Inside the Studio

Detlef Gotzens

Favorite material to work with?
I work with any medium: acrylic, oil, watercolors, and also charcoal or other drawing mediums. Currently, I work predominantly with acrylic, but many times I start with acrylic and finish with oil.

What themes do you pursue?
I usually work in series that can be based on some representational image, like in my rational space paintings based on a landscape view. This is actually always the same view out of my studio window that I keep photographing all year round and at different times of the day. My intention is to use the landscape as a point of departure by adding other grid-like elements and also abstract sections to transform the image into a new visual space, if that makes any sense. But I also like to pursue Abstract Expressionism and let the process of painting take me on a journey that I don’t know where is going.

How many years as an artist?
Since a very young age, maybe around 10-12 years old. I was always drawn to images that were made by painting and started to copy pictures by drawing doodling all the time. My mother still has a box full of these. I was 15 when I became an apprentice in one of the oldest stained glass studios in Cologne. Since we executed projects for many well-known artists’ at the time, I was always exposed to art. My focus was, of course, more on the glass as an art form then. When I decided go back to school and study Glass Technology and Design, the training also included some formal art training and that brought me back to painting again. Since then, I have pursued both architectural art glass as well as a sculptural medium and painting equally until today.

Where is your studio?
It is in the countryside about 50 kilometers southwest of Montreal, very close to the New York state border.

What was the best advice given to you as an artist?
“Learn how to be rejected, and don’t be discouraged. Believe in yourself and keep going!”

Art school or self-taught?

Prefer to work with music or in silence?
I like working with music, from Classical to Blues and Jazz, depending on my mood!

What’s around the corner from your place?
Milk farmers and apple orchards.

Where can we find you outside the studio?
I’m not very active besides going to a museum or gallery show; I practically live in my studio.

If you couldn’t be an artist, what would you do?

Day job?
Sometimes teaching, but mostly in my studio working every day.

Favorite contemporary artist?
Gerhard Richter.

If you could only have one piece of art in your life, what would it be?
One of Gerhard Richter’s abstract works from the 1980’s.

Who are your favorite writers?
I don’t think I have a favorite writer because I read many things. Currently I’m reading Christopher Hitchens, whom I find very interesting. I also like Colleen McCullough, like The Grass Crown and The First Man in Rome.

Do you ever use anything other than paint?
Glass, metal, stone, wood…

Is painting dead?

Favorite brush?
No, I have too many…

Palette knifes?
Yes, or anything else that will do the job…

Monet or Manet?

Working with glass, especially the way I do, is incredibly machine-reliant and tool intensive because glass is a very technical, complex medium.

Ever get hurt on the job?

Outsourcing or handmade?

Is bigger better?

Koons or Hirst?