By Fred Currant and Max Von Menzing
Q: Why did you choose to paint the mountain massif of “Untersberg”?
Stephan: I had already spent many months during my trips to Salzburg looking at the mountain from our garden. The mountain, the mood it exudes and the rapid changes of light cast a spell on me; I fell in love with the view.
Q:When did you first start with your series of the “Untersberg”?
Stephan: I believe I made the first sketches in the summer of 2003.
Q: What were those sketches like?
Stephan: First they were only outline drawings of the silhouette and then I incorporated the many facets of the mountain by recreating the cliffs, the pastures, the forests but also the patches of snow or the fields of gravel. But in the end it is all about the mood.
Q: Are all the drawings and paintings from the same viewpoint?
Stephan: More or less, every mountain looks different depending on where you stand. My Untersberg is the one you see from where I have been sitting and standing for the past several years.
Q: Do you use a variety of techniques?
Stephan: The sketches and drawings are mostly in ink or felt pen. Some of the paintings are in oil, acrylic or spray paint but most of the pictures are cut-outs and collages of paper soaked and painted with oil colors.
Q: Why do you use a cut-out technique?
Stephan: From the place where I usually sit, it seems as if the mountain was put together like a puzzle. I recreate the many pieces of the puzzle, where each piece is distinctively different.
Q: How do you make the cut-outs?
Stephan: I paint papers the size of the intended picture by soaking them in different batches of oil paint and giving them structure; then after they have dried I put about a dozen sheets on top of each other and cut the pieces out with a regular box knife.
Q:Does that mean that you make more than one copy of each picture?
Stephan: Not really, every piece is unique and has a different expression and intention.
Q:That sounds like making copies, as a craftsman would do it!
Stephan: Maybe, every painting and picture has an aspect of craftsmanship to it.
Q: You speak of the making of your art as if it were conceptual!
Stephan: There is always something conceptual about making a real object.
Q: Did you already do landscapes at an early age?
Stephan: When you start making paintings as a child landscapes are very important, as an adolescent one of my first cut-out collages was of a city at night. In the seventies I started to make painted over photo-collages and many of them became a landscape just by introducing perspective.
Q: Do you do other landscapes too and what are they like?
Stephan: Some of my running ink and circular motions series contain elements depicting sculptural elements that resemble landscapes or parts thereof.