His work is in many private and permanent collections.

Artist's website: www.albertschweitzerart.com