Artist: Christina Muenzner
1.Where do you get your ideas for your art?
I get ideas from everywhere, from the things that surround me, the people I meet, my thoughts and feelings and from everything that sparks an interest. You could compare it to a loosely knitted net of many different strands of emotions and possible expressions that are connected in intuitive and suggestive ways. It could be standing in the metro in Brussels, seeing a girl with bright green hair that seems almost fairy-tale like, or walking by an elderly lady who seems to carry the world’s sadness on her frail shoulders. If I would paint an abstract piece with that moment in mind, I would maybe combine gentle, soft colors with harsher elements in the composition, thinking about the contrasts we encounter every day within ourselves and in relation to others. Sometimes it can be watching a movie and being captivated by how the people are interacting, or the way the light hits a face beautifully during an otherwise tragic moment. It could also be the atmosphere of a song that makes me think of a certain color I want to use. At a concert, I might think that I should really do something with a dark, rich midnight blue because that is what the music feels like. By the time I am giving form to the idea, I might use the lightest shade of apricot instead, all the while thinking about that midnight blue that inspired it in the first place. My paintings and drawings are like a visual diary documenting different phases of my life and the need to manifest these impressions is the reason why I make art.
2.Do you think men and women could have similar aesthetics?
Yes, very much so. I think aesthetics, while being embedded in the broad context of a certain time and cultural reference points, can be universal and span across gender, age, languages etc. I hope that art can at some point be a platform where there is no restrictive distinction between female and male perspectives and simply represent a myriad of unique expressions from different people that are defined by so much more than their gender. I think it is in the moments of creation, in this magical bubble outside of galleries, criticism and economic concerns where we are simply makers, truthful to our vision and how we want to express what is in us. The differences between me and a male artist working on something we believe in strongly are our own ideas, experiences and knowledge that are not restricted to male and female representation but include all the little parts that make us who we are. I think we all have our individual aesthetics which are wonderfully complex and everchanging.
3.Does art come with isolation?
I need a lot of time to myself to think, digest experiences and imagine new possibilities. Creating art is a moment of isolation in the best possible way for me. Whether it is just a quick sketch or a 5-hour painting session, I am completely absorbed by what I am doing and get into my personal flow-feeling, which is something I could not live without. At the same time, I also crave stimulation from outside whenever I feel too much like becoming a creative hermit. Travelling, meeting up with friends, cinema, concerts and of course exhibitions and museums are all important to get out of my own head and to replenish my well of ideas. Discussions with other artists and people who are interested in art are also essential to see your own work with different eyes, get feedback and talk about artistic as well as practical issues. My job as a translator also helps to balance things out. Since each day is an immersion in different languages, viewpoints, and getting an insight into many kinds of businesses and the people involved in them, it automatically opens up your perception of the world. Overall, isolation and stimulation go hand in hand for me, and a balance between the two would be ideal.
4.Does living in Brussels trigger your creativity?
I am certainly influenced by the languages, architecture and general feeling of Brussels. I often think about how my paintings somehow resemble the character of the city. Brussels is full of contrasts and it is layered in regards to nationalities, cultures and art, and you find modern glass and steel buildings next to intricate Art Nouveau houses with mural paintings – for me it is a charming, laid-back mix of everything. Living abroad has always been one of my biggest dreams and the fact that I made it come true helps with expressing more of myself and to believe in the potential of the things you want in life. It is also a great city to initiate projects and get involved in whatever interests you, and I think many doors open easily if you are openminded and passionate about your endeavors. The linguistic diversity of the city and country is also fascinating and I am very thankful for an international circle of friends and colleagues who constantly widen my horizons and make Brussels feel like home.
5.Erotic themes seem to play an important role in your art. Is the model a real person or more of an imaginary creation?
My figurative works are mostly based on myself. The reason is twofold: Firstly, I fell in love with figure drawing during a course at New York Studio School in 2016, and after that I wanted to continue, but did not have models to draw from. Secondly, I am quite self-conscious and critical about aspects of myself and felt I needed to explore “me” in an artistic way to become more at ease with who I am, both physically and psychologically. So I started taking pictures of myself whenever I thought a moment was interesting or whenever a certain posture could work with an abstract underpainting. The situations are mostly taken from everyday life, for example getting undressed in front of a mirror and then trying to capture the way clothing is removed from my body and the way it folds and creates lines against the bright light flooding in from a window. Those pictures with varying degrees of nudity represent a collection of intimate fragments and reflect a certain work within myself, trying to get more real and sincere in a way. The erotic elements in the finished artwork are then a combination of my intentions of what to show and what to conceal and the perspective and imagination of the viewer.
Thanks a lot for these answers, Christina!