RAIN catches up with emerging Danish artist, Anton Thiemke, also known as Space Idol, in an exclusive interview for RAIN online. Thiemke’s practice channels the free hand expressionism of Basquiat and the rudimentary approach of brutalist artists like Jean DuBuffet. We catch up with Thiemke here on his practice, influence, and what’s next.
RAIN: When did you begin creating art?
Anton Thiemke: I started 2 years ago with painting. I was struggling with some personal issues and needed a way of expressing myself creatively, then I just bought a canvas and some acrylics and started.
MB: Can you tell us more about your show Space Idol? What is a Space Idol?
AT: The purpose with my first show was to show people what I’ve been working on the last couple of years. I wanted to do it my way, so basically it was just me and my friends getting drunk as fuck while listening to our favorite music. You could either join us or let us be.
Space idol started with me and my friend (Simon Wick) sitting at a local bar in Copenhagen. I wanted an alias that suited me and all of sudden I just said space idol, and so the next day I got it tattooed on my hand. And now I’m space idol.
A space idol is just me doing my thing, and for you to enjoy it.
MB: Jean-Michel Basquiat, the famous New York artist, is an obvious reference point in your work. How has his work influenced you and where does your work depart?
AT: When I was a little boy my grandmother showed me his art, and I instantly loved it. The childish chaotic mood is just me. As I grew older my confidence for making art grew, and I thought if he can make these, why couldn’t I?!
MB: Basquiat once said, “I don’t listen to what art critics say. I don’t know anybody who needs a critic to find out what art is.” Do you see social media and art as an extension to this idea? Do you need social media to be a successful visual artist today?
AT: I feel like people can say whatever they want about my works, if they like it, that’s good, if not, too bad man. For me, social media is a perfect channel to get my work out; however, I don’t think social media is a necessity for becoming a successful visual artist.
MB: Basquiat x Warhol – a show exploring their collaborative works – opens today at Jack Shainman gallery in upstate New York. Did their collaboration interest you? How about Warhol’s oeuvre?
AT: Personally I don’t find it particularly interesting. But Warhol has had a big influence on the art scene, I mean pop art is pretty fucking cool.
MB: Does Danish culture or art influence your work?
AT: As a Dane, of course I’m influenced by Danish culture. I grew up in central Copenhagen and have lived here my whole life so, yes I’m influenced by danish culture, but not danish art, I actually don’t look that much at other artists’ work.
MB: How do you start a new work? What is your process?
AT: Usually I get a good idea while I’m out doing things with my girlfriend or friends, and I try to remember it. If I manage to remember it, I start by painting the background then I smoke a joint, and channel all the feelings, impressions, ideas that I have in that exact moment.
MB: How has the internet amplified or censored what you want to say?
AT: I don’t use the internet or social media in my works, my inspiration comes from outside, I only use the internet to either promote or sell!
MB: What do you make of fashion? Do you like like It? Is it a dialogue you engage? What are your favorite designers?
AT: It’s a big part of my life, my best friend is a designer, my girlfriend is a model, it’s all around me. I’m coming up with a project with the brand (di)vision really soon! I can’t wait to show it. In the future, I’m going to engage more in fashion, and do all sorts of collabs!
MB: What is something that people most misconstrue about you or your work?
AT: Nothing yet, I feel like the ones who’ve seen it so far, got it right.
MB: What do you want to achieve with your next show?
AT: I want to throw a party with my loved ones and everybody’s welcome, and we’ll have a fucking blast. You’re gonna meet a new space idol universe, and hopefully I’ll sell more!