Q + A with Viktor Timofeev by Sean T. Ellis
Viktor Timofeev recently took some time out of his busy schedule to sit down and talk with discosalt Magazine. Here’s what he had to say:
DISCOSALT: Where are you from?
VIKTOR TIMOFEEV: Riga, Latvia
D: What is your history with art?
VT: I used to make comic books about Patat, a character who is a talking pack of Pommes Frittes I ran across in Rotterdam when I was 8. Consequently, I only started drawing again after I had a major skateboard injury when I was about 17. It took about another 2 years to take it seriously and enroll in school.
D: Can you briefly summarize the process of your work?
VT: All of my work, whether its music, skateboarding, works on paper or large paintings need to be resolved through drawing. Drawing has been key to every part of my practice, from times when I simply couldn’t afford or didn’t have space for painting, to figuring out perspectival distortion, details of minuscule objects, etc. The first drawings tend to be super fucked up and scribbly, because of the rush of ideas after hitting onto something, then reworked more coherently!
D: How important is the role of color in your work?
VT: My interest as of now is to the use ‘found’ color, that is pre-configured loaded palettes, whether its a palette of color found in a Soviet Bloc housing project, or typical RGB, CMYK, BRY or black and white. It becomes the most banal color choice – either everything at once or none at all.
D: I hear you are spending some time in Germany…what do you have going on over there?
VT: I had a bit of an argument with the Academy in London after beginning the semester in September, so I dropped out and came to Berlin like tons of other people because its still possible to live here without a full time job. So now I am making as much work as possible, perhaps reapplying to some residency/post-graduate programs all over Europe. I don’t have a job right now, but I have been able to sell things here and there and also keep assisting an artist I worked for in NY, Tobias Putrih every once in a while. We will see where this goes! But the art community here is pretty ridiculous, everyone is on level and psyched to create!
D: Further to that: what, if anything, do you miss most about New York City?
VT: I get those moments when of course its like What the fuck am I doing here? Let me go back to NY. I miss my family, lame answer I know but my brother is 7 now and he looks up to me quite a lot. I didn’t have any siblings growing up, so I would like to be there for him. Also, the familiarity of language/ culture is quite nice and comfortable in NY, but I could also argue that that is a reason I needed to leave. So family and friends, skating in Tomkins Square Park, and the sun setting at 5 instead of 3, like it does here.
D: What direction do you see (or hope to see) your work taking in the next few years?
VT: It needs to up the ante; I’ve been compositionally stealing from renderings from Herzog de Meuron and things like this, but basically I need the paintings to battle successfully but a rich art history and also the history, and quality, of architectural representation. I can see it getting super super tight before slowly loosening up some elements, like painterly-ness or something like this. It is hard to say as any anticipation defeats process so I will just have to take it as it comes.
D: Who are some of your favorites artists past and/or present?
VT: The work of my ‘boss’ and friend Tobias Putrih is pretty amazing, which is why its a great pleasure doing work for him. Norbert Bisky, Matthias Weischer and the other Liepzig guys are also pretty spectacular I think. Gregor Schneider, Steve Parrino, Wade Guyton and people in that posse are also really interesting. Before that I would say Ellsworth Kelly and Blinky Palermo for sure, El Lissitzky, Naum Gabo, and so on.
D: Is there anyone / [anything] outside of the art world that influences your work?
VT: For sure, music is hugely influential though I cant quite seem to pinpoint how. Slowdive, My Bloody Valentine, Ride are pure bliss, and then early Kraftwerk and Neu! records are also pretty stunning to listen to while making work. Lightning Bolt, Black Dice are also somewhat influential, though again, im not sure exactly how just yet. There is something about the sublimity of shoe-gaze music that makes it akin to the paintings of C.D. Friedrich to me. Also, keeping in touch with the world of architecture, new projects, new firms keeps me pretty inspired. Curbed.come helps me keep in touch with real-estate developments in NY.
D: What music is on heavy rotation in your headphones right now?
VT: Right now its a healthy mix of repeating the Kerplunk Green Day record with the Twin Peaks soundtrack and Lightning Bolt. Depends on the time of the day!