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Step Out of Your Comfort Zone! Let Bernhard Martin Guide You!

Secluded in his studios, he would look hundreds, even thousands of image a day in search of that one visual idea he synthesizes and transfers onto the canvas. Curious about how his teaching approach complements his practice, I met with Bernhard Martin on Friday outside of the office for a conversation. Straight away, he gave an impression of a candid, talkative person, happy to share his view with the chronicler. His sporty attire and unusual bling make him stand out in the crowd, in a similar way the chromatic extravaganza of his paintings distinguishes his art. Eager to hear his thoughts, I inquired about the class.


Bernhard Martin with students


Teaching a relatively large class of 22 people, Bernhard Martin sees himself as a “moderator”. He is there to guide the students on their way of breaking a creative block. “Basically, they are all here because they feel stuck in their current position. So, I try to break it down a bit and show that it’s not necessary to think in verticals or horizontals,” the artist said, adding that he would like to help them leave their zones of comfort for the two weeks that they are there. Working with the students as a group, he also dedicates time to each of them, continuously circling the room. His aim is “to show them that it’s possible to think about visions and life in a completely different way. I tell [the students] to use this time to do something different to that what they are always doing.


After the first week, Martin’s impression was that the learners are very open, already striving to introduce changes, however small, to their work. Without trying to influence their personal outlooks, he makes an effort to inspire them and animate them to actually break the proverbial mold and enter a new sphere of perception. “It’s about mechanisms, it’s about views, it’s about technical issues, it’s about topics. How to get away from these topics and to step into others,” he said, adding that there will be a public art exercise.


The class is scheduled to paint a billboard, working on a collaborative collage-graffiti image, following only some basic formal rules. The goal of this endeavor is to “play with the shame and blame and to stay in the public,” regardless of weather or other circumstances. For some of Martin’s students, this may be the ultimate step away from their comfort zone. This joint venture will produce a piece in the end, but as he said: “The result is less important than the act itself.


In the end, I was curious about his own experience with the class and my interviewee admitted that he does take from it. “I get stuck in my procedures too,” he said, defining the teaching as a “giving and taking situation.” Offering the students a platform to experiment, he continues to push them towards their extremes, occasionally seeing the problems he finds in his own work. “It’s pleasure, finally,” he concluded, as we separated on the way back to our daily tasks.


Fabian, experimenting


Gisela exploring portraiture


Maja, working 

Monday of the busiest 4th week started off well, with two new interesting courses and some fresh air, finally. We'll be listening to a lot of artists' talks this week! 
Till tomorrow! (Literally.)
07/08/17 16:35 Summer Academy 2017

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