The Committee & No 8. Present
“An Evening with Artist Robert Knoke in Conversation with Slava Mogutin”
Excerpts from conversation:
SM: Tell us about your artistic upbringing. You are a third generation artist, right?
RK: Yes, my father was also an artist and I basically grew up in his studio.
When I was about five years old my talent to draw manifested itself very clearly. I constantly tried to copy my father’s work because that was what I saw all the time around me and I thought I had to do the same.
The only problem was that the theme of my father’s work was naked bodies, so I ended up drawing a lot of naked women in high heels. When I did that in Kindergarden, they called my parents and asked if everything was alright at home and with my upbringing. They must have thought that my parents abused me or something… quite funny.
SM: Can you tell us about your inspirations? Why do you do portraits like this?
RK: I guess one of my biggest influences artistically are musicians on stage. I’m obsessed with musicians that can rock an audience all by themselves. Grace Jones, Diamanda Galas and Peaches. I love the abstract positioning of a single figure within a big space. I think that is the reason for how I compose my drawings. Most of the times they consist of one figure within a big space, starring at you. I want to capture that intense energy around them.
SM: You are often described as the “Black Matter” artist. Why do you like to use black? It’s also a very fashionable color.
RK: Well, I know that I got pushed into that “black corner”. That was never my intension. I don’t like the cliché of black and when it is overused as a fashion statement.
I really don’t feel connected to the “Black Matter” label. I am way more pop than you might think. I really love color! I just don’t know how to use it most of the time, because it is either decorative or is too narrative. But I do use more and more color in my resent works. It is all a natural process that takes time. Black is just a very simple color. No bullshit and straight forward. It is easy, quick and basic but also hard and elegant. I like that
Robert Knoke and Slava Mogutin in front of,
Bruce LaBruce (2007)
Photo: Julia Meier
Kembra Pfahler (2010)
Matthew Williams (2011)
Walter Van Beirendonck (2011)