neukölln, baby, neukölln!
The Skullux buzz is finally getting louder. Notorious for playful and vibrant psychedelic pop works, that would easily feel at home in the company of artists like Fergadelic and Pam’s Misha who equally injected personal faves und fun into their art and graphics (and into fashion), Berlin son Andreas Jenne just raised his own bar with another fantastic example of artwork for the latest RTX album which was released on Drag City this autumn. Hardly a fan of the glitz and the glamour, talented Mr. Jenne is a shining example of honest DIY culture that couldn’t care less about the latest trends or pop art as a money making machine. Raised on b-movies, rock and an interest in the weirder things in life, Skullux’ slightly darkened mood lunged him forward in artistic maturity and craftsmanship, an amalgamation of chaos and control that will find its way (straight) outta Neukölln and into the international exhibition circus sometime soon.
‘I always used to draw as a kid. I vividly remember doing tattoos of Pin-Ups with a ball-pen on my uncle’s arm as a 6 year old child. Later on I half-realised I had an ability to express something emotional with pen and paper, without words, but I never had a mapped-out plan with what to do with it. So I struggled with myself until I started Skullux in 2003 with two close friends. It was originally called Kollektiv Neukölln. As a self-taught artist I just wanted to use the internet as a platform to present instant ideas and artwork for free, no strings attached. Then I changed the name to Skullux, meaning death and light to me, something beautiful… and somehow the focus went on that, and it never changed. Today Skullux is made up of me and Marius helping me with the technical stuff’.
Maybe I'm wrong, but your work seems to be more popular outside of Germany... any ideas why people are ignorant of your work on a domestic level? ▶▶▶ I’m not part of any scene here in Berlin really, I’m pretty much alone, cooking up ideas. I am glad if people dig my stuff wherever they are located. The requests have been coming mostly from the US, so I am happy with that! You create something, put it out there to see if and how people react. People are fed so much visual stuff anyway, basically it´s image overload. So finding my work amongst a billion of other efforts may be hard if you don´t look for it specifically. Ignorance is the wrong expression, it maybe just needs a little more time.
Your art is clearly influenced by Midnight Movies, (early) Heavy Metal and the NY school of pop art... why do you have such a soft spot for what the very majority of people simply call trash? ▶▶▶ I love the artwork of carnivals, the paintings on ghost trains or merry-go-rounds. I never look at that style as being inferior to what is so-called "high art”. There has to be passion involved. All art that is good has to be intense! Trash movies or the like, they are dear to me because they come from the heart, they are spontaneous, and done with just a tiny budget. They are full of life. Also there is that strife for perfection and attention to detail that I admire. I definitely have a soft spot for Joe Coleman as well, he is a genius!
I simply have another definition of what art is and should be. It has to burn! It has to be on the brink. It doesn’t have to be clinically wrapped and displayed in an artsy environment to look like dead meat on sale. As a teenager I was (and still am) a big Metal fan, more the poppier stuff like Kiss though, but that aesthetic is definitely an inspiration as well. A true rebel to me is Linda Manz in "Out of the Blue”, that sort of tunnel vision: blocking out anything that is not special and meaningful to her in a kind of autistic way, shutting off influences that are bad to her, to protect her dream. I am drawn to that, persons, who live for their dreams, they are inspiring to me.
Please tell me a bit about the Komakino section of your website... ▶▶▶ It’s just snapshots of movies I love. I press the pause button on the video recorder every time some fascinating image comes up, take a pic with my digital cam and then string them together. I think it looks nice on the website and maybe makes people who don’t know the film go check it out… just me indulging in some ideas basically, for your pleasure.
To be honest, I couldn't quite figure out the difference between the different sections on the Skullux website... what's the difference between Form Destroyer and the Skullux Galleries, for example? And is Golden She-Wolf the dictionary to decode the Skullux universe? ▶▶▶ I wanted the Skullux website to look like an adventure park with different sections you can get lost in. Like Komakino is the cinema, Golden She-Wolf is the bar or lounge. I will have to work on that though, to make the differences stand out more. For Form Destroyer I was thinking of it more like a digital fanzine because of the same-sized pics. I also make those real fast to keep a vibe going. However, I just hope that the viewer of my work finds some meaning even if the big picture I had in mind is not fully accomplished yet. Skullux is more like an ongoing process than a fixed statement, I think.
How did you hook up with RTX? ▶▶▶ I have been a huge fan of RTX and Royal Trux for years and I found out they had a MySpace site. So I opened an account to see their pics because you had to log in to view them. To my great surprise a little later on, Jennifer Herrema mailed me and asked me to do some artwork for "Western Xterminator” later re-titled "RaTX”. I am totally happy to have provided drawings for RTX, because I love their music and attitude, they are my heroes and the works I constructed for JJ & Co really have a special meaning to me. Later on, photographer Sasha Eisenman asked me to do a sketch of Jennifer for his "Friendshirts” label, which also inspired me and the result of the collaboration, is also one of my favourite images done by myself. Also check out "JJ got live RatX”, the badass newie from RTX, it rocks like hell and features another beloved contribution.
What came first, your love for collages or illustration? And what do you find the most fascinating aspect of collages? ▶▶▶ My love for drawing came first, but my association with collage is a kind of early one, too. I remember seeing some ‘Temple of Psychic Youth’ artworks in Tempo magazine which consisted of paper clippings, blood, hair and sperm amongst other things. I didn´t copy that, but I loved the idea behind it. Collage is fascinating to me because it is basically what William Burroughs meant with the Cut-Up method. You cut images out of print media and re-create and turn it into a personal object which gives the original pictures another twist and meaning. There is also something subversive and sinister about destroying a finished product and giving it your own voodoo. I hardly ever use the computer to making collages, I prefer sticky fingers from glue and messing around in a sketchbook!
What's next for Skullux? ▶▶▶ I will make a new fanzine, but a physical one, not on the web, and I want to place it for free at some unusual places. New Ts, as well. Also more artwork, love and mystery, less distractions and hissy fits! I mainly want Skullux to remain a personal obsession, some space to represent my take on things happening around me.