Name: Silas (Schletterer)
Birthday: 27 01 1976
College: Willem de Kooning academy of arts
How would you define yourself as an artist? – I guess I am an artist who feels the need to create art
Why art? How did you get involved with art? – The love for drawing was always in me. My mother told me that my teachers in kindergarten were often amazed by my drawings. I remember my brother had a book about how to draw those Disney figures and so I watched him draw, copied him and learned how to draw better and better. When I was 13 there was this new skate shop just around the corner from where I lived and every time I passed by this shop I peeked through the windows to watch all the skateboards exposed on the wall. The graphics were amazing. I thought this was the coolest thing ever… Art on a skateboard! And so I saved all my money and bought the most beautiful skateboard. It was a ‘Salba, Santa Cruz’ with graphics by Jim Phillips (years later I had it tattooed on my arm). Discovering skateboarding was like the biggest revelation ever for me. The scene was really big in the city where I grew up in. We all became the closest friends and skateboarding became a way of living for me. All day long we were trying to learn new tricks, making fun and bond with each other. If it would rain we went to an indoor parking garage and we would skate there all night long. These friends I skated with are still my best friends and somehow we all have these creative jobs. Maybe the reason for all this creativity is skateboarding and the whole skateboard culture we grew up in. Inspired by all the photos, artistic advertisements in the skateboard magazines and the skateboard videos we watched, we made our own videos and magazines and started playing in bands, making that same sort of music we heard in those skateboard videos. An outburst of creativity and a drive to be original in our own way. But that same drive was hard to find in school. Instead of writing down notes in class, I drew pictures and around the time to finish my exams in high school, I had no clue what college or what further education to go for. And that’s when it happened… I was lucky to have the best dean ever. Mr. Van Dijk called me in his office and said; Silas, I know you are obsessed with drawing… have you ever heard of the art academy? And so he gave me some brochures and sent me off to see what the academies were all about. And that’s the story.
What art do you most identify with? Art that tends to be candy for the eyes and soul. No screaming art or primary colors. I like melancholia.
What does “being creative” mean to you? It is the base for my existence. For me it does not necessarily have to be painting all day long. I fulfill my creative needs with making music too and can totally loose myself in it. I have a few record labels that publish my records. It is pretty cool to hold your own record in your hand with your own artwork on the cover.
What’s the best advice you ever had about how to be more creative? Don’t try to hard?..
What are you trying to communicate with your art? I try to tell stories in my paintings. But it does not necessarily have to be my story for the viewer to focus on. I’d rather have people interpret their own story, so they can connect with the painting. I also try to let my characters reflect an emotion, so the viewer may question the sentiment he/she emits.
What do you see as the strengths of your pieces, visually or conceptually? I am definitely not a conceptual artist. It’s all about the visual aspect. I like my models to be beautiful. Someone you would like to look at. The same goes for my color palette. Not using primary colors, but colors that create a dreamy atmosphere, so you can flow around in the painting.
What themes do you pursue? Humans and environment I guess.. My characters are lonely beings in search for other souls in a post-apocalyptic world. The landscapes are desolate, but nature survived. Befriended animals help the personage, leading the way by communication. And I love to make portraits too.
What inspires you to work? Films, nature and fashion photography. Beautiful people. Other artists. Music.
Colour: I don’t really have a favorite color. I can tell you though that yellow is my least favorite color.
Book: I really can not name one favorite book. I have read so many good books. A song of Ice and Fire by George RR Martin is probably one of the best series of novels ever. But I am a big fan of John Irving’s books too… A prayer for Owen Meany, Hotel New Hampshire to name but a few. When I was younger I did not read much, but The Beach by Alex Garland was a big eye opener for me. I love Herman Koch’s books too. Very smart written and humorous books. While painting I often listen to audio books. Right now I listen to books of the Norwegian writer Jo Nesbo.
Movie: The Terminator. Alien. Aliens. Interstellar. Inglorious basterds. Boogie nights. The big Lebowski… I just saw Dunkirk and Blade Runner 2049.. Both very, very good movies!
Food: Thai curry.
Quote: I’ll be back! (Hahaha!..)
Can we talk a bit about your process at the beginning of a project? How do you conceive of it? How do you build it in your mind before you start?
I save all kinds of photos that inspire me. Photos in books, magazines, on the internet, on Instagram… whatever. Sometimes I stop a movie and take a picture of the still, because of the composition. All these pictures I save on my computer in different maps; models/backgrounds/animals/etc… I come up with an idea and I can already sort of see the composition and colors I want to use in front of me. Then I make a sketch in photoshop and try to build the image piece by piece. If it is a portrait I am doing, I build my model piece by piece with different facial parts from different models. If I am satisfied with the sketch (after hours of changes) I start setting up the painting on my canvas. Sometimes things don’t turn out the way I hoped it would and I make some changes along the way. The most fun to do are my portraits where I feel free to use all sorts of materials.
What Role does the artist have in society? To make society less boring.
Do you suffer for your art? I certainly do. It fulfills my needs, but also gives me a lot of stress. Once I have finished another painting, I feel proud of what I have accomplished though and all the stress is forgotten.
What do you think about the art community and market? I really don’t have an opinion about that.
Should art be funded? Why? Yes. Supporting creativity is always a good thing.
What famous artists have influenced you, and how? Don Lawrence, Joe Sorren, Mark Ryden, Sinc, Andy Howell… When I was studying Illustration at the art academy I looked a lot at their paintings. I guess you can say they influenced my style. Later on I developed my own style and I have the feeling I am still learning and changing.
What other interests do you have outside of art? Making music. Check out my soundcloud if you like: soundcloud.com/machinegewehr
You seem to be very aware of the history of works. Where do you see films, photo exhibitions, art perfomances today? I love to go to Boijmans van Beuningen museum, De Kunsthal and The Player, all in Rotterdam, The Netherlands
How would your life change if you were no longer allowed to create art? I would be a musician or an alcoholic lowlife… Or maybe both.
some short questions now…
Colours: Oil paint colours!
Textures: Layers of all sorts of materials
Describe your style: “Define yourself”… (new) contemporary art
Define your art: Melancholy and dreamy
Art Fairs: The big Art Fairs during Art week Miami
Museums: De Kunsthal and Boijmans
Cities: Rotterdam, London, New York, Tokyo
Travels: My favorite holiday destination are the islands of Greece.
Artists: Hamadaraka, Femke Hiemstra, Frohawk Two Feathers, Raymond Lemstra,
Music: The Faint, Diiv, Hot Chip, Wavves, Zoot Woman, Pin Up Club, The Emperor machine, A Place To Bury Strangers, Souls of Mischief, Brioski, Cut Copy, etc.
Mobile App: Storytel.nl audiobooks!!!
Who are the artist’s you admire the most? The ones that keep on evolving.
What are your next projects? Making a painting for the album cover of the new Giant Eagles record.
Define Klassik Magazine for the audience? Intense,charismatic and of great international impact!