Thursday, January 3, 2008

Interview with Frank Kortan

q) Introduce yourself first please?

a)I live in Germany in Kalchreuth, near Nürnberg, but I was born in Prague, Czech Republic, where I started my professional artistic career originally as a musician. As I was not agreeing with the communistic political situation in Czech my wife and me decided to emigrate 1984. Such escape was really very risky at that time, because the borders to all west countries were closed, therefore we decided to emigrate through Yugoslavia and Italy. After very dangerous and adventurous escape we arrived in Switzerland, in Tessino. After one year we moved from Switzerland to Germany.

q) How did you get into art?

a)My interest to the art was there in general always, I studied music, because I wanted to become a musician previously; however I painted from an early age parallel. Unfortunately after our arrival in Germany I found out this is a very hard to find a good job as a professional musician on a continuing basis. Therefore I had to search for a new way for my future and as the painting was my passion too, this is why I decided to become a painter. Since that time (1990) I have been studying painting very intensively, during these studies I joined the German Trompe-l'oeil scene as well, because I was fascinated from the perfect technology of this style. But only Trompe-l’oeil this was not sufficient for me, I want to realize also some surrealistic idea, therefore my personal style is a combination of fantastical realism and surrealism with the precise technology of Trompe-l’oeil and this is a very big challenge for me. One of my focuses are surrealistic portraits in highest quality, e.g. I created an oil painting for the famous writer Ephraim Kishon.

q) Who has been the biggest influence on you?

a)In principal all interesting personalities in the field of literature and music, e.g. Frank Zappa, Franz Kafka and concern fine artists old masters who have differed clearly, e.g. Hieronymus Bosch and of course Salvador Dali.

q) Do you rule by any tendency in your creative work, or you only follow what comes in your mind?

a)I would say both, but at the beginning is always an idea and it does not play any role if this is a special order or one of my free works. For me is important that my style is clear recognizably after finalizing, everybody must say this is a “Kortan”. However this is really a lot of work, normally I am working several months on one painting, I study very intensively the given theme, I read books, I pay attention on correct elements that are integrated in the painting, e.g. when I am create a renaissance painting, there are only components, ornaments, and animals which belong only to the given style.
q) Do you have a preferred medium to work on? Why?
a)I create only oil paintings on wood at the moment because wood can be better undercoated. In order to apply my precise painting I need extremely smooth and fine surface without any imperfections. The surface must be fine like a paper. Undercoating of canvas is much more complicated, you will not get so smooth surface and therefore I do not use it any more.

q) How much does your environment have an effect on your pictures?

a)Should you mean my direct environment like a place where I live, so this does not influence my pictures. My direct inspiration is e.g. travelling, music, literature and meetings with interesting personalities.

q) Tell us about your studio space. Where do you work? Do you listen to certain types of music while working?

a)Maybe I disappoint everybody who thinks the classical studio of an artist must be dirty and chaotic,
and where the colours are thrown from the distance of 5 metres at the canvas.
My studio is the right opposite, I prefer to keep the things in order and I believe this influence the final result of my work as well, in some cases I am very pedantic e.g. a forgotten hair of brush in the painting disturbs me extremely.
My studio is integrated in my private house, which is in morocco and indian style with a lot of things we also brought from our travel trips and till recently the interior of my studio was very rational and insipid, almost minimalistic, but last year I furnished also my studio in the same style like my house, indian and morocco style. Now I am feeling very well there.
Concerning your question of music I personally love jazz music very much, my favourites are e.g. Monty Alexander, Jacques Loussier, Count Basie Big Band or Diana Krall, however with such type of music I can not concentrate properly, therefore I need some other “simple” music as a background while working.

q) Who are your favorite artists?

a)I have a lot of favourite artists, if I should call some of them, from old masters e.g. Philippe de Champagne and Gerit Dou and from contemporary artists e.g. Jacques Poirier, Rudolf Hausner and Oldřich Kulhánek.

q )When have you started using the internet and what role does this form of communication play for you, personally, for your art, and for your business?

a)I started to use the internet quite late, it is about 6 years ago, however without this I can not imagine my business life any more. In order to mention only some benefits, I recognize the value of fast communication all over the world and all types of publishing of my art. Furthermore internet is a perfect way in order to get all information you need.

q) What books are on your nightstand?

a)Unfortunately I do not have enough time I would like to have for literature at the moment. As I will work on a painting with Franz Kafka theme shortly, so there is a Franz Kafka book STORIES, which I need for my inspiration. You also will find there two books of my friend and great humorist Ephraim Kishon, I love his humour very much.

q) What's playing on your stereo?

a)There is a CD with jazz, Jacques Loussier Trio, Mozart Piano concertos 20/23 with string orchestra.

q) Any interesting "rituals" before you start creating?

a)I have only one ritual since 11 years, I walk with my “dog-friend” Monty (german boxer) before I start creating, this helps to clean my thoughts from daily stress.

q) What is your favourite colour?

a)I have no unfavourite colour.

q) What is the best time in the day for you to work on a project? Is there one, or is it more about the environment -- maybe the right mood?

a)My working day does not differ from working day of a non-artist. I start in the morning and I work very concentrated approximately 5 – 6 hours. But in principal there is no end of working day for an artist, because I think about my paintings round-the-clock.

q) What projects mean a lot to you at the moment?

a)It is interesting, but many doctors have interest in my artworks, a part of them are psychiatrists, must I be worried? At the moment there is really an exception because I am working on an order, surrealistic portraits for an anasthesiologists.

q)Your contacts…

a)Frank KORTAN
Heroldsbergerstrasse 23 a
90562 Kalchreuth

Phone: +49 (911) 313 975


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