Questions: The Stuckist manifesto attacks art school education, saying it "...has become a slick bureaucracy, whose primary motivation is financial." Do you agree with the Stuckists opinion of art education? Do you think artists coming out of art school today are misguided by the educational system? Is there too much emphasis on theory and postmodernism?
That I can not answer from personal experience, because I have never been to art school. The main point here is that at a university people are being prepared for a CAREER and art school is no difference. For me the emphasis has always been on the ART ITSELF ignoring the career consequences. My objective has been always creating, not learning how to support myself through creating.
Did you study art at the university level, and if so, what was your experience like?
See above. I don't fit too well into hierarchies and I am not good at taking orders. Painting is the one field in my life where there are no limits, no compromises, total freedom, I can do what I like. Going to art school would have meant that I would have had to subordinate myself to a professor who would then have tried to force HIS point of view onto me thus obstructing the development of MY way. I could not allow this to happen.
If you identify yourself as a Stuckist, does it necessarily follow that you dislike conceptual art, installation art, or performance art?
Not necessarily. The thing that seems to annoy the Stuckists (and most people in general) is that most concept art lacks honesty, that spectators feel that are being made fun of. To me most of it looks like a clever money making scam and it does give contemporary art a bad name. There may be exceptions to that, though, and the line is not clear.
Do you communicate with other Stuckist groups?
Yes very frequently, in fact the German Stuckists are holding group exibitions (aptly entitled STUCKOMENTA) regularly, the next one will be taking place here in Munich at the end of March, 2007.
Is the Internet the catalyst for your becoming a Stuckist?
The Internet is the platform that makes most things possible and even though I came to know about Stuckism by reading a book, all communication has been over the net.
How do you respond to the charge that Stuckists are retrogressive, reactionary, conservative, or their work is derivative of older modern art movements-that Stuckism is indeed "stuck" in the past?
Wo cares ? All art is derivative to a certain extent. Bear in mind that Stuckism is not a style, it's a movement. And all those terms are just words, labels put on our work by someone else. The only thing that really matters is doing the artistic work, painting the paintings, taking the photographs, drawing the drawings, writing the books, writing the poetry. What somebody else thinks is of no importance to me. I am an idiot today, a hero tomorrow, an idiot again the day after, who cares ?
Why be a Stuckist-why identify with a group if artists are valued for their individuality?
As a Stuckist you don't hand over your individuality when you walk through the door. I have not adjusted the way I live and work even a little bit. The only difference now (after joining the Stuckists) is that I am what I am but I also (additionally) am a Stuckist.
Do you follow closely the developments of the original Stuckists?
I check the webpage regularly and I am in loose contact with some of the other Stuckists.
Is Stuckism in your nation different from British Stuckism, and how so?
It is at a whole different level here. In the UK you have lots of groups and also a lot of attention. In Germany it is still totally underground, just a few people organising their own shows. Attention is growing, though, and doing indpendent exhibitions is a lot of fun.
Do you agree with Charles Thomson and Billy Childish that art should be spiritually based?
How can it not be ? If what you do is not spiritually based, then it is hollow, lacking meaning, why bother ?
Do you think postmodern art practices are devoid of spirituality?I don't know enough about postmodern art practices to make a judgement.What is your opinion of young British artists ("yBas") such as Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin, Sarah Lucas, Jake and Dinos Chapman, Chris Ofili, etc.?
I have no real opinion about them because I have never met any of them in person and they don't speak to me through their work. If, for example, I look at Hirst's shark I feel ... nothing.
Do you think they are successful because they know how to promote themselves better than other artists do?Definetely. And because they have had the right people supporting them in the background.
Interview conducted by Duncan Cardillo, Wayne State University, Detroit, March 2007