Nick Ervinck is a Belgian artist who creates some of the most intriguing and unsual works of art you’ll likely ever see. His work http://nickervinck.com/en includes larger than life installations, organic sculptures, prints, new media, you name it. I wanted to chat with him because I love talking with artists who really are pushing contemporary art forward. Check out our cool interview. I’m sure you’ll agree that Nick is a progressive thinker and artist…
“… I consider art as a way to understand this bizarre world, a way to look at it differently. By creating an even more complex parallel world, I try to comprehend the reality of our own world ...”
MICHAEL: Hello Nick, Your work is stunning. When I look at it, I see molten lava that you've taken and really done incredible things with. Obviously, it's not molten lava, but is that the vibe we're supposed to be getting?
NICK: My work is indeed inspired by natural shapes, such as corals, anatomical parts, rocks and trees, etc. These elements are then digitally reproduced, mirrored, distorted and assembled into a 3D software environment in order to incorporate a futuristic dynamic.
I have always been fascinated by the language of futurism and the way these artists were able to capture movement in a still image. By using innovative materials and techniques, I search for new ways to translate this seemingly endless movement into a sculpture or image.
MICHAEL: Your work does indeed have movement and is organic.
NICK: For some people, the shape of these works they perceive keeps changing, keeps surprising us. For instance, the work SNIBURTAD is inspired by the voluptuousness of the so-called ‘Rubens Woman.’ I then used new technologies such as 3D printing to renew or reinvent the art historical tradition. You can recognize an apparent tension between the round forms and the fragile structure surrounding it. Instead of being the internal support structure (endoskeleton), the skeleton is situated outside of the body (exoskeleton). This only amplifies the effect of a bulging formlessness that seems to extend itself in space.
MICHAEL: I find it interesting that you're using technology to create natural, organic shapes. Surely you're well aware of this dichotomy?
NICK: Yes. My sculptures are inspired by reality and at the same time, these sculptures can only be realized through the newest 3D printing techniques. It is exactly this mutual fertilization between the digital and the actual that I am interested in. My complex, 3D printed sculptures scan the fragile borders between the impossible and the possible, between the virtual and the real. They contain references to natural shapes, but are sculpturally designed in a 3D software environment in such a way that they are impossible to create manually.
MICHAEL: When and how did this idea to create art this way come to you? Do your creations themselves have stories to tell or do you leave narratives up to the people who see them?
NICK: I have always been fascinated by how art has developed due to new materials and techniques. Somewhat disappointed at contemporary sculpture and its lack of renewal, I turned toward architecture and applied sciences, in order to elaborate a new language and to compose forms and designs that were unthinkable in all those years before.
My artworks refer to history, archaeology, classical sculpture and art history (such as the work of Hans Arp, Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth), but also to the language of futurism, sci-fi and high technology. My work is both avant-garde (in the use of the newest technology), and historicist (in its references to art history and manual sculpting processes). Next to that, my works are also visually appealing; they entail a kind of visual poetry which intrigues each and every viewer.
The final images balance between structure and complexity, figuration and abstraction, symmetry and asymmetry. I always try to create an openness that will attract the viewer to consider my work from different angles. Just as a Rorschach stain, there is no single point of perspective. Everyone can see something different in it, apart from language, background or knowledge. The strange titles increase this feeling.
MICHAEL: Nick, as you know, your work is somewhat challenging. I mean, it's not landscape painting or still lifes of fruit in bowls. Shouldn't you be creating what you know will sell easily?
NICK: For me, it’s more about searching for my own language or universe. This universe is an ongoing process of creation, a way of creating a personal mythology. It is a momentary reflection of a constantly evolving consciousness and of the innovations in our ever-changing society.
MICHAEL: Yes, I can definitely see that.
NICK: People seem to appreciate the fact that I create my own language, because that is what makes my work unique and easily recognizable.
MICHAEL: Certainly. What do you think about the art world and art market and how they function? Most artists seem to understand the world at large, but they're baffled by the art world. Shouldn't it be the other way around? LOL.
NICK: For an artist, the goal is always to create good art. But of course the art world and art market cannot be ignored. When an artist starts his/her professional career at 20 years old, he or she still has a lot to discover, not only about developing his own vision, but also about the art world itself and how the artist can leave his own mark.
Now and then we hear about baffling prices that are spent on contemporary art at auctions. Last year, a painting by Michael Borremans sold for an astounding 2.7 million euro. This indicates that nowadays, artists are considered to be the new ‘gods’ of the future, replacing our former beliefs.
I consider art as a way to understand this bizarre world, a way to look at it differently. By creating an even more complex parallel world, I try to comprehend the reality of our own world. Maybe the world is not to be or cannot be understood. Our society can sometimes be even more extreme than the scenarios in Hollywood movies, and will thus always keep inspiring artists.
MICHAEL: Finally Nick, You've already answered this a little, but what is the point of art? Most people roaming the earth today will never visit an art gallery or even an art museum. Most people will never buy original art from a living artist. So ... what's the point? Why should people care about contemporary art?
NICK: I consider art to have an important value and necessary value in life. Because of art, we can forget about all the trouble in the world for a while. It shows us a mysterious world that we do not always understand, but that at the same time, it adds a meaningful layer to our existence. If you would take away all that is not logical or necessary in life, it would become a very spartan world we live in.
MICHAEL: Indeed. Thanks Nick. Cool chat.
Check out Nick Ervinck at http://nickervinck.com/en.