Jan Kolling

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When did you first become interested in art, in general?

I started to get involved when I was about 17 years old,  I got connected to to people who created silk screen prints of the Photographs they made themselves or took from magazines.

We became friends and started an Artist-group called Dynamo. Later on we hired a place where we also could experiment with painting and creating sculpture.

We opened an exhibition space called “the Stelling Foundation” where we organised more than one hundred group and solo showings over a period of 10 years, mainly with young artists and artists who could not get their work showed in the commercial galleries.

When did you first become interested in photography, specifically?

Well of course through my Gallery experience I got in touch with a lot of with Photographic Art ( artists) but it did not start to play an important role until I got involved with creating art on the computer.

In what other forms of Art do you also work, if any?

I painted and created sculptures for a period of almost 20 years, – after being unable to work through the cause of illness for about five years I started out to create again using the computer and I’ll stick to that for now.

On which style of photography do you specialize?

I’m trying to specialize in Photographic Manipulation using existing software tools as well as self developed software and unusual software combinations.

I´m not really looking for a certain style, I strongly believe that will develop through time.

Has your style changed from when you first began? If so, why?

No strange enough my working method did not change, I started of wth an open mind towards Images which could be used and I still do so.
During time of course there’s developing some kind of system within my illusion of freedom.

White Sails in a Glance ©Jan Kolling

What kind of equipment do you use  ?

I’d like to use equipment which takes me off the predictable tracks, that includes digital camera’s in all kind of quality ranges.  Free and obscure software to manipulate Images,  strange software combinations, self-developed etc.  I need the “process struggle” of creating.  I strongly believe that there’s no use in creating Artwork that’s already been done in some kind of way, which makes one reminded of something that already exists.

What kind of editing do you prefer to use on your photographs?

A lot of processing takes place: contrasting, adding glance, work from black and white as a start of, softening and sharpen, colour changes, blur effects, pin point colour enhancement, mirroring, turning the Image in degrees etc.

Most of the time there are already between 60 or 80 different edit changes made before I give the Image a rest for a couple of days. After that period I try to look at it as if I have never seen the work before and start the empowerment in hopefully what is the right direction for that paricular Image/work.

How much time ( on average) does it take to complete a work?

On the whole the process takes at least between 4 and 6 weeks, although sometimes I rework Images even after 1 year or after a couple of months.  I never destroy anything, I experienced that sometimes you just do not have the right mind set to work on a particular Image and that you just have to wait.

I don’t believe that there is an Image which I can not bend in the right direction, which does not mean of course that everything will get the right quality to share with other people, the spectators.I think the process is very important,  if not even more important than the “final” artwork. ( if such a thing exists anyway).

Speaking in Tongues – Dirty Picture Series. ©Jan Kolling

How do you know when a piece is finished, is it easy to walk away?

Never, never, it is the knowledge given by what I call “the momentary Impulse” – the glance in the detail, you feel connected. To set an Image free at the right moment is an Important part of the creative process. Most of the time you get your satisfaction by the recognition in the detail, and that’s really a lot to gain.  Important to never forget that!

What do you do to overcome a Block?

I try to keep the process “open”, go a few steps back if necessary, change directions to see if it leads you towards a new approach. It also never hurts to take a break from what you are doing and explore real life and the beauty that can be found in the real experience.

How well do you take criticism and how do you make use of it?

I’ll take any form of constructive criticism very serious and think about it, I really take time for that, – after all Art is a form of Communication, history has provided us with the knowledge that art will certainly not change the world for the better.   It can be an Impulse to get some form of a process started, but then again by saying that, we have to realise that we are living in a world that is so complex that it is impossible to track down the meaning of that Impulsor process.

The closest you can get to that is when you use the opinions from the people you really think to know.

More Pure the reflections will not get.

Who is your favourite Photographer?

That will be Weegee, his closeness to life and his working methods, absolutely Fabulous.

Hook, Brush and Dry – Sculpture – Dostojefsky Syndrome Series. ©Jan Kolling

Which ones of your Photographs is your favourite?

That;s a difficult one, especially because of the fact “Atmosphere” is very Important for me and with that comes the problem of my ever changing moods of course.

I’ll try to include some works which seem to keep close to me.

Have you exhibit any of your works in galleries?

The most Important one up to now is still running until the 18th of this month at the MOCA ( the museum of computer art) in New York.

Over the past years I entered a lot of showings, mainly in European countries ( Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg) but also in Miami USA, some MOCA group showings in NY.

I’m carefull with these on-line organised Exhibition and Competitions which seem to become a real plague.

It smells to much like money–making business with their high entree fees from which probably all kind of museum established jury members have to make an extra buck.

Will your work be include in any upcoming contests or galleries?

After being really busy organising my Solo-Exhibition in the MOCA in Brooklyn New York over the past 9 months I will take a break, at the moment it is more important for me to find the right spirit to work on what is most important; to keep my creative process going.

What advise do you have to budding photographers.

Put your creative process first, find pleasure in what you do, never bend for the commercial art-market, ( don’t forget it’s been only a few decades ago that photography was not accepted at all as a serious art form).

Hook, Brush and Dry – Sculpture – Dostojefsky Syndrome Series. ©Jan Kolling

Have you done any courses to help you?

I studied Graphic Design, mainly to learn the technical aspects of the medium. I never felt much for a “classical” education in the Arts. I think it breaks down the personal aspects of Imagination and Creativity.

What do you do to market your work?

I’ll try to make it visible in an Area as broad as possible, using all the free network opportunities ( sites) from which I think are useful or are been taken serious by a certain amount of visitors.

I must say until now I’m not very impressed with internet marketing, there’s just to much noise to hear the good music, maybe it will purify itself through time,  would be nice!  A personal approach still works best for me.

Over the past years I’ve used the artsites “Artwanted”, “Redbubble”, “Digital Conciousness”, a lot ofthe “Ning” (Networking) sites, the MOCA artists registration opportunities, etc

Artificial Plugged Blues – Dostojefsky Syndrome Series. ©Jan Kolling

Do you use social networking in your day to day life?

The only site that works in some ways for me is Facebook, it brings a lot of information that could be useful because a lot of art organisations and colleagues are using it.

For the rest I’m not really fond of all that chit-chat sites like for instance “Twitter” …

Are you available for work? ( commissions)

Always interested!

Have you got hobbies?

Well time is an issue here but I like to work on my Poetry whenever I can and I also like to commit myself in reading about a wide range of subjects which can be found in Poetry as well as in Philosophy.

Where are you based?

At the moment I’m based in Harmelen a village in the province of Utrecht in the Netherlands.

It is an excellent place to get work done, simply because of the fact that nothing ever happens there, it is for sure the most boring place on earth.

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Isabella FA Shores
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Isabella FA Shores

Founder at 1stAngel Arts
I live in Sale, Cheshire, England, and am happily sharing my life with a mental budgie, two Alsatian puppies, and a long-suffering, sculptor-boyfriend . . . not necessarily in that order. 🙂 Often accused of being an insufferable know it all, I often do, but more often do not.
Isabella FA Shores
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