By NOAH BECKER, SEPT. 2017
Hailing from Hjørring, Denmark, Ole Tersløse studied painting at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen before developing a practice in computer-generated imagery in both two and three-dimensional formats. Smooth and downright uncanny, Ole Tersløse's aesthetic has won him international recognition and acclaim, including grants from The Danish States’ Foundation for the Arts (now the Danish Arts Foundation) and the Jens Ejnar og Johanne Larsens Foundation. He has participated in numerous exhbitions around the world, including a 2013 solo show at the Los Angeles Center for Digital Art and a 2015 solo show at Oxholm Gallery in Copenhagen. He currently resides in Hjørring, and credits living in his small hometown with giving him "freedom and peace to follow his artistic instincts."
NB: When did you begin creating art? Have you always been interested in art?
OT: As far back as I can remember, I have made drawings and paintings. Being an artist soon became a part of my identity. Among the other children in school I was known—and to some degree worshipped—as the "cool kid [who] could draw." After studying literature and the history of art at Aarhus University for two years, I was accepted as a student at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen. I've been a full-time artist ever since.
NB: Did you start out as a painter, or were you interested in other media?
OT: Yes, I did start as a painter, and was actually gaining a reputation as a painter before I became absorbed with computer graphics. I know the slogan "painting is dead" is rather silly, and there are a lot of painters [whom] I respect and find interesting. But the problem was that to me painting did "die." After painting in a lot of different styles for several years, my interest in painting dried up: I simply had to find new ways of expressing myself.
NB: Are there contemporary sculptors you like or find inspiring?
OT: I'm very fascinated with the Japanese artist Kohei Nawa. No matter how freaky his experiments are, you have a strange feeling that a kind of hidden "logical stringency" makes the elements fit together. I like Juan Munoz's works too. Maybe for the same reason...
NB: Your sculptures are very painterly. Are there painters you feel influenced you, either as examples, mentors, or teachers?
OT: Yes, actually. I'm very influenced by Renaissance and Baroque painters.
My sculptures are airbrushed. Each element—flower, leaf, human body, or egg-shapes—has each own local color. To make these contrasting colors fit together harmoniously, I had to look at one of my old "heroes"—Nicolas Poussin. His works are built up in bright contrasting colors. Each picture element has its own color, so to speak, that makes it easy to distinguish it from the others. But then again, they stand out in a very harmonious way. Often I have to make minor changes to the colors of each object, before I'm satisfied with the overall coloristic harmony of my sculptures—maybe Poussin did the same with his paintings!
NB: Can you talk about your creative process? How do you make your works?
OT: I begin making small sketches, just as a classical painter does. When I'm satisfied with the composition of the work—whether it is a picture or a sculpture—I begin modeling each element (child, flower, leaf, [for example]) in 3D computer programs. When all the elements are made, they are gathered in the final composition. If I want to end up with a 2D work, I have the computer make a rendering (a kind of artificial photography) . This picture is then printed as a lambdaprint or inkjetprint on fine art paper.
When I make a sculpture, each element is printed in 3D by a Danish engineer, who has made his own 3D-printer that is able to print extremely items measuring 1.5 x 1.5 x 2 meters [about 4.9 x 4.9 x 6.56 feet]. These 3D printed elements are then polished and airbrushed and glued together, and then the sculpture is finished.
NB: Where is your studio located?
I don't really have a studio! I have a big computer in my flat in Hjørring. All the important artistic choices are made in programs inside the computer, so I don't need to work with clay or plaster. The house where I live in has a big basement where I can make the hard work polishing and painting my sculptures. It works alright—but if my future sculptures get bigger, I have a problem, of course.
NB: Was your family supportive of you being an artist? It seems like often artists have to contend with families wanting them to go into a more stable field of work.
OT: Yes, they have been very understanding. My paternal grandfather was an artist too, [but] he never got the recognition he thought he deserved. I think my family took it for granted that I "was meant" to be an artist too—and that I had to struggle with it—and struggle for acceptance for the rest of my life.
NB: What new projects or works are coming up for you? What's on the horizon that has you excited?
OT: I have [begun] a new art group called TRANS-FIGURATION together with another Danish artist [named] Henrik Godsk. Later this year, we will have our first exhibition at the Mark Rothko Art Centre in Daugavpils [Latvia]. It is a museum for Mark Rothko, but they show exhibitions with contemporary artists too. One of the the goals of the TRANS-FIGURATION group is to investigate the figure's role in contemporary art. And we thought our works could make a great contrast to Rothko's color field paintings that most people see as abstract paintings. WM
Noah Becker is an artist and the publisher and founding editor of Whitehot Magazine. He shows his paintings internationally at museums and galleries. Becker also plays jazz saxophone. Becker's writing has appeared in The Guardian, VICE, Garage, Art in America, Interview Magazine, Canadian Art and the Huffington Post. He has written texts for major artist monographs published by Rizzoli and Hatje Cantz. Becker directed the New York art documentary New York is Now (2010). Becker's new album of original music "Mode For Noah" was released in 2023.
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