My name’s Hywel Phillips, and I’m a full-time fetish photographer....
The free artist, illustrator and sculptor Gernot was born in 1969 in Rosenheim,Bavaria, and lives and works in Landshut near Munich today. At the end of the 70′s and early 80′s he was influenced by super heroes like Fantomas, the British agent Emma Peel (Avengers) in her leather catsuit, or the band Kiss in their fantastic costumes. Drawing, painting, sculpting and music have always been his passions, first resulting in large format murals and on the furniture of his boy’s room.
An education in ceramics followed in 1987, where he could train his abilities to build forms and work with plastic materials. When he saw a television portrait of H.R. giggler, the wise fantastic artist and inventor of the “Alien”, the decision was made to fully dedicate himself to painting. At that time Gernot was involved in various Heavy Metal and Industrial projects, such as “Orgasm Death Gimmick” and “Der Ungeist” (guitar and programming). Frightening large sized oil paintings of machine creatures were shown in an exhibition during that period.
Soon after though, the artist directed his attention onto the bizarre and unusual, especially in regard to the female body.
looking mistresses, voluptuous pony-girls, and rubberized french maids followed soon. Soon, fetish magazines like SECRET and TWILIGHT printed his work. For MARQUIS, Gernot illustrated the erotic stories congenially, and became a regular contributor to the worlds leading fetish magazine. Since 1988, he earns his living as a free artist, doing logo design, story illustrations, cover art, as private commissions.
Gernot paints and draws his bizarre characters mostly with a twinkle of the eye, often exaggerated cartoon-like, but always with great technical perfection and seriosity. Computers are only used for typography and retouching, but not to create images. The intense occupation with silicone, resin and other materials for sculpting, led to the creation of some figurines for Iconia in 2002. In 2005, Gernot took over designing form building and production of bizarrely glamorous latex masks in cooperation with Danny Deluxe for the label “Gumena”. These often theatrical designs have finally left the seedy corner of good, and have already been featured in high fashion magazines. Subsequent to laborious experiments with paintings on T-shirts in 2008, Gernot invested in silkscreen technology. First trials have generated promising results, and he has announced high quality limited art prints soon… “I’m trying to pursue my own vision of bizarre sexiness with a craftsman’s ambition, and not to let my self be influenced too much by trends, hypes, or what other fetish artists do. Nothing is more boring that the tedious copying and repletion of short lived styles. It takes – at least in my case – many years of practice and experience, plus the occasional flops to find and further develop your own style.”
Hello Gernot and thank you for taking time to talk with me today. I have so many thoughts and questions for you.
SM: Gernot, When and where in your life did art begin for you?
G: Like most kids, I started drawing very early. I grew up in a small town near Munich where my father worked with the first generation of computers. He used to bring piles of printer paper for me and my brothers scribbles, so there was always enough material for “artistic” experiments.
After my school days with unsatisfying results (because of notorious indifference), 2 vocational trainings as a ceramist and a car painter and several casual jobs, I decided to earn my living with what I still liked the most: drawing and painting. That was in the middle of the 90s.
I already had some experiences with paint in the early 80ies, when I painted my childrens room with Metal-Monsters and when I saw that it’s possible to earn money by creating frightening creatures and machines in a TV-Documentary about the Swiss painter and Alien-Creator H.R. Giger, I wanted to do something similar.
After the Monster and Industrial Period, I focused more on the BDSM/ fetishistic subject and made a small collection which I sent to several publishers.
The first Magazine who published my drawings was Jürgen Boedt’s “Secret” from Belgium. And my first Story-Illustration-Job was for Marquis Magazine.
SM: Do your emotions play a part in your creativity or do they get in the way?
G: I don’t think creativity without emotions is possible but on the other hand, if you’re in emotional trouble it can cost you so much energy that it is impossible to be create anything…
G: What’s unusual these days? Maybe the fact that I build cigar-box-guitars in my free time? Or that I’m vegetarian? Don’t know…
SM: You live in the beautiful country of Germany. Does this reflect in your art? And how?
G: Don’t think so. But maybe… Can’t judge that. What do you think?
SM: What came first for you – your desire to be an artist, or your knowledge of the materials you work with?
G: I always liked to draw and paint, so I learned how to handle the different materials. Although the idea to work as an artist always seemed very attractive to me: The serious decision to work as an Illustrator/Painter came only in the 90ties when I was totally fed up with casual jobs or working for somebody else’s profit and had to decide what I wanted to do for my living in the future without being unhappy for the rest of my life.
SM: How would you describe your art?
G: Fetish Art…?
SM: Are you very critical of yourself? Of your Art?
G: Yes, I’m never completely satisfied with the finished painting/drawing. But that’s no problem because it keeps you working on your technique and trying to achieve better results next time. There’s no development if you always think your stuff is amazing.
