Art comes in many different shapes and forms, it just so happens that German artist Viktor Sobek’s work comes in a form slightly larger than your average Mona Lisa Canvas.
After finding his passion for creativity at a young age Viktor followed his love for the arts and began to create on a massive scale. With his talent in one arm and mission paint like music in the other, he set off to make plain street walls happier and bring joy to viewers from all over the world. Although his creations are on the larger side he makes it clear the “the strength must not be borne by the size.” We often walk around cities and gawk in admiration at the work on the walls but rarely often wonder how it got there. Standing in unison next to strangers from all around the world appreciating that someone has shared their talent with the world. Viktor describes this unspoken connection amongst strangers as ‘indescribably special. Faces can convey a feeling quite well and it is understandable to all people no matter what language they speak.”
In a world where the majority of our time is spent looking down at our feet Viktor Sobek is an artist who makes the world look up from their Instagram feed and come into contact with real life art. Viktor plans to travel throughout Europe with his wife and 2 children in search of more dull walls to renovate. On his journey of wall renovations, he found the perfect canvas to transform an IRK Magazine photo by French Cowboy, into a large scale eye catcher.
Painted in the Cranach Foundation in East Germany this piece graces the wall of Lutherstadt Wittenberg gallery. By transitioning between background and foreground the work of art is presenting through a mix of combat blue through a monochromatic painting physique. This style allows for an interesting almost porcelain texture mixed with the detailed patterns from the garment.
Please find IRK Magazine’s full interview with artist Viktor Sobek below.
When did you start painting murals and How did you get into this art form?
Like most muralists, I started with graffiti that was in the 5th grade when we were supposed to develop a logo for our initials. At that moment, I was just thinking about drawing, not even painting much. After graduation, I went to New Zealand, where I did my first artwork, painted walls in hostels or on vans. Even then I was tempted to work big and see my art as a medium of exchange. After my stay abroad, I got a degree in art education at Giessen and moved after three semesters to the art college Burg Giebichenstein in Halle (Saale), where I focused on painting. Actually, I have a degree to teach sports and art I have never been a teacher.
The art school supported me, my work, and showed me new possibilities. Through the street art festival "Freiraumgalerie - All You Can Paint" I had the opportunity to paint my first large mural and meet other Uraban Art artists.
You also paint on canvas, what makes murals so different from painting on canvas for you? What do you prefer?
The difference between a canvas and a mural is very big and somehow not.
The finished picture must work in all sizes. The strength must not be borne by the size. The big difference is, the murals are painted in public, I influence the environment of many people, bring them into contact with art without asking them. Many respond and ask questions, talk to each other. Art becomes communication. What is bizarre is that I cannot influence the viewer directly. The canvas is painted in the quiet, and hidden. In the studio, I can do whatever I want, that's my world. Here mistakes are also allowed. I do not have that feeling outside. But I cannot say that I like one thing more than the other. Murals & canvas are one for me. One for the summer and another for the winter, so it never gets boring.
When looking to start a mural, where do you look for inspiration?
I have a folder on my laptop. I collect everything in it that find on my way through the net. Simply everything, that is not just figurations or paintings but also furniture, architecture, plants, posters and much more.
In front of the wall, it is usually clear what I do, since I know before I start what it should look like in the end. Over time, I have developed a clear aesthetic and notion of how one of my painting should look to me. I keep developing and chasing the utopia of the Perfect Picture.
The environment of the wall also plays an important role!
The portraits are of different origin. Friends, pictures of photographers, models, residents, students and more. I try to collect as many portraits as possible to have the widest possible selection. These are usually still collaged or edited, then serve as a basis
Do you share a visual story through your murals? And how do you insure your message gets across to the viewers of your work?
As I said, I cannot influence the viewer. I do not care much about what the pictures might mean or say to others. I act very intuitively.
But my goal is to create a feeling of how music works. Establish for a moment a connection that is controversial to the everyday and somehow indescribably special. Faces can convey a feeling quite well and it is understandable to all people no matter what language they speak.
In the past, I developed the project Art4Bed, where I exchange my art for accommodation. When I travel with my wife and two children, I can combine my work with my private life. The special thing is that we get to know the country more intensively and to experience many great stories. A Win Win situation!
Are you part of a community of street artists and if so how do you support each other?
In the past, I have worked in different collectives and with different artists. But I noticed that it is difficult to share a precise idea with someone. Working alone is faster and requires no collusion, but you can do more in the community and have more skills. Therefore, I worked together for some time with the erfurter artist Kai Siegel. We share many similarities and each one has special talents that we manage to bring together. So on my biggest wall of 36 meters. We plan to act under a common name: TULIP
Viktor is constantly creating work wherever he goes. Here are some other examples of his work and you can find him at https://www.viktorsobek.com.