I am a German self-taught artist who paints the human figure.
My creative process starts with observing every little movement,
an ingrained pattern. I end up asking myself if other people
perceive the world in the same way, too.
Coming from a working-class broken home that looked down
on "frivolous" creative and intellectual pursuits, I found my
passion for painting at age twenty-one. I was left to deal on
my own with emotions early on, feelings adults were barely
capable to cope with.
Inspired by Rembrandt’s chiaroscuros and Lucian Freud’s
brush strokes, at the beginning I used to paint in loose flowing
gestures, mostly wet-on-wet. Meanwhile my brushwork is more
detailed and photorealistic.
My paintings are mainly based on photographs but also on movie stills. Some remind me of situations, feelings, overhead statements or reflect literary content.
My love for art and art history have allowed me to discover a vital form of self-expression that I convert into a proactive, creative method to work through my childhood experiences.
I put emphasis on facial expressions and body language while leaving backgrounds purposely nondescript in order to avoid distracting the viewer, allowing more focus on the sublimal content.
Instead of giving them titles, I often assign each painting with a number to form a part of a numbered series to prevent impressing the viewer with a preconceived idea – I prefer viewers to engage with the deeper meanings of my artwork through their own visceral reactions. Every series and each painting has an autobiographical and often society-critical narrative. I refer to inner values, societal values, without pointing the finger. Some series are open ended and ongoing, which means new paintings will be added, while other series are closed. Thematically all my work is interconnected, yet every series and each painting can also be appreciated by itself.
My artwork deals with existential feelings and captures psychologically emotive fragments in time, describing a past of internal turmoil and profound suffering, and relate to previously lived violence and trauma not explicitly shown in my work.
I want to show emotional disorder, feelings, not hide them. To hide feelings, I think, is not good for people and not good for society.
Extract of my Interview 'Claudia Kaak’s Quest for Inner Peace' , written by Lorena Kloosterboer and published by Didi Menendez for PoetsArtist
Copyright by Claudia Kaak. All rights reserved