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Artist: Horst Kohlem

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What college did you go to? What did you study?
Karlsruhe Art Academy in 1973. I earned by Masters in Fine Arts.

Were you painting or making sculptures in college?
Yes, I enrolled in sculpture and art classes.

When it came time for choosing a career, were you every doubtful in becoming an artist?
No, never. I was determined to become an artist at a young age. I have always had a passion for art. I was a member to different museums and arts when I was a boy.

Do you plan/sketch out an idea of a painting/sculpture, or do you just start it and let it grow into something of its own?
Yes, I always sketch my work.

What type of artist do you consider yourself to be? Have you ever worked with something other than that style?
I consider myself to be contemporary, with a combination of abstract, and figurative art. Artists experiment with most art styles, though they often come back to a specific style they prefer.

How would you describe the phases of your work?
Thematically organized, influenced by writing, mythology (I did a series of gods and goddesses), and archeology. Inspired through life experiences, and the style in which I live my life.

How does your artwork differ from other artists? What makes your work unique?
Each person is an individual, and has different perspectives. ‘Visualists’ develop that artistry. When different people look at art and study it, each painting projects a different value. A person’s art is what they identify themselves with. Artists develop specific interests, and so no one else can emulate it. They develop their own technique, according to their ability (including colors, and materials) to make their work original. Artists are always experimenting with their abilities. I describe artists’ art, “Like a voice or a singer. This is my voice, and no one else can copy”. Artists are qualified professionals. “When you write a letter to your friend, it’s your own letter in your own language.”

Do you feel you have developed as an artist?
Yes, absolutely. When you get older, and have done 100 paintings and sculptures, you discover and experience yourself. Because you are your own boss, you learn to be critical of your own work, and you learn discipline and tell yourself what to do. I describe it as evolution, “one theme of work leads to the next.”

Do you use any special materials when painting or making a sculpture? And why?
For my paintings, I developed a technique, which exempts the easel. I paint horizontally, with no brushes, and like a sculpture. I make my own ingredient to paint with, which has to dry in the sun, since it is very thick and ‘crusty’. When I work on a sculpture, I do not work with soft materials, and the materials I use must be weather proof. I prefer stone, bronze, marble, sand stone, metal…. I even combine materials.

Where do you make your artwork?
I work in two different countries. In Germany, I make my sculptures, where my workshop and tools are. When in America (Miami, FL) I dedicate my time to paintings, where they can dry properly.

I read that you were interested in archeology. What fascinate you about it?
I admire the ‘defined items’ within archeology, and the different civilizations that case to exist. I love the realization that something important was there before you—or anyone else—lived. One day, when our generation ends, someone will excavate our culture. I find it is the way of life, and full of knowledge.

Many kids draw and doodle, but that seems to stop when they reach a certain age, and lose imagination. How have you preserved your creativity?
“Execute art”, is how I phrase it. You create your own world. The more you express yourself, the more you work on your individuality and the more you understand the world through your eyes.

Do you consider Time to be an important concept in your work?
Absolutely. Time means different dementias. Time occurs in different zones, and many things happen at one time. There are many layers of happenings; there are many layers within Time. Time is not something that stops from point A to point B. If art is good, it will survive (Pyotr IlyichTchaikovsky, Wassily Kandinsky, Fyodor Dostoyevsky). Time revolves.

Does your artwork represent something environmental or historical?
In my earlier years of being an artist, I had painted a reflection on the environment, a lot pertaining on pollution. My paintings had revolved about miss-happenings, similar to the oil spill today.

Do you feel that appreciation for art has been lost throughout time?
No, not necessarily. The art market has changed in perspective. Nowadays, when people see art, they see money. So, logically, good art means money, while bad art means no money. Genuinely, people don’t buy art because it is beautiful, but because it is a profitable investment. I consider art to be bought and sold like a stock. Art is not love, but more or less a trophy, that—when once bought—is put in a volt.

What does Art mean to you?
It’s my life. I cannot separate my life from it. Everything is rational and functional. Art is another dementia. It is happiness and emotion in the raw. It speaks differently to people, and can represent more than one thing. People live in a world full of art, and they don’t even realize it. Art serves a purpose, and is everything. It ranges from the intricate shaping of delicate words, to the euphoniously resonating music. Art = meaning of life + yourself + world.

Is there a limit on what you consider to be Art?
Yes. Art does not need a label to be art. Art creates new reality. It’s an individual perspective, someone’s own way of thinking. Art is needed within society. Art widens the horizon, creates emotion and understanding, can explain, and can transform.

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