Menu

meinolfotto

Meinolf Otto

Meinolf Otto

Meinolf Otto

Hello, I am interested in resonance as Hartmut Rosa defines it; currently the most accurate description of what drives me artistically


My Why


The purpose of my art is primarily to meet my own need to relate creatively to others. I have been fortunate in my life to be able to work artistically in many different ways. Apart from consideration of equal relevance, I had the chance to try out sculpture, performance, architecture, photography, cinema, sound and music, and writing. After a long excursion away from painting, it has now become a priority for me as a means of expression. It is a way of dealing with the topics of resonance and relationships with the world, which have been on my mind since my youth.


My elixir of life


I have to creatively discuss the development of my world relationship, also beyond myself, with the people with whom I am connected in the narrower sense, up to those with whom I am in contact via social media around the world. I try to express what resonates with me and I hope that others will react to it, which in turn influences and changes me and my artistic work. This feedback is the elixir of life for me.

Even if I only show close-ups in my portraits and face compositions, I am always concerned with what lies behind them: the person and their relationship to the world or, in the case of multi-face compositions, the fragility of the relationship and the lack of resonance. My personal search for resonance and a relationship with the world also occurs in my art in a double sense, as a motivation and as a motif.


My motivation


I hope for progress, not in the sense of technology, but in the emergence of the better. Like the sociologist Hartmut Rosa, I see this improvement in an increase in resonance. We can let ourselves be touched, we can approach the other and interact, we experience how this leads to a transformation. I am also aware of the aspect of uncontrollability that Rosa mentions in this context. Bringing yourself into resonance also means accepting that resonance remains uncontrollable. It is only by excepting this uncontrollability that the necessary natality space for the new emerges. In all of this I can and want to take the first step, as a person and as an artist. In this way, I experience a more of resonance and an improvement in my relationship with the world. The fact that this progress can happen always motivates and inspires me always anew.


For me, as a German, this also means resonating with the Holocaust. Being at home where unimaginable atrocities took place only a few generations ago, I feel my duty never to forget and to be touched by that inheritance, even when it is uncomfortable. I'm looking for a way in my art to relate to those who have been affected.


I know that the lives of the victims of violence I portrayed were brutally taken and that they were irretrievably torn from the dynamics of resonance, from their relationship in the world. In addition, the unfulfilled potential of these people is also a loss of resonance and relationship for all of us. In my choice of colors I hope not to come across as irreverent or euphemistic, I am interested in life with its colorful range of possibilities. With each of the persons that I portray I “live” in my studio for weeks. I don't know much more about them besides that they were murdered in Auschwitz and yet I imagine what would have become of them if this nightmare hadn't brought them there. For me a way not to forget and to give them space in my life.


My story


Colorful is the adjective that probably best describes my career. Art always played a role in it. This began with a youth that was characterized by regular visits to museums, an urge to create art that was also allowed to be lived out, to the major in art and thus also a first "study" in art history (especially from Impressionism to contemporary art of the 70s). It was during this period that I took on the belief that one should steer clear of the figurative and that if a canvas was considered at all, only abstract compositions could be justified. Jackson Pollock's interest in the process was particularly formative for me. It was a time when I experienced the art of Josef Beuys and Nam June Paik at the Documenta. It was in this context that I became interested in film and animation. This led to studying film and television production in San Antoinio, Texas in 1981, with the ambition to specialize later in directing. During my studies I also took a number of art courses and learned many of the crafting techniques that I still use today.


When I continued my film studies in Chicago in 1985 in a master's program, one of my professors was Dan Sandin, who created the first VFX animation for the Star Wars films with Larry Cuba. In 1986 I learned from him how to program rudimentary computer animations. Sandin was also co-director of the Electronic Visualization Laboratory. There, Sandin showed me the Fairlight CVI, one of the first commercially available digital video samplers and sequencers. That brought me to a business idea for a start-up, which I implemented with Take1-Video Productions Inc. in downtown Chicago.


This was the start of a series of entrepreneurial activities, which brought me back to Germany in 1992. It was not until 14 years later (2006) that I got an opportunity to get back into the film business and I became a VFX producer at Pictorion das Werk in Cologne and began working on a feature film. My tasks also included the digital intermediate work in Vancouver for the same film, as well as managing the Ruhr Sound Studios in Dortmund. But this return to (film) art was also short-lived. After just 2 years, a new series of company startups with managerial responsibilities began. During this time, the conviction of the urgency of counteracting the climate crisis grew both personally and professionally. This lateral entry in the world of renewable energy began, so to speak, from scratch with the development of large wind farm and photovoltaic projects in the USA, Canada, Spain and Italy.


My entrepreneurial activities since my studies have always been of a very high intensity. In addition to family responsibilities, there was hardly any time for personal artistic creation. That only changed when I started painting a larger triptych (3 m x 1 m) for an old friend in Switzerland in 2015. In order to get this work done in a reasonable amount of time, I set up an art studio in my house. This work became the starting point of my intensive artistic work in painting to this day. Although I had painted pictures from time to time over the years, it resulted in only sporicidal works. In addition to my full-time work in the field of renewable energy and green hydrogen, I now began to paint for several hours a day. In the last year alone I was able to complete more than 120 works.


