In his works, Marius Seidlitz addresses the complexity of the claims to one self. What is beauty? Is there perfection? How much is the denial of the unmistakable self, to find any recognition? Seidlitz’s artistic creation/painting is formally shaped in many ways: Skill as an engraving master as well as from the design – precise approach of the design and the free creative use of spray technology and paint. His expressive images often spring from diverse women’s bodies that are imperfectly shown deliberately. The viewer sees colorful curves, multi-layered nudity in all the garish contradictions – between attraction and repulsion. But always multidimensional, always dynamic and never too accurate. Because beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Entangled bodies, hinted limbs and lips sink into color-intensive surfaces and dynamic lines. With acrylic paint and spray paints, Seidlitz puts the self and how it presents itself to the test. In his works there are no perfect noses and no perfect breasts, but the versatility of the imperfect. The bodies are naked, because the soul shows itself when it is naked. The human beings are complex and simple at the same time, they are always in a process of becoming.
Hi Marius. It’s a pleasure to sit down with you. As you know, this is always my first question, so here we go! How does a regular day look like for you in Chemnitz?
A regular day for me often begins with a certain morning routine. Getting up very early, coffee, a bite to eat, taking my dog for a walk through the nearby park and then it’s off to the studio. My way to the studio is only 10 minutes by bike, but I often prefer to walk and let myself be carried away by the hustle and bustle of the city.
So you’ve been drawing since a kid, and showed a great talent for it when you were 6 years old, where your teacher sent you to an art school in your hometown. Did you already want to become an artist back then? And did you stick to drawing throughout your childhood and teenage years?
An artist, no. But always making art, yes. I was a precise observer, and as a child I tried to capture my world as precisely as possible. So I drew houses in my place of residence, fossils, plants to capture them in the smallest detail. In the painting school, I was introduced to a wide variety of techniques as an elementary school student, and in the 2nd grade I took part in my first group exhibition. It took place in the town hall of Erfurt. When I was young, I tried out new things and designs. Among them were, concert posters and record covers for various bands. I myself played as a drummer in various bands during this time and got many orders as a result.
With that in mind you actually taught yourself how to paint. You went to another art school a little later in life, but didn’t finish. What’s the story there and how was that experience?
I started studying at the Bauhaus University. I thought the classic way to develop my skills and knowledge through an art degree were my own. I quickly came to the conclusion that the path I had been dealt, only aroused resistance in me. So it meant that I had to acquire the skills and techniques myself. It might have taken a little longer, but it felt better.
Sometime after this, you get a degree in engraving. I’m curious. Why did you choose painting instead of engraving as your main form of expression?
Because it’s the opposite. I knew I had mastered the fine craft of engraving. So I wanted to try out this new medium of painting. Take a clean new canvas and fill it with something. Everyone who truly sees the paintings with their hart feels the vulnerability. Nobody is perfect, and that is what makes them unique.
So how has your engraving background influenced the way you approach your paintings and the way you view art in general?
Engraving is precision work. It takes many, many lines to produce a perfect engraving. My challenge with my brushes is to make a big impact and evoke a certain feeling with few brushstrokes
How long have you been painting? And and when did you start taking it serious?
I’ve always been painting one way or the other. Devoting myself entirely to art was also a growing, steady process. At some point however, the art alongside conventional work was no longer manageable, I had to make a decision. I chose art. It always presents me with new challenges, makes me reconsider my feelings about what I have experienced and never bores me. I left the safe haven of a job in 2022, and started working full time in my studio. So far I haven’t regretted it a single day.
While we’re on the subject. Your earlier work was a mixture of acrylic and spraypaint. Now you stick to oil paint. Why did you come to that decision?
Time used to be a big factor in my art. It was limited, and so was the use of the materials. It’s different with oil. When I paint with oil, it is clear that I will work a few hours on a piece. The colors are dynamic in themselves. Their texture and pigmentation. Completely different works can be created this way. Experimentation has been an important part of my career so far. New forms of expression. New techniques often broke with the previous ones and new motifs emerged, as well as a new visual language.
Your color palette is crazy. Can you talk about your approach to color?
You think it’s crazy? They have to harmonize with each other. That’s the most important thing when I choose colors. And that happens almost automatically. I also paint in monochrome. Because then the motif moves more into focus, I like that. The viewer can fully engage with the motif itself. The color is also often based on a certain feeling, a condition.
When you and I first stated talking, i told you that i thought it looked like you used an airbrush for your paintings. But you actually use a regular brush. How long has it taken you to perfect your style to how it looks now?
I use kabuki brushes. I was painting at home one evening, and I had accidentally left my brush case in the studio. So I grabbed my wife’s makeup brush. It is fantastic for smooth transitions! I also use a wide range of different flat and round brushes. So it wasn’t a long process, and it was something that happened out of a small necessity. Painting with oil is always a new challenge. I love that and I like to push my own limits and push myself and my abilities from work to work.
So who are the characters / cartoons in your pieces? And how do you come up with them?
Sometimes it’s about female characters who deal with the social pressure of perfection, becoming completely surreal or breaking down as a result. Sometimes the female figures are also a symbol of an emotion. Daily situations, events that I have experienced or even my children often flow into the design process.
While we’re at it. When you start on a new painting do you already have something visualized of what you’re going to paint? Or do you simply go with the flow?
Mostly I make rough sketches. Fast lines without to much explanation. That happens when I’m sitting on the sofa, typically in the weekend when there’s time to relax, or even quite spontaneously in the supermarket, looking at a brochure. I then add them together and implement the basic idea when I feel like it. The motif is often created when it is transferred to the canvas. But yes, it also happens that I just let myself drift and the format steers me. But I prefer focused work based on a simplified sketch. I usually figure out what color to use when I am in the middle of painting.
What motivates and inspires you?
My family is a great inspiration as well as a great support. My daughter, for example, is my biggest critic. She is still very small, but has a great feeling for colors and shapes. Experienced things are often a certain topic and gives me reason to think and to process. Painting is like a kind of therapy for me. There is nothing more beautiful for me than turning my world into art in the most direct way.
Who’s your favorite artist(s) and why?
Inspired by the greats of the art world such as Pablo Picasso, Dali as well as Gauguin and Renoir, I am currently inspired by artists such as Nicolas Party, George Rouy and Leo Park. I can’t name exactly why I like these artists in particular, but it is often certain energies that each individual radiates through their work and in their own way. These names are just a fraction of all the great artists who inspire me, surprise me, drive me and sometimes scare me
What song(s) are you listening to the most right now?
At the moment I like listening to hip hop classics like the Beastie Boys, Jay Z, as well as the Clash and Turnstile