Carl Krull is a long time friend of Juxtapoz that we’ve featured here a few times. His illustration work consists primarly of topographic lines, painted in an almost illusionary way to provide depth and invite interpretation. Like many artists, as he grows and changes, his artistic practice do alongside him, which leads us to Krull’s latest series titled Omicron. The title is inspired by the concept of space and also a reference to his daughter Mira, which explains in the interview below. The body of work came about right after his daughter was born, and consists of 100 drawings made over the course of a year. This series, along with some other pieces, are the focus of a new show at Hans Alf Gallery with the title Resonance. To get some backstory, we spoke with Carl about the new show and series, check it out!
What’s been up in your life since the last time you interviewed with Jux in 2017?
I just finished a bunch of large drawings I call the Barrier series. They are painted with ink on paper. It has been fun and liberating working with a brush instead of the pencil. The rather strict seismographic method I had been using earlier has really loosened up and the approach has become much more caligraphic. Besides drawing, I spend a lot of time with my family, my kids are small and time spent with them is precious. Last year I also did my first major sculptural work which I called Subterranean. It was made by digging two holes in the ground, the right and left side of a head. The holes were then filled with concrete, and finally pulled out of the ground and put together. The sculpture weighs 29 tons and is probably the most crazy project I have done in my life so far.
What’s your work/life balance? Do you take long breaks or get a lot done all at once? How does this look on a day to day level?
Work and pleasure seem to be entangled in one another. I love what I do and I’m happy to say that I can’t really differentiate work from spare time. Usually I get a lot done at once and I prefer only working on one thing at a time. My studio is only a couple of steps away from my home, which means I can go back and forth between home and work anytime. My wife, kids, and myself move in and out of these territories we define as home or work many times a day, so my studio is an extended part of our home.
How would you describe this newest body of work? How long have you been working on Omicron?
I took me about a year to finish the 100 Omicron drawings. They were made a couple of years ago, and I had just become a father, so a large portion of the the drawings were made during my daughters naptimes. Astronomers use the name Omicron to pinpoint a stars location in a constellation, and I chose the title because it makes me thinks of space. I remember having this screensaver called SETI many years ago, it showed data from space being analyzed and depicted as graphs and charts on the computer screen. The way the drawings are built reminds me of these charts, and it makes me wonder what actually goes on when they emerge on the paper in front of me as if by themselves. The images that come out of this technique also resemble the iconic album cover for Unknown Pleasures by Joy Division, it’s an image of stacked radio waves from a distant pulsar, but were actually first thought to be a signal from some kind of extraterrestrial entity. On a more personal note, an alternate name for the star Omicron Ceti in the constellation Cetus is Mira, which is my daughters name. After finishing the Omicron series I began working on the Barrier series. As I mentioned earlier, my approach and method changed. Instead of looking out into space I guess I wanted to show the space in which my objects were placed. Now, shapes no longer emerge from an either horizontal or vertical equilibrium of lines. Instead, the network of lines now slice through the drawings from angles which emphasize the sense of dimension and perspective. The lines are bouncing of both background and the surface of the figures inhabiting these topographical territories, as if caught by sonar and echolocated in space.
Do you have plans already set for beyond this show?
Next month I’ll be making a 5 meter tall wooden sculpture in Helsingør, Denmark and in September I’ll be participating in a show called Copenhagen Creatives at Maison du Danemark in Paris. After a 10 year long break, this year I plan on taking up painting on canvas again. I very much look forward to what will come out of it and can’t wait to start exploring new territories on the canvas.
Have you been traveling much? What has been your favorite trip and what is your favorite place to visit?
Yes, I used to travel a lot with my parents when I was a kid and have continued to do so ever since. I studied at the art academy in both Poland and Mexico, and have lived in both France and Japan. I wouldn’t say I have a favorite place, but I have visited Cracow in Poland almost once a year all my life. When I am asked to pick a place I would like to go next, I always feel like choosing a place where I can spend time on the beach.
What’s your dream project? Has this changed?
Don’t know if I have just one dream project, so I guess it does change, or rather my dreams multiply. So, basically I wish to continue doing what I’ve got going, and hope I’m lucky to have lots of years ahead of me. And most importantly, something that will never change, I want to pass on the happiness and love I have felt throughout all my life to my children, and to see them live fruitful lives full of love.