Interview with artist Anton Winzer

Today our guest is Anton Winzer a self-taught artist from Austria. In 2009, after a break of nearly 20 years, he started painting again, doing photography and digital work … besides his work as personal assistant for handicapped people in their houses. That brought him a burnout with a following depression in 2014. Through his artwork, he came out of that depressive state again and he decided, even if he stays poor, that he will never leave his artist path again. We have conducted an interview with him.

How did you name your photography portfolio, 'Dirt-Art' and 'Water'? What are they based on?

'Portfolio' seems to me the most fitting way of referring to my entire photography work. Thank you! In the many fields of my artistic work, my creative journey, I always like to push the boundaries and attempt to dissolve them.

'Dirt Art' is today often understood as making artworks out of dirty vehicles, which makes it considerably difficult for the owners of the vehicles to have them cleaned.

With me, the idea is similar, e.g. I try to find something aesthetic in a dirty kitchen sink, something beautiful, pleasing to the eye. The same thing happens with dusty corners, cracked roads and whatever else captures my attention. I studied the subject of 'water' in depth, though still 'realistically' at the beginning of my exhibition career in Salzburg and Munich. This was in the mid-1980s. Water, besides its physical properties, also has a mental, a pleasing and cleansing effect. When I approach the element, I do this now in an abstract manner, usually with the three primary colours.

Why did you want to elaborate through photography and digital about 'dissolution and impermanence'? What inspires you?

For half of my life, I have been devoted to Buddha Dharma, and some would even say that I am a Buddhist. In Buddhism, to achieve the goal of happiness, we use our spirit and meditation to become aware of the unsteadiness of our being, to realise that everything created through conditions, ultimately disintegrates. What remains, is our own spirit. Through dissolution and unsteadiness, new things are created in a constant interplay.

All this is currently, visibly evident in my work and is also what it amounts to.

Since the thought of dissolution and unsteadiness causes some of us, particularly here in the West, to feel uneasy, I try to lend this process a visually colourful and appealing expression.

My own style is influenced by works by great masters including Picasso, Mondrian, Miro, Kandinsky, Van Gogh, Gaugin, Warhol, Pollock, etc.…. I initially started with painting, until in 1973, I got my first Fujika camera.

Besides Photography, what other art collaborations work do you like to do?

As I already mentioned, I started with drawing and painting, photography came later, and as soon as computers started getting faster and more storage capacity, I added digital image processing to my repertoire. I cannot say often enough what a blessing this has been for me and my work. My artistic work has no more limits now. The possibilities of digital image processing have enabled me to combine my painterly and photographic styles and achieve brilliant results. With this, I also question the boundaries which some purist colleagues, be it painters or photographers, still live within. I am very pleased to have painters, photographers and sculptors alike, as followers on Instagram.

Do you consider your painting works of art like a twist of 'De Stijl'?

For more than 40 years, my painting has been a study with primary colours and their effect – and also with the De Stijl movement, which is celebrating its 100 anniversary, by the way. I think I use my knowledge about the De Stijl movement, and interpret it slightly differently – also in my digital work. Moreover, in my paintings, I discuss Itten's colour theory – which assigns the shapes (triangle, rectangle, circle) to the colours (yellow, red, blue) – by exchanging the colours/shapes. I am very pleased with the results.

What did the art historians in London of The Brick Lane Gallery say about your work?

They said, that I have a unique contemporary reinterpretation of De Stijl in a new context creating vibrant and intense pieces.

Which were the challenges of getting your book: ‘Contemporary Art of Excellence, Vol. III’ published?

This book is published by an agency. Meanwhile, it is available on amazon. Two of my works are published in it.

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