This work is inspired by the 1958 Sci-Fi movie "The Attack of The 50ft Woman". It is a story about greed and fear and betrayal and passion that ends in chaos and murder and ... well, it is just onother love story really. Check out the trailer on youtube, it is a great movie and you can see a lot of the elements that made it into my artwork.
A little bit of background: Every day on my way to the studio I drive my bike past a shop in Hamburg called "Andere Welten" (Other Worlds). We used to live above that place and it is one of these rare gems of real -life stores that are full of passion and dedication. If you are into Science Fiction or Fantasy, this is the place to go when in Hamburg ...
Anyway, I ride past this shop daily and for a very long time now they have the poster of this movie in their window. And after working on my new series "The Freedom Paintings" earlier, the idea forms in my head to recreate a billboard from the 50ies applying the trashy and slightly abstract style used in those. It is not just a tribute to the movie, it is a tribute to movie making in general, and to a lot of the things I mentioned earlier, and of course a comment on our times, and and and.
I am very happy that this piece found a new home with a lovely couple in California , where it kind of belongs.
Inspired by the music of Charlie Parker and Miles Davis and blending it with country and punk in my head (and on the record player at the studio) it is a sweet little in-between group of works that merges my past as a painter with my woodcutting techniques of today.
This is very poetic piece. "Close Your Eyes And Count To Ten" may be seen as a modern totem pole ... This work is so rich with "content", you should explore it with time.
It is a large (126 x 102 x 37 cm) sculpture "hanging" on or "coming out of" the wall - see detail images below to understand a bit more of the depth itself and all the layers I built.
It was first shown at the exhibition "Weapons Of Mass Seduction 2", my duo show with Victor Castillo at heliumcowboy in Hamburg Nov-Dec 2017. I have posted the video from that exhibition below, it also includes some video footage of this artwork, which may helps to see a bit more of it.
I am insanely happy with how this one turned out, considering the complexity of the construction ... but yet again it is also a bit frustrating to only have images on the internet to show for it, because to fully experience my work one needs to see it in the original. Facebook or instagram etc. can't do it justice at all, so I hope there will be a chance again to show it soon somewhere in the offline world.
This was actually the last piece I've finished for my exhibition "Weapons Of Mass Seduction 2", my show together with Victor Castillo at heliumcowboy Nov 11 – Dec 16 in Hamburg.
"Finally A Cowboy" is a sculptural, painted woodcut that floats on the wall. It includes a bit of my biography ;) and seemed to be the perfect work to close* this eventful year in which I turned 50 and heliumcowboy 15 years old and I had the privilege to share so many beautiful moments with so many wonderful people over the course of the past 12 months.
To early for an annual review, I stop myself here and hope we find an opportunity to chat personally about all this at some other time. If you are in Hamburg, this could happen at the exhibition, which is open until Dec 15, or at the Finissage we'll host on the 16th (more info / FB event).
PS: If you are interested - you can check the availability of this work at the heliumcowboy artsy page.
PPS: this is the work I have been working on when the NDR was at my studio to film and interview me. Here's the vimeo-link to the feature if you haven't seen it yet.
* note: well it ain't the last piece I made in 2017, but still ...
This is probably one of my more self-explanatory works. So no words of wisdom from me this time. You‘ll figure it all out yourselves! 🙏
One thing though: This work was created for the 25-year anniversary exhibition of the Galerie Wolfsen in Aalborg (Denmark), opening September 23. Kent Wolfsen and Rasmus Fischer picked me up for their fine gallery in January 2016, and I am super grateful for everything they did for me since.
„Welcome To Bear Mountain“ is a sculptural, multi-layered woodcut, painted and brushed/sponged with acrylic paint. One layer is additionally covered in transparent resin. It was produced in Hamburg in my studio between January 26 and February 14, 2017.
ABOUT THE ARTWORK
In my recent work „Welcome To Bear Mountain“, I am once again creating a dialogue between nature and urbanity in todays society. The larger-than-life bear resting on the hilltop; the various people climbing or standing on top of him, holding flares, flags or each others; the high-rise buildings in the background as a contrast to the mountain range in the front - there are a lot of details to discover and explore in this dioramic wall-sculpture. The work is composed almost like a theatre play - with plenty elements of drama.
There are signs of fiery protest and revolution (the flares, the flags, the propaganda-poster-like posture of the trio on top), there is a huge calmness (in the bear and the mountains) and there is hope, in the shape of the masked child and the father figure holding it fast and secure.
