Monday, September 21, 2009

Interview with Ralf Obergfell

q)please tell us a brief info about yourself.
a)I was born in Freiburg, Germany and grew up in Staufen, a small town 20km south of Freiburg. First picked up a camera at the age of 15 and documented my friends at school. Confused and curious about my sexuality, I decided to move to London age 20 to explore what's out there...personally and creatively.
q)Tell us about your humble beginnings, When did you you first realized that you wanted to be an artist?
a)As teenager I was very much into the music of  80's British bands like The Cure, Duran Duran, Depeche Mode and Eurythmics and was transfixed by London's New Romantic fashion. This, together with my passion for photography as well as my sexual curiosity, made me think 'I think I'm a bit different from my mates at school'. 
q)What are your tools of the trade and why?
a)A lot of my work is based around my immediate surroundings, like my friends, where I live and the GutterSlut club parties that I put on with the Dalston Gay Mafia. Tools of the trade? Perhaps personal relationships and a love for the crazy, weird and wonderful. 
q)Who or what gives you inspiration on your morbid art?
a)My boyhusband and friends, GutterSlut, other artists whose work I admire. Greenpeace, music, magazines, books, films.... Fantasy and desires, every day happenings really.
q)Is your artistic background self-taught or did you go to college to study?
a)My dad was an enthusiastic amateur photographer. When I was little he would teach me a few basic elements of photography in terms of exposure and lighting. From there on I taught myself. Later I studied and graduated at London College of Printing, however not in a photography relating context.
q)How do you keep ?fresh? within your industry?
a)I look into other artists, friends and areas of photography and art that I find fascinating. Though generally I just keep shooting whatever catches my eye and inspires me at a specific moment of time. 
q)What are some of your current projects?
a)My new show 'Beautiful Freaks'  (a collaboration with artist and set designer Tony Hornecker) opens in London on 24 September. The body of work that makes up Beautiful Freaks finds its origins specifically back in 2005, at the time when East London's Electro scene started to gain real momentum.
Beautiful Freaks is a celebration on the new generation of exotic creatures at a new wave of events including Gay Bingo, GutterSlut, Trailer Trash, Horse Meat Discos NYC Downlow and the Pale Blue Door.
q)Which of your works are you the most proud of? And why?
a)I've been shooting for over 20 years, so to pin point specific proud moments is a hard one. 'Thomas and Marc frolicking in the bath' is a memorable picture as it was one of the very first photographs I ever took. The 'Beautiful Freaks' and 'Last Stop' works have been labour of love projects. As well as some individual images of my friends and lovers. 
q)Are there any areas, techniques, mediums, projects in your field that you have yet to try?
a)I've been working on some new ideas. Watch this space. ..
q)What do you do to keep yourself motivated and avoid burn-out?
a)Exercising, nature, traveling, Berlin, a healthy diet, plenty of sleep, regular breaks, reading and quality time with my friends, boyhusband and Lucky (the dog).
q)how do you spend most of your free time?
see question above
q)What contemporary artists or developments in art interest you?
a)Per QX, Tony Hornecker, Antonio Urquillo de Simon, Ryan McGinley, Slava Mogutin, Alexey Kiselef, David Lynch, Larry Clark...are all very exciting artists that keep re-inventing and push boundaries, I'm very much into that... 
q)We really like some of your pictures, how can we get our hands on them? Do you sell them? How?

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