G: That’s difficult, because I try not to be influenced too much by other artists, so I don’t really follow the contemporary art scene. But of course there are many artists I like. I’m fascinated by the italian and dutch “Old Masters”, H.R. Giger influenced my first “period” and there’s many high quality comic cover artists which don’t appear in the “official” Art Scene. One of my favourite Illustrators/Painters/Sculptors is Dave Mc Kean who made incredible covers for Jazz, Metal, Industrial and Electronic Bands. He also created great comic covers which are already classics (the Dreaming, Sandman). I also like Mark Ryden or the English Illustrator Vince Ray.
SM: What is your studio like, can you give us a picture in words?
G: It’s a chaos at the moment. Since the exhibition in Amsterdam, most of my paintings stand wrapped all over the place. Many unfinished works, too. There’s loads of Acrylic and Oil colours, brushes, pencils, canvas, a silk screen printing device, boxes with T-Shirts and packing material and a big long table in the middle of all that. And of course an old Stereo.
I have another, smaller room where I can work with plaster, clay, latex, etc. I mould and cast my figurines and some frames in there and all latex masks I designed and produced in cooperation with Danny Deluxe for the Gumena-label come out of this secret laboratory.
SM: How did Bizarre Gallery come together?
G: After I already illustrated some first fetish stories for Marquis Magazine (’97/’98), Peter Czernich offered me the opportunity to publish one page per issue with a painting of my choice. I was in need of a title for this page, no I created the name “Bizarre Gallery” for that. Not very creative, but it says what the page and my work is about.
When I programmed my first website, I used this name, too, because I felt like just “Gernot” would have been too boring… (and I just couldn’t find an idea for a cool “stage name”)
G: Imagination has to be enough, because around here there are not many models who are suitable for my kind of art I use a technique which is similar to the technique of Carl Barks (the inventor of Donald Duck). First there are only basic geometrical shapes like spheres, eggs, cylinders etc. which I connect to the finished bodies then. Sometimes – when I create illustrations for Models or Mistresses – I have to use photos as a starting point. But I prefer to create my own characters.
SM: If we were to step inside your brain, can your imagination give me a tour?
G: Oh, I’m afraid I’m not creative enough with words for that… besides, that’s VERY intimate!
SM: If you could go back in time where would you like to go, what era would you travel too and who would you like to spend a day with?
G: I’m happy with the era I’m living in. There’s enough interesting people in this time, too. But I partly like the design and fashion of the 20s to 30s and 50s/60s. And maybe I’d spend a day with Louise Brooks
SM: Your work mainly consists of female images. Did you ever create art with males as subject?
G: Yes, when it was unavoidable There are a few story-illustrations with male characters in it. But I’m not very interested in male anatomy.
SM: If you could be moulded in to a figurine who or what would you be?
G: “The Incredible Latex-Mummy”
SM: Why do you feel Art is important?
G: For me it’s important because it gives the opportunity to express your fantasies and ideas of beauty, sexiness and aesthetics (and normal life mostly isn’t very exciting). And of course because I make my living out of it.
SM: What are your goals as an artist?
G: My goal is to improve my technique with every piece of work and to create the “perfect” fetish character. One nice idea would be to make a bizarre, almost absurd female figure look like it was painted by Velazquez or Ingres.
SM: If someone made a movie of your life and work, who would you like to play you, Gernot?
G: Hmmm… Bela Lugosi?
SM: Did you ever do a self-portrait? ( Can you elaborate on why or why not? )
G: Only when I had to, during some drawing classes. Self-portraits are not really my subject.
SM: When you are not being creative what can we find you doing?
G: Having a beer with friends, watching bands and sometimes squeezing myself into Rubber and going to fetish parties.
SM: You have created a style that can be considered unique. Would you also consider it Timeless?
G: Time will tell… (I hope so, because that’s another goal I try to achieve.)
SM: Would you say that your art has been going through phases? Can you describe?
G: When I began to create fetish-characters, they were more realistic (maybe because I still was under the influence of drawing classes I had for a short period). I more and more got away from “correct” anatomy and tried to achieve a more doll-like, fantastic style.
And I used much darker and almost no pink or other “girlish” colours in the first years.
SM: Do you care what people think of you or your art?
G: Of course I like it if people like me or my art. But I’d never stop painting or change my style just because I’m criticized.
SM: Do you consider yourself a fetishist?
SM: What Technique would you like to master, but so far haven’t achieved?
G: The painting technique I use (a combination of acrylic, oil and sometimes coloured pencils) can always developed further and you can spend a whole life with it.
SM: What Artist do you mostly identify with?
G: I think it’s hard enough to identify with oneself all the time. And I don’t like the idea of being someone else.
SM: Gernot, Any words of advice, or inspirational thoughts to the World?
G: I don’t feel old and wise enough to give an advice to the world already But a suggestion would be to see life as an experiment, be yourself, hold on to your ideas and dreams and treat all other (not only human) beings as you want to be treated.
SM: What are your future plans?
G: I want to focus more on painting free works and printing some limited silk-screen editions after I did so much commissioned artwork, figurines and preparations for the book and exhibitions. And I intend to hang out more in the fetish scene again!
SM: Gernot, I could ask you so many more questions. Thank you so much for taking time to do an interview with SceneMagazine, and I hope that we can talk again soon!
G: Thanks for your interest! It was a pleasure.
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