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Interview with Vanessa Wenwieser


Q. Welcome to u1 gallery. We are so grateful to be able to interview you. We can never thank you enough. Could you introduce yourself and your works? How did you begin creating art?


A. Hello, my name is Vanessa Wenwieser and I’m an artist from Munich in Germany and I am so honoured to be interviewed by you.  


I have always been surrounded by art all my life, I had a grandfather that would take me to the countryside where he painted in watercolour and my father was a great photographer; I enjoyed reading and poetry very much as well as music and was interested greatly by the world around me. I am a keen observer and there was not an art form that didn’t touch me deeply. I knew very early on that this is how I would like to express myself, but not yet exactly which medium, in fact, I enjoyed trying out new mediums and experimenting and still do, I see it as adding layers of depth and meaning to my work.


After graduating from school I studied at the Glasgow School of Art, as it has an excellent reputation and the most beautiful building designed by the Scottish art nouveau artist Rennie Macintosh. I have always been enthralled by the flowing lines of art nouveau and the use of nature within this art form, and to be able to study in such an amazing building was such an honour for me. 


I studied all art forms in the first year and then specialised in Fine Art Photography but even then broke out of the mould of what I was taught there and felt I just missed drawing and working more with colours and my hands, so I did a course in printmaking and I especially enjoyed screen printing, so I could use photography as well as painting and it gave me a lot more scope to experiment with.


Then I began to use Photoshop, learning by doing, experimenting using layers and often adding painting and printmaking to create texture. I really found it an amazing medium to try out new things quickly and see if they work.  I managed to create my own style in time, maybe through using the medium differently than it is taught.

Q. Could you describe one artwork or series from your oeuvre that you feel it was pivotal in your career?

A. I would say “Fear is like a forest”, it was really such a well received, powerful piece, it was full of flowers and spring blossoms yet dark at the same time, showing there is often another side to the expected. 

The female in the art piece  looked so proud and strong and it became my mission to portray women like this.


It received some prizes and was the beginning of my green and red phase, something I had taught myself through trial and error and it seemed to mirror my soul. I felt it was a real turning point in my career.

It was dark yet fiery, mystical yet full of flowers, passionate yet full of questions. It embraced my love of nature and at the same time showed females portrayed through my vision, as proud beings, at one with nature, willing to be at one with nature and not to destroy. So yes that played a very pivotal role in my art after that. 

Q. Could you talk about the process of creating and the way of expressing your work?


A. I am constantly creating art by observing the world and  then I suppose it takes a while to process and will often manifest itself like an epiphany when I least expect it or I have visions, sometimes I get very strong visions in that phase between sleeping and being awake, I get so many visions and ideas I write and draw them down, I always have a pencil and paper next to my bed in order not to forget. Then the next stage is to photograph the idea and I use other photographs to amalgamate them in Photoshop and draw on them and use texture to reveal a more painterly aesthetic that I love. 


I would love to continue to learn drawing techniques digitally and to use more multi media approaches in my artworks

Q. Are there any artists or works that have influenced you?


A. In photography, Duane Michals influenced me very early on, by showing me it’s possible also to re-create what’s on the inside instead of only capturing what one can see on the outside (what is thought of as intrinsically linked to photography). To capture what one can’t see, is what I strove for and still do. 


I was also influenced by Robert Frank who worked together with the beat poets and also made dark and highly emotive work that I admired and then later on, Brooke Shaden, who uses photography to manipulate her images digitally and comes out with sublime images that touch the soul deeply.


In painting the list is so long as I love art so much, I enjoyed Jugendstil growing up and had Gustav Klimt prints hanging over my bed, him and Botticelli greatly influenced me to express feelings and using nature and flowers within my art.

Q. Where do you get the inspiration for your work?

A. I suppose in a way I am constantly creating art; by observing the world around me, reading, watching films and listening to music and poetry. I like walking and taking photos and life is a constant source of inspiration as is traveling and looking at old churches or castles or modern buildings or sculptures, I love street art and other artists they inspire me greatly too. Images upon images are added in my mind, poetry becomes visual, stories an image, ideas become concrete and if there are things happening in politics those ideas come out in my work too. For example political things I am very fervent about like feminism and for inspiration I go all the way back to the ancient myths and legends and goddesses, to show the strength women have. 

The darkness in my work comes from my love of dark fairytales as a child like the brothers Grimm or stories about witches and vampires, I still am drawn to dark stories, I feel they have extra layers of depth, that stories where all is well, just don’t have. There is nothing that happens in my life that doesn’t, creep back into my art.

Q. What do you hope that the audience takes away from your art?

A. I hope, some people, may take away with them, the feeling that they are not alone with their thoughts and emotions; that there is someone else out there who has similar ideas and worries, that although there is darkness there is always hope and one should ever give up hope. I would love it if they take a bit of wonder and magic with them too, to be surprised and to reflect upon this world.


Hopefully, I can help people to view women in a more multi dimensional light too, that would be brilliant.

Q. What is your dream project? Could you tell us your plans and aspirations as an artist?


A.My dream project would be a commission for a book or more album covers, I have made some for friends, something very dear to me is to collaborate with other artists. 


Otherwise, an art book of my own one day, maybe a collaboration with another artist or a poet.


Exhibitions with friends where we have control of the space and make it a unique multi-dimensional / multi-sensory experience that everyone hopefully will remember for a long time.

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