A)I am Katrin Plavcak and 36 years old - I was born in germany and grew up in austria. For a few years now I live in Berlin.
Q)How did you get started making art?
A)As a kid I was drawing a lot and with age 16 I went to a school where painting was taken serious.
Around 18 a friend of mine tried to get into arts academy - I joined him painting for the exams. I got more and more into it and couldnt leave it anymore.
Q)How would you describe your art?
A)It’s mostly representational painting. Weird people and strange sceneries.- political stuff and half abstract tryouts.
I start with a painting and then I try to create a kind of surrounding for the paintings - very rudimentary – like some sculptures from papermachee or wood and plastic or a murial. I put them in a small scene and see if the paintings can take it. To check the contrast or to see the conflict - to broaden the scape of the paintings. Just to give them a sort of context to be in.
Q) Who is your biggest influence, both art and non-art related
A)I studied with Sue Williams in Vienna at the arts academy and she was very important for developing my approach on art. To make a piece of art and deal with a content.
I love Magritte, because he uses realism to play around with forms. And I think that’s where my interest is right now too.
I like William Kentrige a lot for his political statement in his work and at the same time it is very poetic.
I like Nicole Eisenmans work a lot for the weird , surreal paintings and the messy installations and great murials.
Peter Doig is still one of my favorite painters, because the closer you walk to his paintings, the deeper they get.
I just red „Wilderness Tips“ from Margaret Atwood, a story called „Hairball. A woman gets a cyst size of a coconut operated and brings it home in a bottle of formaldeyde. She names it „Hairball“ and reflects her relationship to a man because of talking to „benign“ hairball.
Stories like that are a big influence for me right now.
A)I freely aassociate things and start with an image I found or an article, or a title, a sentence and then I rembember other photos I collected and try to find them and see what they do together.
I listen to music a lot while painting, some lyrics or a certain mood in a song can strongly influence me.
Or radio – latley I listen to a wissenschaftsmagazin on deutschlandfunk called sternzeit where they always talk about space and new technology – that gives me great ideas.
Q)What's your favorite medium to work in, and why?
A)I paint in oil, I like it’s smoothness and the fact that the medium is slow and keeps open, while you work on it.
If I build stuff I like provisorial materials from the hardware-store. Simple constructions to demonstrate an idea. I built for instance a „satelite“ or what I thought what comes close to it. The inspiration came from the nasa webpage. I saw a photo of one and had to laugh, because it looked so crappy. I wanted to have one too, so I build one.
Q)Is your work all hand done? Or do you use any computer tools to help out?
A)Sometimes I make collages on the computer, but they are very basic - more like cutting things out and glueing them together.
But yes, I like to make my stuff myself. It keeps me close to the process and thats kind of luxury these days.
A)I like too see it more in terms of people. Can be great to exhibit with cool artists in cave. I think the worst places to exhibit are art fairs.
Q)I'm always interested in where an artist find their inspiration. Where do you find yours?
A) I collect lots of stuff – I read the news – lots of press material - collect old books, make lots of photos myself. Friends send me stuff, cause they know I’m hooked.
Q)How are the reactions on your work in general?
A)I think that representational painting is for many people much easier to acess, than other arts. Lots of interpretation going on and misinterpretation. But thats ok. People love stories.
Q) What are you doing when you are not creating art?
A) I read a lot, go see movies and exhibitions and I love to travel.
I think of having an animal, but cant decide which one...a pig would be great.
Q)What are some of the greatest challenges that you think artists face today?
A) To have a point of view,. not to get drawn too much to produce a sell-able art-product. Pick up on certain challanges society is facing
Q) Do you believe that a person is born with a talent to produce art or can anyone can be taught?
A)I think it’s about that you see as a child that drawing or painting is something you can use for yourself. And then you eventually use it.
A)I like my sculptures a lot – it’s new for me and big fun to figure out how to build something without knowing it. I feel like a carpenter. I think I like all the stuff more where people say : Oh – what’s that? Stuff which is edgy and doesnt look to good.
A)For a recent show I build some black smokers / termal fountains from deep sea from papermachee – It was pretty messy making them and I liked them in the exhibition. It’s like you put another layer to the work.A barrier too.
For an upcoming show end january in the gallery mezzanin in vienna I build 2 sculptures. One looks like a big tank and the other one has a coffin–shape like from the photos you saw from the war between Lebanon and Israel. I’m courious how they work together with the paintings and if it makes sense to people.
Q) What advice would you give to younger up and coming artist?
A)Organise shows yourself together with artist-friends, look at art a lot and don’t stop doing art.
Q) Who are your favourite artists & Your favourite galleries?
A)Favorite artists right now are
Amelie von Wulffen
I like the galleries who have stuff of these artists and I like my gallery mezzanin, cause they sell my paintings and I can make a living out of it.
Q)Do you need others to tell you they like it before you feel validated?
A)Yes, shure, I do talk to some very close friends about stuff which is just about to get ready.
Q)Tell us a little about some of the different types of jobs you've had over the years, before/while doing what you do now. For someone who is starting out in art, how would you recommend they go about making a career out of it?
A)Uh, I was working at a place for drug addicts where they could stay and get medication and food. And for a few years I did nightshifts at a place where ex-prisoners where living and played lots of darts and poker. That was during my study at the arts academy and about 2 years after my diploma. For a while I took care of children from foreign mother’s , so they could learn german
For a month I was working at a second hand store - but I hated it. It was dusty.
Plus I was paid very lousy.