Remains to tell how I came to painting portraits and face compositions. For me, the elimination of the self-imposed taboo on figurative painting was triggered by the portraits of Francois Nielly. I saw her work in galleries in southern France and was positively impressed by the power of these neon colored "close-ups". She still inspires me to this day. For me it was the discovery that the figurative, of these portraits on canvas, stood for themselves, inimitable with other media and independently as a means of expression. Above all, Nielly's use of a shrill color palette (which had also been taboo for me) gave me the opportunity to represent and process (figurative) reality beyond the natural or lifelike.


Questions about my work


I am often asked how I choose my subjects for portraits. It is mostly driven by the reasons mentioned above. In fact, I often research the Internet for suitable image material and keep large collections in stock. Usually I proceed with sketches of my ideas of the paintings that I want to draw. Here I mostly use Photoshop as a tool.

In this preparatory phase, I also use tools that help me to check axis that I want to achieve, e.g. the alignment of eyes or mouths. In this stage I am not concerned with color. Only after I am convinced that I have found a valuable composition do I begin the next step and bring the paint and on paper or canvas.


I always paint on many works at the same time (usually 10 or more). I only use one acrylic paint, which I may or may not have mixed. I normally do not mix colors on the canvas or paper. Each color treatment is individual and only when it has dried do I start with the next one. This always creates many layers and I use the different degrees of opacity for the rendering. Sometimes I also use a gel to bring the colors into a mayonnaise-like state. Ninety percent of the paint is applied with the paint knife. I usually apply color in strong strokes and use the cacophonic inexactness that this technique creates for the design.


Meinolf.Otto.Art@7otto.de

3D exhibitions

  • Meinolf Otto

    Resonance

    27 Nov 2022 – 01 Dec 2023

    "Even though my portraits and face compositions show close-up views only, what interests me most, lies behind the cutouts, it is the peoples' world relationship. In painting them, I try to contemplate what in their lives resonates with my own or not. At best, I find myself changed. The paintings are a mere residue of that process. I can only wish that it may trigger a similar response in those that look at my works.” Meinolf Otto

  • Meinolf Otto

    Genesis

    16 Jan 2020 – 16 Dec 2021

    latest works

    • Meinolf Otto

      Volodymyr Zelenskyy, 23/4/2022
      59 x 45 cm (h x w)
      acrylic on paper
    • Meinolf Otto

      Norah Jones, 28/12/2021
      59 x 45 cm (h x w)
      acrylic on paper
    • Meinolf Otto

      AUDREY, 26-09-2021
      54 x 37 cm (h x w)
      acrylic on paper
    • Meinolf Otto

      Joseph Beuys, 16/12/2021
      59 x 45 cm (h x w)
      acrylic on paper
    • Meinolf Otto

      Dua Lipa, 11/01/2022
      59 x 45 cm (h x w)
      acrylic on paper
    • Meinolf Otto

      Dalí, 22/02/2022
      59 x 45 cm (h x w)
      acrylic on paper
    • Meinolf Otto

      Martin Luther King, 09/06/2022
      59 x 45 cm (h x w)
      acryl on paper
    • Meinolf Otto

      Whoopi Goldberg, 15/06/2022
      59 x 45 cm (h x w)
      acrylic on paper
    • Meinolf Otto

      Soulmates, 16/06/2022
      59 x 45 cm (h x w)
      acryl on paper
    • Meinolf Otto

      Oprah Winfrey, 10/07/2022
      59 x 45 cm (h x w)
      acryl on paper
    • Meinolf Otto

      Madonna, 11/07/2022
      59 x 45 cm (h x w)
      acryl on paper
    • Meinolf Otto

      Amy Winehouse, 31/10/2022
      100 x 80 x 2 cm (h x w x d)
      acrylic on canvas
    • Meinolf Otto

      Jon Batiste, 19/11/2021
      50 x 40 x 2 cm (h x w x d)
      acrylic on canvas
    • Meinolf Otto

      Greta Thunberg, 15/10/2021
      50 x 40 x 2 cm (h x w x d)
      acrylic on canvas
    • Meinolf Otto

      Have I ever told you about my brother Joe?, 22/10/2021
      50 x 40 x 2 cm (h x w x d)
      acrylic on canvas
    • Meinolf Otto

      Markus, 13/09/2022
      100 x 80 x 2 cm (h x w x d)
      acrylic on canvas
    • Meinolf Otto

      FRIDA, 31/10/2021
      54 x 37 cm (h x w)
      acrylic on paper
    • Meinolf Otto

      R.E.S.P.E.C.T., 18/09/2021
      54 x 37 cm (h x w)
      acrylic on paper
    • Meinolf Otto

      B.B. King, 08/07/2022
      59 x 46 cm (h x w)
      acrylic on paper
    • Meinolf Otto

      Duke Ellington, 03/04/2022
      59 x 46 cm (h x w)
      acrylic on paper