Interview: Victoria Reichelt
Victoria Reichelt malt hyperealistische Bilder alltäglicher Objekte – zuletzt eine Serie von Portraits moderner australischer Künstler, die statt der Abbildung des Gesichts des Portraitierten dessen Bücherregal zeigen. Für mich als Buchliebhaber ein gleichermassen faszinierendes wie ansprechendes Konzept.
…even when I went to art school and people would experiment with other media but I would always just stick to painting because that’s what I enjoyed the most…
Diskursdisko: Hi Victoria. To start things off, what’s your background? When did you start painting?
Victoria Reichelt: I started painting in high school and fell in love with it then, so when I left school I went to university to study Fine Art and then did postgraduate study in painting.
I’ve never really done anything else – even when I went to art school and people would experiment with other media I would always just stick to painting because that’s what I enjoyed the most – and it’s the medium that I felt best expressed my ideas.
At the moment I am really interested in collections of objects. Everyday objects like books and DVDs en masse appeal to me…
Diskursdisko: How do you mainly produce your art? Do you have a system or method that you adhere to?
Victoria Reichelt: Basically I spend a few weeks planning out an exhibition or a body of work and then I arrange and take all the photos that I will work from (to look at to make the paintings) and then I paint for months until they are all completed! It’s all very methodical – I paint full time, about nine hours a day. Each painting can take from a few weeks to a couple of months to complete, so you have to be organised to make sure you have time to make a sufficient number of works for each exhibition.
Diskursdisko: What inspires you?
Victoria Reichelt: At the moment I am really interested in collections of objects. Everyday objects like books and DVDs en masse appeal to me – just the jumble of colours and mass of information that you can put into an image – I love that look in a painting.
Diskursdisko: Your paintings have always been very naturalistic, and are progressing toward extreme photorealism – how did you develop this style? Can you tell us a bit about the work involved in achieving this high amount of realism in paintings?
Victoria Reichelt: As I said, I always work from photographs – I won’t even begin a work until I’ve got a really good photo to work from because it’s all about the photo! I spend quite a bit of time lighting the objects so that they look a certain way and will make good paintings.
There are no real shortcuts when you make realistic paintings – you just have to spend heaps of time doing it. Areas like the text on the books are the most challenging to paint and require the most concentration. And then once a painting is finished, you have to move onto the next work and keep the other one around so you can keep looking at it to see if there is anything that looks wrong about it – sometimes it takes a while for you to realise what the problem areas are and how you can go about fixing them.
Diskursdisko: I’m quite intrigued by your recent series of portraits of bookshelves, being a book lover myself – where did the idea for this come from?
Victoria Reichelt: Well, I always liked the idea of doing portraits, but I am not very good at painting people! So I thought making portraits of peoples bookshelves was a way to get around that. It’s just a different way to approach a portrait which reveals more about a person than just their appearance.
The series of portraits I have done have mainly been of contemporary Australian artists. By painting portraits of them through their bookshelves the viewer is able to find out a lot more about their inspirations and influences then they would by simply seeing a representation of what they look like.
Also, like you, I really just love books. I love to read them, but I also like them just as objects (if I wasn’t an artist I would have loved to design book covers for a living).
Diskursdisko: You’ve obviously got the website at victoriareichelt.com , any other presences on the web you’d like to publicize? Social networking?
Victoria Reichelt: None apart from my website.
Diskursdisko: As you use the internet to showcase your art, are there any other websites you feel have influenced you, opened your mind or shown you new ways of creating art?
Victoria Reichelt: I look at a lot of design blogs like the InsideOut blog & The Design Files, but I spend most of my time looking at other artists work online. There are a bunch of Australian painters whose work has really inspired me including VR Morrison, Julia Ciccarone, Kate Shaw, Christine Aerfeldt, Sam Leach & Jan Nelson.
Diskursdisko: Of all the work you’ve created, or at least the ones showcased on your website, can you name a couple that you have a special love for or connection to?
Victoria Reichelt: I love the bookshelf portraits the most. My favourite of that series is the one of Abbey McCulloch – she is a very cool Australian painter and a good friend of mine and I like hers the most as it really reflects her personality and her work so perfectly.
Diskursdisko: Do you have any specific plans for the future direction of your artwork?
Victoria Reichelt: I am going to keep painting books for the time being as I have a few more different directions I’d like to push that particular subject matter – my next show is in November at the Dianne Tanzer Gallery in Melbourne, Australia, and so I am currently working on the paintings for that show.
Diskursdisko: Victoria, many thanks for the interview.
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