What function does art have in society?
Achim Schmacks depicts. No motifs or predetermined shapes. He creates images of a society and expresses themes. His often non-figurative representations have meaning. Black is the most important part of his work. Different shades of black and surface designs create different light reflections. His works appear in light and change with light, just as society, artists and viewers are subject to constant changes. Schmack's work focuses on religion, the environment and the media. The color black does not convey a state of mind, it is a means to an end. Schmacks uses black to reduce his expression to the essentials.
When did you start working as an artist and why?
When I was 26 I decided to work as a freelance artist. No job, no training or university could give me what I needed to express myself. I didn't want to learn, I wanted to make and reflect my own experiences, no technology or theory, I developed my artistic training myself.
How was your way to what you do artistically today?
My path consisted of many detours that I wanted and had to take. At a young age, life consists of many role models and people who shape you. My creativity is and was inexhaustible, I don't know boredom, just boredom in my environment that I cannot determine or change myself. My path was therefore a constant change, every other profession is a compulsion for me. I hold out my own cage, which I have created or design for myself, for a while, only to move on again to look for and design a new one.
Who or what influenced you?
I was influenced by many people in my life from my family and friends. A senior teacher from the Rhineland, who unfortunately passed away a few years ago, influenced me a lot. She showed me a way and encouraged me to go this way and do my thing. She said to me: "Achim, you are an artist, now live this and do it as long as you want to be an artist." Furthermore, I have always been influenced by the artists and art that were or are a little further away from the mainstrain. Artists like Beuys or Kiefer have influenced me, strong personalities like Soulages give me the strength to express myself and continue my art.
What is your concern with your art? What do you want to express?
I want to create a mirror of society with my art. Both the past, which is very close to my heart because it was analog and did not know the digital world, and the future are important to me. It is my concern to draw attention to things that determine our time. Whether it is climate change, the way we deal with our planet or interpersonal relationships in social media. I ask questions and give answers at the same time. I express what moves me and hope that I can transport it in such a way that it moves people and maybe also changes the view of some things in society.
Which techniques and materials do you prefer?
I prefer materials that I can find. Old things, traces of civilization, traces of nature or things made by human hands, such as tools or components from old buildings. I also prefer found objects from nature, traces from nature, from water or from the earth. For my murals I prefer black pigment, filler, sand and paper such as book pages. Much of my work is done with fire. I set fire to my works of art to change them, I let flames form and change my works. Fire indicates the end and at the same time gives the possibility of new life.
Is there a work in which you have invested a lot of energy?
"Lost in thought" is a triptych, which consists of three canvases that I have pasted with around 500 pieces of paper. I described the sticky notes with messages from social media, messages to me. It is news that seems rather unimportant. News about food, parties or boredom. I colored these messages with black pigment and arranged them geometrically on canvases. The work of art thus contains the unimportance of many messages, messages from social media that have been made illegible in order to show the unimportance.
When a child asks you what you do artistically, what do you answer?
I black out everything and see what happens.
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