Interview: David Crunelle

First few basic questions, who are you, what are you doing, where are you coming from?

I’m David Crunelle, an art director from Brussels, Belgium, mostly doing communication advice to companies and institutions. Lots of suit-and-tie stuff, corporate meetings, permanent pressure, not as creative as people think it is. Adult life, I guess. I do have symptoms of workaholism and hyperactivity disorder, so I multiply creative activities and other projects leading me to basically turn everything into work. I’m a professional photographer, I have this Instagram influencer thing, been teaching a lot, I have a music label, I publish books, run a communication agency, etc. Add to these time-consuming hobbies and you’d have a clearer idea of what my life is. Still, I feel like a have tons of free time and don’t do much.

Why collages? And how did you start to do them?

Having no artistic background or training, collage was the fastest way to achieve what I had in mind. I started 5 years ago, developed a methodology and a process, working in series, at a very fast pace. There’s no mystic romanticism or spiritually creative aspect to it. It’s just ‘work’ to me, the fun aspect being the challenge I set at the beginning. Collage is the basic technique of the compositions, but I add epoxy resin and paintings, just to raise even more the challenging aspect of the process.

“I know exactly where I want to go, there are no trials-and-errors, I go straight to the point.”

When you begin to work a new piece, do you have a clear vision of what you are going to do or where to start?

It’s perfectly clear. I know exactly where I want to go, there are no trials-and-errors, I go straight to the point. It allows creating things faster and in series without this activity swallowing up my whole time. I don’t work on several pieces at a time, I finish one and go to the next, and only work a couple of months a year on them. Being very busy in general forces me to focus on this creative activity, which I try to raise to the “art” standard I define myself. It may look like I’m extremely productive, but I don’t feel it that way, it’s just part of the process, it helps to create more in less time.

What’s the best part of the collaging process?

When I’m about 98% done and see I realized what I wanted from the beginning. The only satisfaction in the process is when after hours/days/weeks of annoying doubts, it finally reaches a point where I can qualify it as “art” or at least “artistic” in my book.

And then, what’s the hardest part?

From the start to this 98% status is just painful work to me. I admire and jealous these artists who are ‘elevated’ while working, in a meditative and creative vibe, enjoying what they do. I’m just the opposite, I hate the whole process, it’s just exasperating. The faster I can reach the goal, the better. I discussed that a lot with other artists and see two categories of creative people: the first one accepts to suffer to achieve something good, the second one wants to have fun, whatever quality the outcome is. They’re both alright I guess, but I can’t do things if it’s not for a final result I can be happy with. I just can’t.

In your artworks, what are the most important elements to yourself?

Most of my work is filled with symbolism and messages, to a point, it may become ridiculous for some. I just don’t feel like making things that have nothing to say. There’s also a lot of personal elements and references, sometimes very obviously. I stopped explaining too much the meaning of the artworks because I found the interpretations of the viewers way more interesting and rewarding, but I know viewers love to hear the backstories and hidden symbols, it brings them a new reading grid that they usually appreciate a lot.

What emotions do you think your works transmit for the viewer?

I hope people find it “beautiful”, despite the complexity of it. It’s no abstract mystical nonsense, it’s very straightforward, but at the same time extremely dense, vibrant and complex. The challenge is to make something the viewer can fully dive into and spend a lot of time decoding while having an initial positive impact. It’s easy, especially with collage, to make something nice and appealing for the first seconds before you forget about it. It’s hard to make something demanding, intense, full of messages and symbols while keeping it “beautiful” at the same time.

What has been your hardest work to build/create? and why?

I can’t really think of any particular work being hard to make. The processes I developed for the various series always required some time for conceptualization and technical aspects. That’s the things I’m thinking of when I take the subway or waste my life in airports, it’s not part of the creative process in itself. I would, therefore, say that the technical aspects are the ones using my brains the most. Like “how can I be more precise when I’m not patient and expedite things very quickly” or “how can I make this clean while being a total impatient mess”. This is the hardest part of making things, but when you find the solution it’s just a question of executing things in that steady process I hate so much.

What keeps you collaging? What excites you about it?

Hyperactivity and workaholism. Making artwork is not that oasis of wellbeing and self-rewarding creativeness. At the risk of sounding dull, the exciting part is having the viewers feeling something. I have no artistic ego, I don’t really focus on codes and rules of the contemporary art world or the “collage community”, which I don’t feel really like a part of. But meeting all these creative people and sharing experiences, influences and stories are very exciting. I met some awesome people since I started a few years ago and that’s definitely what keeps me motivated.

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

“Intense” would be great but again, I prefer to hear the word viewers would use to describe my work, that’d be way more interesting.

David Crunelle aroud the internet

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