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Sebastian Blanck

Sebastian Blanck: Alteration and Improvisation!

1. “Any consideration that I make about the ‘construction’ of a picture is false and if the execution is successful then it is only because I partially destroy it or because it works anyway, because it is not disturbing and looks as though it is not planned”. Gerhard Richter. Would you tell us about your process and if you relate yourself to what Richter said? How does it work for you?
I relate to what Richter says in that I try and be responsive to what is happening as I’m making the painting. I understanding that the process is about change, alteration and improvisation. I don’t have a rigid approach.  At a certain point I let the painting tell me what to do. I start as the director but finish as an actor playing out the scene.


2. What drives you to paint and how often do you paint?

I paint everyday. I feel compelled to paint my experiences. I don’t invest much in the idea of making a single narrative painting but like the idea of a long running narrative through years of painting the same people in the same places. Time itself as drama. It also reminds me to look. It helps me remember to pay attention to how light may fall on the face of someone I love during a late august afternoon or how a snow covered field can be divided by a deep blue shadow that rhymes with a clear blue sky.

3. Is Art an imitation of reality for you?

Art is a connection to reality. I generally make work that is based to reality but I don’t try and imitate it. I’m more interested in capturing the mood or feeling of a moment then the realness of it. Reality is fleeting. A painting is static. Things about paintings change especially the context in which they are being seen but the painting will always stay the same.

4. Is a painting for you only a two-dimensional surface?

I make paintings and collages but I also make animations showing who each image develops from start to finish. A painting is a record of thoughts and feelings as they were being transposed into color, line, and shape. In a great painting you can see the moment someone turned thought into form with a series of movements. I think it’s magical.

5. Is your work influence from your personal life. I am specifically referring here to the series of paintings from 2015. How do you approach your subject matter? 

All of my imagery is autobiographical. I have always found daily experiences to be rich subject matter. Many years ago when I was in a band that meant paintings of my bandmates as we traveled across country. I have always painted portraits of friends who are artist, musicians, and actors. My wife and I have been together for twenty years and I’ve made paintings of her since we first started dating. When we had children I started painted them as well. I love painting so seems completely natural to me to paint the people and places I love most.

6. Could you tell us about motifs, shapes and forms you used in your recent and early body of work?
Recently I have been making paintings of my wife in a summer hat. It’s an exciting challenge to make paintings that have a visual disruption that simultaneously completes and confuses how something is being articulated.. I have been intrigued by this idea for a long time. I used to make paintings of my wife behind a polka dotted shower curtain. The pattern hid her somewhat but it also was key in articulating the surface of the curtain. Together they completed the image. I’ve also been making paintings of my tow sons playing outside during a snow storm. Splattering paint over the surface of the painting to try and capture how the snow is falling. Again the image is completed by the disruption of the snow (or splattered paint).

7. What do you want the viewer to gain from observing your artworks?

I don’t really make paintings with an expectation of what or how they will be seen by others. I try to make paintings that I would like to see in the world.

I try to make paintings that I would like to see in the world. Share on X
8. What is your next step as an artist?

The most important thing is to keep working and finding new things to try in my paintings. The wonderful thing about being an artist is the more work the more things you realize you would like to try. Whether it be material or subject matter or scale. I never have enough time to make all the paintings I’d like to make. I’d also love to have more opportunities to show in different parts of the world than I’ve shown previously. I’d love to have a show in Japan or Berlin. I’d also very much like to have some work in institutional shows.

9. Painting is important because?

It’s the language I understand most. That’s reason enough for me.