You are welcome to join - thus the title - and take your part in this play. Find your own characters and explanations and stories. Choose your side and pick your role. Get involved. Even if you are not into acting and more the spectator-kind of guy: that‘s totally cool, but don‘t just lean back and relax - stay alert.
That is the underlying inspiration for the work: Let‘s jointly face the tasks at hand, which in the state of the world we live in right now are to resist and to prevent and to care. We have to stand together, and the (in this story purely fictional) ‚Bear Mountain‘ is a place where everyone is welcome.
It is probably to easy (and wrong) to file this piece solely under ‚political‘. For me it is full of the romantic and passionate voice I tell all my stories with. But it surely takes a critical stance in a more obvious way than some of my other work. Being more direct and blunt here of course is a concession to current times. When democracy and human values are at risk, holding still and hiding somewhere in front of theTelevision and behind Facebook (etc) is not an option: „You will not be able to stay home, brother / You will not be able to plug in, turn on and drop out“ (Gil Scott-Heron, ‚The Revolution Will Not Be Televised‘, 1970).
But again I have to stop myself here from going too far into the details and the background of the work. I firmly believe that this piece can have a completely different meaning and significance to whoever gets close enough to explore it.
Whis is part of the luxury in art: It is my luxury to spend countless hours in the studio (or wherever I roam, actually), meandering in my thoughts and working away with sharp blades and wood. It is the viewers luxury to get inspired to let her or his personal thoughts wander - or to just give a fuck, of course ...
Whatever your part in „Welcome to Bear Mountain“ will be - I hope you enjoy this work as much as I did creating and building it.
Jörg Heikhaus aka Alex Diamond, February 2017.
This artwork was created for the inaugural exhibition of the new Jonathan Levine Gallery in Jersey City on February 18, 2017. It is a sculptural, 4-layer woodcut, painted and brushed/sponged with acrylic paint. It was produced in Hamburg at my studio between December 27, 2016 and January 18, 2017.
The artwork tells a story of modern day life, of nature and urbanity, where a cemented world becomes the background for various smaller stories of individual human (and not so human) beings, told with lots of imagination and spurs of absurdity in mind. With the bear and the forest as other key elements, this piece is also about trying to keep a world in balance that seems to become crazier every day.
„The World Is Yours, Baby“, the title of this work, is something you‘d tell someone close to you, to inspire that person to go out and explore, create and grow. But it can also be seen as a challenge or a warning to take on responsibility and be commited.
I stop myself here from going too far into the details of, for example, all those people in the work, even though each and one of them does mean a lot to me. I do not like to give too much insight in my thought process behind my artworks, because I want to leave room to your own story to find its way into the image. One of the reasons I love to work with layers is because they create depth and hidden places, thus building spaces in the artwork that can be taken over by everyones‘ imagination. I hope you enjoy this work as much as I did creating and building it.
If you are interested in acquiring this work, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
The exhibition "Welcome To Jersey" opens February 18, 2017. It features an amazing line-up of artists, and I am very honored to be a part of this very special exhibition amongst Adam Wallacavage, AJ Fosik, Alessandro Gallo, Alexis Diaz, Andy Kehoe, Ashley Wood, Augustine Kofie, Beth Cavener, Camille Rose Garcia, Carlos Ramirez, Chloe Early, Cryptik, Dan Witz, Diego Gravinese, Eloy Morales, Erik Jones, EVOL, Gary Taxali, Haroshi, Hush, Jeff Soto, Jim Houser, Joel Rea, John Jacobsmeyer, Jorg Heikhaus/Alex Diamond, Josh Agle (Shag), Kazuki Takamatsu, Mab Graves, Martin Wittfooth, Mary Iverson, Matt Leines, Matthew Grabelsky, Michael Reeder, Miss Van, Nick Walker, Nychos, Phil Hale, Ron English, Shepard Fairey, Tara McPherson and Tristan Eaton.
Something very personal: This is a painted woodcut of my wonderful family, cut after a photo that was taken at a big farewell last year. It is a very special piece that graces our living room now. This is the last work I did in 2016, called "The Traveller".
It is a rather small work (24x30 cm), that is why it doesn't have many details - there is a limit to precision when cutting small pieces of wood, but I love the roughness and reduction of the carved lines here.
(Oh yeah, and no beards on Melvin or me - the original photo was taken in the beard-free phase last summer, and I don't do "cosmetics" on woodcuts 😎😂)