I'm simply thrilled to share the work of German artist Arno Beck who utilizes various printing techniques in a combination of analog and digital methods to produce wonderful images and typewriter drawings, which often take numerous iterations to get just right. The video above is just fantastic, and for good measure I've included some of his color prints as well. A link to his site where you can see more of each is after the great Q&A!
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Can you tell me about yourself? Where are you from originally?
My Name is Arno Beck and I live in Bonn, Germany - that’s also where I was born and raised. I studied Fine Art at Kunstakademie Düsseldorf where I started off as a painter. However for almost 2 years now my main focus lies on experimental printmaking (Blockprint / Screenprint and typewriter-drawings which are also a form of printmaking [relief printing] in the extended sense). My approach of printmaking has evolved from a classical painting position, which has developed into a new, conceptual perception of post-digital painting. I still see myself as a painter in the wider sense and my work deals with ways of digital imagery and the analog transformation of those worlds into the pictorial space.
What do you enjoy most about using the typewriter to make work?
The visual outcome reminds me of an analog Gameboy Printer that I always wanted to have growing up as a kid. It’s a long manufacturing process, but I enjoy the deceleration, and it’s somehow relaxing to sit there and write with this old thing.
The typewriter is heavy and kinda loud, too. It’s almost like a musical instrument when you use it, and I like to think of myself as a musician when I'm typing, as I am naturally working to the rhythm of the sounds when I create patterns with the typewriter.
On top of that I love the typewriter itself as an object very much. By now I possess 4 different ones in different colors, shapes and sizes. Love for the bygone and nostalgia plays a big role here, too.
How do you begin a piece? Do you plan ahead?
To a certain extend the motives initially are drafted on the computer, however from there it’s just a long trial-and-error process until the point where I am satisfied with the outcome.
The design on the computer is just an approach, and I have to type a motive several times until it looks the way I want it to be. It never works the 1st, 2nd or 3rd time around.
After the first draft I decide if there needs to be more contrast for example and then I start over and so on…
What is your studio or workspace like?
I’m quite flexible choosing where I work, when I use the typewriter. Unlike when I'm working in other techniques, I’m not bound to a particular place or a studio. So all I need is a table and a lot of time (sounds perfect for jail time).
As a recent graduate, what do you consider to be the biggest challenge you face right now as an artist?
I like to consider myself lucky so far since I graduated, because one exhibition led to the next one up until now so there were now big gaps in between, with the next goal ahead that kept me working on new stuff constantly. Fingers crossed that people keep being interested in what I do and that I get opportunities to exhibit and show my work in the future.
A big challenge on an artistic level, for example, is to be aware of possible artistic dead ends. For me that implies not being stuck in one place, but moving on to other projects and constantly finding new ways of expressing myself. Development and growth are keywords here. Shaping a brand without limiting oneself to what people expect from you, and keeping the ability to surprise with your next step.
What do you think of as your biggest accomplishment or most exciting moment in your career so far?
I'm glad that I won this scholarship with my graduation that kinda gave me a jump start and helped me to start believing in myself. I was really intimidated by the idea of putting together a solo show in a short period of time which was connected with a lot of self-doubt. So that really was an important experience for me that made me grow a lot.
What do you wish you had more of, or what do you need most, as an artist?
More time, no appointments - focus!
I'm trying to keep that inner child alive, playing and looking at the world with an almost naive curiosity. I think that's a key feature one should maintain for themselves. Growing up is for underachievers.
What is the best advice you've been given?
Do you have any upcoming shows or projects that you're currently developing?
I have my first Solo Show called 'Syntax Error‘ at Galerie Ampersand in Cologne coming up. The exhibition will be on display until January.
I definitely want to develop and push my ideas further - there are a lot of projects in my head. I will continue experimenting with different ways of printmaking, and I also want to pick up painting again and connect it to what i’ve developed so far.
Find more at arnobeck.de!
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