Interview: Jutta Scheiner

First the basic introduction – can you tell us who are you, where are you coming from and what are you doing?

I’m a Berlin based artist. I studied ivory carving and sculpture. I mostly paint, but during my time as an painter I used a lot of different materials to paint on, like thick cardboard construction, styrofoam, woolen blankets.

You’re also a very talented painter, but now we’re going to focus your collaging, so why how did you started to do them?

During my time as a painter in the past, I used collage as a tool to build a composition for a painting. Since almost one and a half year, I have done collages which are meant to work as on their own. That was in a moment when I wanted to make a little break from painting, because I moved to a new studio. And after acclimatisation to the new place, I recognized collaging as something that satisfied me so much, it is very quick in the results if compared to my painting process and also it gives the possibilities to process mental things and ideas. So I went on doing them parallel.

You use intriguing with silhouettes and human form to create beautiful surreal collages. If you look back, how you quickly you found your ”style”?

The human figure is something that is always central in my work. But in the beginning of this collage period I felt very free. I was very much inspired by other collage artists and what I was looking for, was to explore the possibilities for myself. I wasn’t to eager to find an own style, everything felt so light. For a time it was more the body and its sexuality but recently it is the face. That is where I feel closest to me, right now, but in the same time I lost a bit of playfulness.

Which one of your works presents you the most?

That is not an easy question and maybe I can’t answer it. I feel closest to the one I did today or yesterday. It’s the same with every artwork. After finishing them, I’m not in them anymore, but someone who looks at them from the outside. I call it collage diary because I put some current mood in them. So maybe the right answer would be to say, I feel closest to the one I’ll start today. I hope that doesn’t sound too aloof.

Can you tell us about your collaging process? How do you start to work your pieces? How do you select the subject?

I’m looking for faces, mostly women but sometimes men. And then I try to combine the face with something from an other context (that’s the collage thing!), I’m letting the face tell me something from its inside. You could say, I use the collage as a narrative tool. And what I also almost always try, never to destroy the beauty of a face completely, but to find a balance between the outside and the inside.

During the time you have made collages, how is your creative process developed/changed?

It became clear to me, for which I am interested. For example collaging with art history material, I feel close to the artwork of someone else. I look closer at it and it feels a bit like I could touch it really or as if I get in contact with the situation the artist did it. I just know better what would work for a collage and what not. But while I’m working, there is still a lot of searching and working with coincidences. I don’t know what the best combination is and it doesn’t always work in the end.

When you begin to work a new piece, do you have a clear vision what you are going to do? How much your works ”live” or change from the original vision?

I try to stay in simple forms. I prefer one object or subject. I want the look of the collage and the look of the face, if it is a face to be multi layered. To create balances between old and young, smooth and rough and so on. And it is always a process, seeking and finding.

What is your work space like?

In my studio where I paint is a big table and at home there is a big table. Both for collages. I have books and other materials in both places. I do collages at home, when I’m with my son. And I do them in studio, when there is studio time. After finishing a collage I put all the stuff back on stacks and boxes to make space for living or painting. I would prefer a big room with many tables and shelves only for collage work. I would leave unfinished collages open and maybe let them talk to me during time and let them tell me what they need.

What are your favourite source materials? How do you find them and do you spend much time searching for them?

My favorites are photo books. I love portrait photography and art history books. Basically it’s the same material that inspires me for my paintings. I go to the flee markets, pick up old books from the street, find fashion magazines in paper garbage cans, or when traveling, buy a new one for the train. When I’m somewhere else like on vacation etc. I work with reduced or local materials, which is fun and a challenge.

If you should describe your art with one word, what would it be?


Jutta Scheiner around the internet: