Osif Seiksuh, born and bred in New York City, lives in Berlin since 1996. Working as a painter and sculptor Osif is influenced by the New York writing and graffiti culture of the 1980s. He is a member of the Berlin based artists' collective Diamonds. Seiksuh is a creator of abstract imageries, of worlds full of energy which he infuses with experiences and observations. He is experimenting with space and depth, just like an explorer who is constantly searching for new ways and possibilities to transfer his imageries to paper.
He has drawn his first lithograph for DRAW A LINE in collaboration with Tabor Presse, Berlin.
How and when did you get in on painting?
I grew up in New York's very own graffiti cosmos of the 1980s. The energy of the street and of the writing culture had a great influence on me. Driven by curiosity I got closer and closer to painting over the years.
Your works could be described as very lively. You combine various forms and faces with structures and you create new worlds: this seems quite chaotic at times. Which topics are you dealing with in your works?
In the foreground - a game between the readable and the unreadable. But also architecture - to erase and to create, construction and destruction as a strategy are always thoughts that I have. Finally it is the respective working atmosphere that adds a lot to the result. My mood in combination with the circumstances dictate the outcome.
Back in the days you used to work in the streets. Nowadays you are working predominantly from your studio. What does that change mean for your works?
Indoors, outdoors - that doesn't make a difference really to me. Working in warm, sheltered rooms is only a continuation. Working indoors offers me a universe in which there is a lot to discover. However, I benefit a lot from the experiences I made outdoors - an inevitable reflection. I learned a lot through working in the public space which I can apply indoors. There's for instance the confrontation with unexpected situations. You have to decide quickly. The decision making is directly transferable to the creative process behind my works. That's why it doesn't really matter to me if I work in the studio or outdoors. To me it is all about the moment - with oneself and one's senses, pushing it forward.
Your first lithograph came into being in collaboration with Tabor Presse, Berlin. Could you please describe how working on stone was like?
The stone with its even, hard surface is first of all unusual. Actually, I should be familiar with the material because of my work in the public space. To draw and scratch a stone directly is a different feeling compared to covering it in paint or to paint on paper - it's more concrete.
Does the fact that lithography is a printing technique have any influence on you?
Of course, a lot. What comes into being is multiplied. The stone is merely the medium for multiplication. It only yields results in cooperation with the 100 years old machine and the printers at Tabor Presse though. That's why I got that feeling that my way of working was not as spontaneous as it used to be. I made sketches beforehand. In addition to that I found it quite confusing that the stone prints mirror invertedly. This work was a cooperation between the printers, a machine, the stone, and me. A nice little excursion.
“This work was a cooperation between the printers, a machine, the stone, and me. A nice little excursion.”
Are there any parallels to your other works?
I use a similar language of forms and signs. Presently I work primarily with wax and oil pastel on paper, which feels of course way softer than drawing pen or brush on stone. However, the underlying principle stays the same: it is adding and subtracting - a modelling of imageries which was transferable to working on stone.
For some artists painting is an outlet, a personal discourse. Can you relate to that?
Well, maybe. There's certainly a therapeutic element when I free myself from complex issues by transforming them to images. Sometimes it is something like a relief, somehow even obsessive. You can compare it to that situation when you really want to tell someone something real urgent and then, bang!, the words just burst from your mouth like mad. Facts first! Emotion, expression, language, communication.
You are member of the artist collective Diamonds. What is it that you stand for?
Diamonds is a kind of lab in which a variety of forces interact. You could see it as a conglomerate of individual artists who share a common background. Sometimes we focus our skills in order to fuse into a coherent one. Maybe you could also see Diamonds as some sort of fetish club that applies certain variants of communication.