Rene Schute is a German artist who specializes in what he calls, “Contemporary Surrealism.” When I look at his work http://www.reneschute.de/, I think about the great artist Rene Magritte. Schute appears to be carrying on in the other Rene’s tradition yet he has created his own voice and expression. So, which one is “The Other Rene”? I don’t know. You decide.
MICHAEL: Hey Rene, thanks for agreeing to talk with me. I really like your work. How would you describe yourself? Are you a "surrealist artist" or an artist who specializes in Surrealism?
RENE: I thank you for this talk, too. Yes, I'm a Surrealistic Artist. The Surrealism gives me the chance to make little, plain things visible. So, an ant can be as big as a rhinoceros. Therefore, objects get new meaning. The Surrealism is a life philosophy and presupposes to see also small things. Either you are a Surrealist or you are not.
MICHAEL: But don't you feel that you're boxing yourself in by calling yourself a "Surrealistic Artist"? Many artists think attaching labels to themselves limits them and makes people think that they can create only one kind of art.
RENE: It doesn't narrow me. Of course, as an artist, many possibilities stand open and you can employ yourself freely with your white canvas and your paint. But you will only create an artwork, if it's related to you - if it's honest. Would I, as a Surrealist, throw color bombs against the wall? Then it would be a painting, but not a work of art.
MICHAEL: You have just answered that age old question, "What is Art?" It sounds as if you're saying that in order for something to truly be art, it has to be a genuine expression of the individual who creates it. Is that correct? Does this mean that anyone can be an artist?
RENE: Yes Michael, everybody could be an artist. It is the own personality which constitutes a work of art. It is not important what I make, but how I make it. So it’s only from one's own conviction is it possible to create a work of art.
MICHAEL: Where do you get your ideas for your work? Also, the sky seems to be the back drop for many of your paintings. Is the sky like a blank canvas for you?
RENE: The big, blue, endless California sky gives us a feeling of freedom and is also a contrast to our daily experiences, which narrow us mostly. So, yes you already said, the sky is my canvas. Sometimes, only one sentence or one word inspires me to create a painting. Often, even a talk with friends. You find always and everywhere contrasts or oppositions which you can bring perfectly to the canvas. But, sometimes I sit in a hole and the sky is not blue.
MICHAEL: Your paintings remind me of something I say to people ... that art is about much more than just hanging a painting on the wall. Art is about feeding our spirit, among other things. When you finish a painting, do you hang it up to inspire you to create more paintings or do you find inspiration from the works of other artists?
RENE: Yes, you need the old painting for the new one. If a painting is ready, I would like to keep it for inspiring. But, then I could not earn money. I have even always the feeling, that a painting is never finished. Therefore, I think, you begin again and again a new one.
MICHAEL: Where are you exactly? Hamburg? Berlin? What's the art community like there? Do people appreciate contemporary art?
RENE: I'm from Bremen. It's near Hamburg. Bremen is not so big as Hamburg, but wonderful. I love it. Most of the people here are big fans of modern art. There is a smaller community for surrealist art, but, I'm very happy to have great art collectors and fans in my town. They buy my art.
MICHAEL: Wow, that's great. What do you think about the art world and the art market today? It's very easy for the super-wealthy to buy the masterpieces of famous, dead artists, but not many people support emerging artists who are struggling.
RENE: It's not easy to struggle in the market. There is only one chance to win the people to buy art. If you have a personal style and good luck, you will get a chance. Also you should never give up. But I also think it's important for an artist to make art for himself.
MICHAEL: I don't like to compare artists, but your work does remind me of Rene Magritte. Is Magritte an influence for you?
RENE: Thanks for comparing me with Magritte. In my early years as an artist, I painted landscapes, portraits and all kinds of art. The old masters style has always fascinated me. Also Magritte. Even Wolfgang Lettl has influenced me. Frequently, I talked with him about Surrealism.
MICHAEL: Wouldn't you like to come to New York and have many one-man shows? Will you stay in Germany and paint?
RENE: I’d really like to come to New York. I could imagine living there. But I think, at the moment there is no need to move.
MICHAEL: Finally Rene, when people look at your work, what do you want them to see?
RENE: It's very easy. I hope that they will see my message. And last but not least, they should like my art. Then I'm lucky. Thanks for the interview Michael.
MICHAEL: Thanks Rene. Keep up the great work.
Check out Rene Schute at http://www.reneschute.de/.