"In The Studio With:..." is a weekly feature that takes us into the private creative spaces of emerging artists to discuss their work and career.
Eva Mueller is a Bavarian-born artist who has lived and worked in New York for more than 25 years. Her work, dealing primarily with the human body and ideas of identity have been exhibited throughout the world including London, Paris, Rio de Janeiro, The Cayman Islands, and China, as well as a number of US and New York shows.
Her provacative piece "Nerine Lily" from the "Chocolate and Flowers" series is currently part of our summer group show "Life Sized II: A Small Works Invitational," on display now through August 26.
Anthony Philip Fine Art: The various bodies of work you have all address various issues of identity such as race, and sexuality/gender. What do you think you are doing that is different from how other artists have ben addressing these same questions?
Eva Mueller: To be honest I don’t know as I haven’t looked at other artists in particular who’s work touches on the same issues. When I work on a project it's subjective and I bring in what I feel needs to be addressed, but of course I bring in my story and my perspective. At the same time I try to take out any judgement. The core of most of my art projects is to make people re-assess their perspective, to look at the image and strip away old belief systems and take it in as what it is. Its an invitation to innocence.
APFA: What is it about the topic of identity that you find so compelling as to make it the primary focus of your artistic practice?
EM: I don’t think I consciously ever chose “identity” as my main focus. An identity can be something we chose to put on like a protective shield, the image we like to portray toward our environment and the society we live in. In spiritualism our chosen identity or the one we’re born and raised in has not much to do who we really are as human beings. I’m compelled to reveal the core of our being, to get a glimpse into the soul. I love stripping away everything we put on to appear as someone we want to be, or we believe we should be. Whether you look at my Black Face project or GenderFuck or the piece you are showing right now, part of Chocolate and Flowers, it all boils down to trying to get to the essence of who we are. Then we can realize that its not about separation but acceptance and also refection and letting go of old believe systems. Sounds all very deep and it is in a way but I hope the images make people smile, laugh, ponder and hopefully shifting perspective to see what something looks like from a different point of view.
APFA: You have lived and worked in Bushwick Brooklyn for a number of years now. How have you seen the neighborhood change since you first moved here, and what effect do you think that has had on both your own art, and that of other artists who call this community home?
EM: I came to Bushwick 5 1/2 years ago, almost in a hurry because I knew it was getting already pretty trendy amongst artists to love here, so I missed the pioneer days but I caught a few years of living in an advertising free world full of amazing murals and street art. I felt like living a bit hidden away from the mainstream. a lot of people were still like: You live where?? I liked that. Now its on the map and every airline mag has House of Yes and Bushwick Open Studios listed as the Must Do See things so... Bushwick became uber-hip and the Williamsburg effect is hitting us now. Lots of new develepments, boutigue hotels, trendy stores, shared office spaces are popping up all over the place. I hope the community I love to be part of won't get priced out too fast and disperse so we can continue to inspire each other.
APFA: Who are some of your favorite photographers, and who do you look to for inspiration?
EM: So many! I like a lot of the classic ones but also some contemporaries i drop a few names: Erwin Blumenfeld, Irving Penn, Herb Ritts, Ruven Afanador, Erwin Wurm, Robert Maplethorpe, Ren Hang and Erwin Olaf.
APFA: What do you hope that people take away from your pictures?
EM: The best I can wish for if someone gets that pulling pinch inside that makes us look and look again and feel drawn to and explore the depth of an image or just break out in a big smile or laughter depending on the subject. When we feel, we know we’re alive and connected.
If you'd like to find out more about Eva and her art, please visit: http://www.evamueller-art.com