Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Amazing Art of Sebastian Krüger

I would like to share a short video of one of my all time favorite artists, Sebastian Krüger. Early in his career, Krüger met the members of the Rolling Stones. He was invited backstage by the band, who had become familiar with the artist’s work. Krüger was obsessed with the look of the band, and especially with Keith Richard’s face. The following is a glimpse into Krüger's work.

Sebastian Krüger Biography:

Sebastian Krüger was born in Hamelin, Germany in 1963. Krüger naturally developed left handed, however (as was a common practice) was forced to write with his right hand. Today Krüger writes, draws and paints with his right hand, and throws a ball with his left.

Krüger grew up the son of an architect. His artistic deluge began at age 3, when his father dragged him to numerous Disney movies. Krüger became plagued with drawing Donald Duck. His mind would recall Donald vividly, but the image kept moving around in the young artist's mind, it wouldn't keep still, causing Krüger to waste piles of discarded paper. Krüger's parents wouldn't allow him to purchase a still image of Donald at the comic stand. So he would study and memorize the image, then hurry home to draw it. If he felt unclear about a particular detail, he would revisit the comic stand for further study. Unknowingly, this trained the artist's mind to retain an accurate impression of the subject, to observe and memorize the details. A talent that would later become essential to the artist's work.

Krüger's fanaticism with lines and drawing continued until after high school, when Krüger enrolled in the Braunschweig University of Fine Arts. In his first painting class, he was handed a paint box with little colored squares of watercolor paint and a large paintbrush. These articles made no sense to Krüger (a detail minded artist). In general he found the art classes below his expectations.

To pass the time Krüger drew pencil drawings of the teachers. Not all of them, only those that he felt had interesting features or characteristics. Krüger's caricature drawings had gained enormous popularity among the student body and faculty alike. In hindsight, Krüger found school useful in that he learned valuable color theory.

Krüger’s first assignment (in the real world) was to paint cover artwork and inlays for video cassette movies. Supplied with a set of brushes and acrylic paints, it was sink or swim. He began teaching himself how to paint out of necessity. Krüger learned that he had to paint in many layers to get the desired effect. Also discovering he needed to use a brush down to one single hair in size to paint the finest details.

Sebastian Krüger proved to be an effective teacher as well as a star pupil. He has since painted the cover artwork for many important magazines such as Stern, Spiegel and Rolling Stone. And additionally completed cover contracts with Capital and L’Espresso Magazines. Krüger has also done feature spreads for Playboy and Penthouse, and has designed and painted several commission works for LP and CD covers.

Early in his career, Krüger met the members of the Rolling Stones. He was invited backstage by the band, who had become familiar with the artist’s work. Krüger was obsessed with the look of the band, and especially with Keith Richard’s face.

Krüger identified with the Stones, both artists considered outsiders, forced to transcend the doctrine of their generation in order to practice their crafts with freedom from established precepts. The Rolling Stones have come to occupy a large place in the artist’s heart and in his artwork. Krüger has become good friends with the band over the years, especially with Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood.

Krüger considers himself a portrait painter. Although many of his early commission jobs were for cartoons and caricature type images, Krüger’s free time was dedicated to his greatest love, portrait painting. In 2005 Krüger made the decision to discontinue commercial illustration, to concentrate solely on portrait painting and personal projects. Currently Krüger paints subjects of interest or commissioned pieces for private collectors.

Krüger’s approach is to study his subjects carefully. He reads their biographies and studies photos and video clips of each person before he paints them to get a strong impression of their characteristics. Then, while painting, Krüger becomes his subject, right down to the clothes they wear. Krüger once said, “I was Keith Richard’s shirt today” while walking out of his studio. Krüger intimately becomes what he paints to the point that he believes all of his paintings are a kind of self portrait. Krüger has a no nonsense approach to his art. When he paints, he uses intense concentration. The artistic energy takes over and its just the Krüger heart and the canvas; the outside world a distant memory as he layers down the foundation for yet another masterpiece.

Many earlier Krüger paintings were completed in one to five days, while some of his recent large-sized paintings have taken as much as six weeks or more to create. Krüger is revered by fellow artists and art aficionados, for his consistent ability to capture the true nature of his subjects, displaying precision detail and a remarkably accurate use of light and shadow. Krüger utilizes ever developing masterful techniques to capture his subject's personal aura.

There are currently in the neighborhood of 800 original Krüger works, 700 paintings and 100 drawings; Encompassing many different styles, with no two alike. Visit his awesome Blog below.

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