Fabian is one of those artists whose work I see online www.fabian-freese.de and instantly know I must chat with them. His art is so clean, contemporary and fresh. What goes through his mind when he works? Here’s our cool chat…
“I think my work wants to say, ‘See things from different directions.’ There is not only one truth. If you change your perspective, you can often understand what other points from other people mean.”
MICHAEL: Hey Fabian, Your work is very intriguing to me. You obviously have your own motivations for creating your work, but your photographs and mixed media works give me a strong sense of isolation and solitude marked by this strong energy of light that seems to come out of nowhere. It's like you're trying to show us what the energy of aloneness looks like. I don't know. What's the deal?
FABIAN: With my lights, I try to generate a sculpture within the space of the picture. It’s made just in this moment and the result is only in the camera. Nobody who sees me doing the light paintings at this place can see what it would look like when the time exposure is finished. Most of the people find it all a bit strange when I walk there with my LED lights fixed on wood pieces. I was in different big cities like Berlin and London at night time to create these works. There are always people who cannot imagine what it is for and why I am walking there with my lights. I try to build a bridge between the space where I am taking the photo and the lights I am using. The lights reflect the environment and the architectural points. So it grows with the time exposure and the spots of the LEDs become lines of light because of my movement. It’s like a surreal light installation which only exists after the camera processing of the photo. When I print these photos, you can see a result that nobody could see in this moment I walked there with the lights. It’s a bit like composing the environment and reacting on it. In this process, I focus on my artistic goals for each photo at the place and I am near to myself.
MICHAEL: So, you do this work alone at night and no one really understands what you are doing? That's sounds like the life of an artist, No? Is it lonely being an artist?
FABIAN: Yes absolutely! I am doing the work lonely on my own. I just have an assistant with me to care about my camera. I can't leave it alone on the tripod when I am five to fifteen meters away from it at packed places like Piccadilly Circus or Collosseum in Rome. Also in my studio when I am working on my paintings, I must be alone. I cannot concentrate on my work if there is somebody around. Also my life as an artist is lonely sometimes. Friends with artistic backgrounds can understand that an artist has to do his artistic work, no matter if it sells well or not. He just has to do it. But people without this background often cannot understand that an artist has to do it. They just ask can you live from it? No? Nice hobby! But it is no hobby; it’s a profession. And in my case, I have another job only for this reason that I can do art in exactly the way I want to do it!
MICHAEL: Yes, I understand very much. I wish that all of "my artists" could make full-time livings from their art work, but it's just not happening for most living artists because most people do not appreciate talented artists and their work. Even very few art journalists even talk to artists! Does this ever get frustrating for you?
FABIAN: No, it does not really frustrate me. I am working hard on my goals for artistic success that could get me financial freedom some day. It is possible if you work hard on yourself and improve your artwork. Surely a bit of luck would help.
MICHAEL: Your still life paintings are contemporary and fresh. On the one hand, you're doing this really interesting photography, but you're also doing still life paintings and still life painting is so "old school" and traditional. How do you explain this?
FABIAN: The still life paintings were part of my studies at the Art Academy in Germany. We had to learn to see and to paint what you see in front of you. That has improved my painting skills a lot. I did these still lifes for five years at the Academy and I also researched for my other artworks like the l light painting photos and the combination with the abstract lines and color fields with foils and varnishes. It was also good background for my recent painting series about faded childhood memories called, “Playground Series.”
MICHAEL: Yes, the Playground Series reminds me of how children embrace art and then when they grow up, they forget about innocence and creativity. What was the inspiration behind that series for you?
FABIAN: The inspiration behind the series was to involve my early years in my life into the artwork and that the viewers of the artworks also think about the time they were young and played on the playgrounds. Here is a part of a statement about this series: His Playground Series is about faded childhood memories. These are painted playgrounds from different places, but very faded and blurred, like memories from far away in childhood. These playgrounds are symbols for childhood itself. Most people have good feelings when they think about playing at the playground in their past. These artworks from the series always have bold color fields at the side which represents time today. They are abstract so that everybody can put their own feelings of living today into these colors with small, vertical stripes placed all over every part of the artwork. These vertical stripes are bridges between the times. In the faded memories in the playground, the vertical stripes are thoughts about what will come in the future and in the color fields, of life today, they are the experiences that everybody made in the past and how it makes us what we are today.
MICHAEL: Germany seems like a very hip, contemporary country to me, especially when it comes to contemporary art. Berlin is definitely a big art city. How do everyday Germans view contemporary art? Do they understand it and buy it?
FABIAN: I think there are more people in these big cities like Berlin, Cologne, Munich etc., who are interested in contemporary art. Often the people go into these big museums to look at artist like Picasso or Dali from which everybody thinks, “Yes this is great art because they are so famous.” But going into the small galleries for looking at contemporary art is another thing from which I think a lot less people do. For me, it is much better to see contemporary, fresh works or to see works in galleries from artists I know or who are friends of mine. I think it’s very important to communicate and network with other artists about their works and also speak about my own work.
MICHAEL: It seems like people all over the world have been brainwashed into thinking that living artists do not create great art. What do you think can be done to change this? I mean, they don't even teach art in schools for young kids anymore!
FABIAN: I think it’s important to teach that contemporary art and living artists are a main part of culture in many countries of the world. These open minded thinking artists like me or others can change things in a more positive way. They do great work and more people should change their minds to give these artists the true value they have. The best support is when people buy these contemporary works for their own collections or their homes. There are very few artists who get millions for the artworks and millions of artists cannot live only from their art.
MICHAEL: When you're painting or creating art, what is that process like? What are you thinking? How do you know that what you have made is art and not junk?
FABIAN: My process of creating art like painting or my light painting photos is much about decisions. I see what I have done in the first step and I decide if I made it good or if I have to change it. Every decision relies on the decision I made before. At the end of this process at one point, I hopefully see if this piece of art is finished. Mostly, I hope with these works that I have finished, that I can agree with the quality. Often this process goes on over a time of several weeks.
MICHAEL: Finally Fabian, Does your work have a message? Long after you're gone and your work is still here, what would you like people to take away from your work? What is the message?
FABIAN: I think my work wants to say, “See things from different directions.” There is not only one truth. If you change your perspective, you can often understand what other points from other people mean. Often my works have different elements which are combined in the works. That’s like different backgrounds from people all over the world who are put together in modern open-minded societies. People should learn from each other instead of killing them when they are different. We are all one.
MICHAEL: I totally agree. Thanks Fabian. Cool chat.
FABIAN: Thank you very much! It was a joy!
Check out Fabian Freese at www.fabian-freese.de.