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Art Seen

SIX OF ONE: ALEX DIAMOND

Six Quick Questions
With One of My Favorite Artists

In the Field with Lori Zimmer

June 2011

The artist Alex Diamond is in a constant state of flux. A master of painting, illustrating, photography, sculpture, video and performance, the man is artist to the core. All this creativity requires working non-stop (I can relate to that one), and his robust body of work vouches for that fact.

His latest reinvention is “The Alex Diamond Mining Company,” with an exhibition tour called “Into the Night.”  Meticulous woodcuts evoking Hokusai are fused with Alex’s statements on modernity and the journey of the urban artist, while delving into the night.

His last persona, “Being Alex Diamond,” was a successful exhibition as well as a monograph.

1. What are you currently obsessed with?

On a meta layer: Repetition. Iteration. Identity. Tradition. Branding.

On a hands-on layer: Wood. Sharp blades. Aerosol. Connecting, extending and exploring different materials, mediums and techniques. For example: Combining century-old woodblock printing with graffiti, from a technical standpoint and in terms of repeating a subject across various media.

On the obsession list these days as well: shades of blue! I’ve been working hard on finding the right combination of blues that work across all techniques currently applied by The Alex Diamond Mining Company: in wood cut, printing with oil- and water-based paints, spray-painting, painting with acrylics and illustrating with markers, ink and the computer.

One of the most fun and most obsessive parts of the projects Alex Diamond (or these days The Alex Diamond Mining Company) engages in is the research phase, especially in “material science.” Getting the job done when you know your tools and trade is a beautiful thing.

Well, at the end of the day, all work done here is about obsession. It always starts with an idea, a thought, an inspiration, something that sparks the excitement to be explored further, and if it does so, it’s then investigated, followed-up, iterated, and either lifted to the next phase or thrown into the trash. These things take time, and if obsession doesn’t take over quickly, it is tough to live through it–and the whole thing becomes a job instead of a passionate art project. And thus not worth doing at all.

2. Describe your work in three words

(Oh. Well. Seriously?) Pleasing yet disturbing…

3. What are your favorite recent exhibitions?

 

Rik Reinking‘s Group Exhibition “Meanwhile in deepest anglia, thunderbirds are go” in Wuppertal, Von der Heydt Museum. Nina Braun‘s “Lovers Rock” at heliumcowboy, Hamburg. “More Future” by Willehad Eilers at HLP in Brussels.

4. What is your favorite place and why?

The studio. In the unseen. The only place Alex Diamond truly exists. The great thing about that place is that it can be anywhere in the world. Or in outer space.

5. What is your go to karaoke song?

No karaoke experience at The Alex Diamond Mining Company yet, but it is a great idea for the upcoming show in August at the Vicious Gallery! It could work nicely: a karaoke booth in the gallery, a place to have fun after all the hard labour. It will probably all be country and countrybilly/rockabilly songs on the playlist, that seems to blend best with the overall atmosphere of the project installation and the exhibition theme. I will have to let you know the winning song afterward–and yes, you can take credit for bringing this up!

6. What book has most influenced you?

Not one–many. Part of the approach of Alex Diamond/The Alex Diamond Mining Company has been to be very dedicated to the theoretical backbone of each project. These days, in the current venture, with the use of traditional wood cutting and printing techniques (and also blending traditional themes with the unique Diamond-styles developed over the course of time), obviously there‘s been many books about Japanese wood cutting artists (Hokusai, Hiroshige, to name a few), as well as more recent masters such as Horst Janssen, etc.

On the fictional side, new books are added to the list of most influential ones all the time (unless a book makes it impossible to finish, so those are best avoided), which makes this a tricky question. Influences come from all sides really…

Two really strong ones were Diary by Chuck Palahniuk and The Secret Life of Salvador Dali by Dali.

And don‘t ever forget to mention all the great comic books created by people such as Mike Mignola, Neil Gaiman, Grant Morrison, Alan Moore, etc.

Alex Diamond is an artist who works in multiple styles and mediums. He has been said to “live solely through the art he creates.” His latest reinvention is “The Alex Diamond Mining Company,” with an exhibition tour called “Into the Night.”

LINKS:

Alex Diamond

Helium Cowboy

Written by Lori Zimmer

Photography of Art © & Courtesy of Alex Diamond

Design by Devon Pentz

Captions:

Pages 1-6:

Alex Diamond & artwork, 2011, Courtesy of Alex Diamond

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