ArtAttack‘s next The Other Art Fair artist interview is particularly unique and will undoubtedly capture attention due to artist Christian De Wulf‘s original trade, psychotherapy. De Wulf uses this background extensively in his creative process, interpreting his understanding of the psyche into imaginative pieces of art work.
The Belgium-born artist believes that the underlying psyche of an individual is not easy to determine and in his work, looks at what happens if you magnify those inner-most thoughts, emotions and feelings.
Personally, what I find most interesting about De Wulf is that he is not just an artist/art lover, but works alongside seemingly non-art related personal interests to create his works. Of course, his collections resonate in modern society due to the extensive connection between art and therapy and the contemporary use of art therapy.
What first appears quite simple — acrylic paint and canvas — involves a great deal more than meets the eye and we are delighted to share this with you.
ArtAttack: How did you become involved in creating art and how did your journey with abstract painting [specifically] start?
Christian De Wulf: From what I can see, I have always used painting and art as a form of joy and self-expression, even as a kid. It all started at the age of 12 by winning a painting competition, which involved all the schools of Brussels. Painting specifically has always played a part in my life, by painting portraiture of my family and friends, which became very quickly abstract. Abstract gave me the possibility to reflect certain concepts and emotions that I wished to voice. With the ‘Reverie‘ series, my work took a new direction; the search of new materials made it possible to incorporate the multi-dimensional elements of all painting. I began to explore how the canvas itself can be used as a medium in a new way, or how an artist can manipulate the frame of a painting and thereby the frame of vision.
AA: I have noticed a large portion of your works have an impasto element to them. Is there a particular reason or artistic meaning for the added texture?
CDW: The works make a lot of use of the impasto technique but also the unique technique of the application of a special foam to make the canvas 3-dimensional. The technique is the very message of the works. It is my ambition to speak the unspoken, to show the invisible, to open up the hidden, to unlock the enclosed and thus to turn emotions into visual structures. The technique allows me to landscape human emotion on the canvas. These paintings can be read as mind maps loaded with meaning and emotion and in a certain way they are the sum of the human experience: valleys of calm and peace to mountains of rage. Emotion wins over ratio. The painting becomes a sculpture. The technique is a fundamental part of the meaning of the works.
AA: Have you experimented with other genres of art aside from painting?
CDW: I also enjoy photography and print making. Maybe in a next stage I’ll try to incorporate them in the work I make now.
AA: What is it about ones psyche that interests you?
CDW: I am also still practicing psychotherapist. (Not as much as before, just enough to keep my mind stretched). As such, the way that people create and express emotions as a result of their experiences is a daily part of what I think about. I meet many different people with a range of issues. The way in which people express or hide their emotions and the decisions that lead to such expression are fascinating. One of the chief areas of interest for me is how people internalise the normative experience and how that may clash with what their true desires and thoughts are. How people interact according to social norms or family norms and when they depart from them is very interesting.
AA: Do you observe people to create your views or do you interview them – what sort of process do you use to achieve your interpretations?
CDW: I use a lot of my own experiences and my psychotherapy work to inform my painting. It all starts with a sentence, a word, an expression, a quote, referring to a certain context. Then the image reveals itself, in my mind. The rest is labor, making sketches, studies, etc….till the final result.
AA: Have you got any future projects/plans line up that you can share with us?
CDW: I have two gallery shows coming up at Gallerie 1831 in Paris (May and September). I will also be participating at the Rotterdam International Art Fair (September), The Accessible Art Fair in Brussels (September). The Affordable Art Fair in Amsterdam (October), and finally, my work will be displayed at the MVVO Art Fair at The National Arts Club in New York in November.
For more on Christian De Wulf, visit his WEBSITE.