Back Talk: A Conversation with Andrea Offermann

Juxtapoz // Friday, 18 Nov 2011
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Andrea Offermann is currently displaying a new body of work in Thinkspace Gallery's Project Room. Here Be Dragons features a series of pen, ink, and watercolor works. We sat down for a quick discussion with the artist... here is a brief statement about the works...

"The human mind seems always to be driven to explore the unknown and try to make sense of it, collecting and building the pieces into a bastion of knowledge to take refuge behind. But this knowledge is often one-sided, many mysteries and revelations are passed unseen, the bastion is weak and hollow inside. Curiosity for the unknown, yet fear of something strange, lead to exploration along one path without deviation or an eye for undiscovered truths along the way. The result is a poor reconstruction of the one facet that has been focused on.

"In my new series of works I am playing with some basic human desires, the desire to recognize oneself in ones surroundings, creatures, other humans, the desire to understand something and make it useful, and the desire to leave something behind.

"Recognizing oneself in objects and landscape immediately triggers a connection, a sense of comfort. Trees with the resemblance of human faces become building material. The landscape is shaped and built upon to form a connection to the people, the human leaves marks that he can recognize, fields, houses, ladders. Objects, animals, shapes that are unfamiliar are ignored in favor of the ones that seem familiar and give a sense of home.

"Yet the figures in my landscapes do not see or understand the "creature" they are walking upon, they take parts they recognize themselves in, without seeing the whole, and create a hollow image of themselves, instead of trying to see underneath the surface and combining what they know with the new they have learned."

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1. One reason you make art:

To analyze through images, offer a kind of intuitive understanding and reflection, to myself and others.

2. The last good movie you saw:

Baraka on DVD, "Kinshasa Symphony" in the theatre.

3. Something you’ve always wanted to do, but have yet to:

Visit Africa.

4. Favorite country or city visited:

There are too many I haven't visited yet.

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5. A few words that sum up your philosophy on life:

Just make sure it's your own decision and noone else's.

6. Something you want the world to know about you:

Uhm... don't believe everything you read?

7. Something that annoys or frustrates you about people:

When they think they know whats going on in your mind, and judge you based on that assumption.

8. Something that concerns you:

That my phone has replaced my memory.

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9. Artists you admire:

Escher, Remedios Varo, Max Ernst, Craig Thompson

10. Favorite quote(s):

Nothing is more difficult and needs more character than to find yourself in open opposition to your time and say aloud: no! Kurt Tucholsky (please excuse the rough translation from German )

11. The first record or CD you ever bought? The last album you downloaded?

Pink Floyd Live Album / Sade

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12. Something you do when you’re procrastinating?

Staring into treetops.

13. What is your most defining characteristic?

Always questioning everything.

14. What is your greatest fear?

Cowardice.

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15. The moment you realized you were an ‘artist’:

Anatomy course during med school: We were dissecting the human body and I kept thinking: "I want to draw that." I was fascinated with what I saw almost more on a philosophical and aesthetic level  than on a scientific level.

16. Your greatest quality:

Openminded / curious.

17. Something you wish you could change or alter about yourself:

Be more decisive/less thin-skinned.

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18. What is the biggest risk you’ve ever taken and was it worth it?

Dropped out of med school to become an artist. Yes!

19. Something you wish you had known five years ago:

That I would really have to take the plunge. Then maybe I would have done it earlier.

20. What do you hope to accomplish in the next five years of your life?

Create more fine art, work on a graphic novel, see Africa...

Andrea Offermann's work will be on display at Thinkspace Gallery's Project Space through Nov. 26th


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