Thursday, March 5, 2015


"Selfie," photo Courtesy of Thilo Westermann

Millions of meticulously-placed pixels--in pinpoint precision--invigorate the floral forms created by artist Thilo WestermannFor Spring/Summer 2015, Westermann's art is transformed into a collaboration of limited-run wearables for EscadaIn an opportunity borne by chance, Escada Fashion Director, Daniel Wingate, happens on Westermann's So What Does Forever Mean? exhibit in Nuremberg, Germany and instantly envisions a partnership with the artist. Where art is applied to fashion, fashion once again becomes artistically transformed in the Escada Meets Thilo Westermann collection. On glass, Westermann's art exemplifies a hyper-realistic rendering of nature, yet on fabric, a woman becomes a part of the magnified beauty on display. Keep reading for my Q&A with the artist and have a look back at the Thilo Westermann window feature...

Thilo Westermann, working process (reverse plexi painting), photo courtesy of the Artist and Oechsner Galerie

Clearly, a level of intricacy and devotion goes into your art. In an age of digital enhancement and instant gratification, how do you continue to create with such methodical complexity, despite the technological "shortcuts" available?

It is definitely true that we are living in a world where images spread faster than ever and that we have reached a high peak of what Paul Virilio discusses in his "dromology" (science of speed). But the speed of spreading images does not necessarily come with the quality of images. Many images existed long before the internet and the so-called social media. It was and still is always a personal decision if you want to publish high quality images or if you are satisfied with becoming engaged with insignificant imagery and unfinished "shortcuts."

 Escada meets Thilo Westermann collection at Saks Fifth Avenue (Check out my other windows)

Escada Fashion Director Daniel Wingate persuaded you to add a splash of fuchsia to your traditionally monochrome palette for the 'Escada meets Thilo Westermann' collection. Since the collaboration, do you feel any different about using color? 

When I started painting reverse plexi over a decade ago, I have been using color. So, I had no problem at all to have the details of my black and white paintings colored for the ESCADA MEETS THILO WESTERMANN gown. Actually, it was my idea to highlight the different layers of my paintings by adding color to specific details of my motif. 

Thilo Westermann Installation, ESCADA headquarters, photo courtesy of the Artist and Oechsner Galerie

If you watch closely and compare the detail printed on the dress with the original painting you will experience that just the are of the painted vase has been colored. The peonies are still black and white. Coloring the vase highlights the gradation of space in my paintings -in the dress, it looks like the red shift dress leaps out from the covering black and white overcoat. For my color pencil drawings, I love to work with brighter colors as they always deal with liveliness and the whole topic of "joie de vivre." Personally, I prefer to cover myself in more "silent" colors.

 Thilo Westermann, Vanitas (Paeonia lactiflora), 2013, photo courtesy the artist and Oechsner Galerie

As a visitor, everyone has a different view of New York City. Some find the Big Apple fast-paced, overwhelming and dirty. Others are inspired by the concentration of resources and access to culture. What stands out for you in NYC? What is/are the most exotic or memorable place(s) you've been?

Since I spent some weeks in NYC in 2009 as an artist in residence, I continue to visit as often as I can. I love New York for the high density of culture, the multicultural mixture of people and for being the iconic place of freedom and human rights. Definitely a perfect day in NYC would start with grabbing a cup of coffee and walking extensively through Central Park. Afterwards, I would drop by Adelson Galleries to enjoy great art and a chat. I would continue with visiting museums or just walking around to catch up with the different, quickly changing faces of the city, and some friends.

For me, the two most memorable place in NYC are Central Park and the Metropolitan Museum, both places can be quite exotic when you pay close attention!

Thilo Westermann, photo courtesy of the Artist and Oechsner Galerie

As an artist, you have a distinct style. Does that in any way transfer to your personal aesthetic? Are you partial to certain brands/colors/clothing styles? If you could design your own capsule collection, what you create? What type of theme would you embody?

As I struggle for technical perfection day by day, I certainly appreciate well-crafted clothes, accessories and objects. I prefer not one specific brand for its own sake--but for me--quality and responsibility have to be a crucial part of a brand's philosophy.

If I should design my own collection, I certainly would sit down and figure out how to transfer my personal longings and beliefs, as well as my professional approaches regarding quality into the objects of the collection. As Escada has accepted all my ideas and as I may have chosen the motives in the very detail for the clothes the Escada meets Thilo Westermann collection comes quite close to what I would do for my own collection.

 Thilo Westermann, Working process (Color pencil), Courtesy of the Artist and Oechsner Galerie

Everyone starts somewhere. What prompted your interest in art? Where do you continue to draw inspiration from?

Everything might have started with the awareness of the fragility and transcience of the beauty of the flowers in my parent’s garden. I remember sitting down and depicting all these floral beauties or arranging them on paper and in vases. I also clearly can recall the long lines of opulent flower bouquets my great-grandmother used to receive for her birthday. For sure this must have left a huge impact on my relationship towards beauty, composition and color. 

Later on, I fell in love with fashion magazines.I am still fascinated by the manifold ways of presenting fashion creating a perfect illusion and ideal beauty. Like the pictures in fashion magazines, my paintings are made up of tiny little dots. But different to the uniform halftoning rasters of the print media every single dot in my work has a different, unique shape, as I applied every single dot by hand. But only when you look at my paintings closely you will discover this personal “handwriting”. That is why my paintings not only present an idealized flower beauty but my very own personal approach towards creating beauty. Besides the ideal motifs, my art pieces are always about the struggle of nurturing, reflecting on and perfecting my own technique as well.

In addition to nature and magazines, I am inspired by art history, philosophy and traveling.

Thilo Westermann, working process, Courtesy of Thilo Westermann

How about some favorites...
Local food--wherever I am

Place to frequent?
Parks, botanical gardens and museums -- no matter in which city.

Types of music?
Classic, electronic and minimal music

Publication to read?
Whatever broadens my horizon

Inspirational figure?
Open-minded people who are not afraid of making their dreams come true

Purple Violet - Fuchsia, Leaf Green 2 and Vanitas (Phalaenopsis) 2 in Daniel s guest room, 2014, photo courtesy of the Artist and Oechsner Galerie

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