Published on September 4th, 2017 | by The Beam0
Katrin Fridriks: “I trust my senses most of the time, but the best surprises often occur when I’m being spontaneous.”
September 4th, 2017 by The Beam
The Beam interview series, edition 43: Katrin Fridriks
CleanTechnica publishes some of The Beam interviews and opinion pieces every week. The Beam magazine takes a modern perspective on the energy transition, interviewing inspirational people from around the world that shape our sustainable energy future.
Born in 1974, Reykjavik (Iceland), Katrin Fridriks is an abstract painter who explores speed, gravity, growth, and the interaction of man and nature in different media. She is a participating artist to The Solar Panel Art Series, an artistic project created by The Beam Magazine and CleanTechnica, in partnership with the Little Sun Foundation.
Over the years, Fridriks has developed her unique way to perform with the canvas. Among the techniques she uses is the “full macro” technique. By pouring different layers of paints onto an inclined canvas, Katrin uses gravity to let these layers flow naturally on the fabric and through harnessing the different elastic properties of the materials she uses, she is able to create a set that looks like a landscape.
While creating the physical piece takes mere seconds, Katrin spends days physically and mentally preparing for a painting. Between the light diet, the meditation and the yoga session, her ritual demands a lot of energy. She compares her preparation to one of an athlete. “Balanced physical attention is required in my painting” she says.
Once in front of the the canvas, Katrin’s body comes to life and the movements begin to flow. More than painting, Katrin is performing. “At that precise moment, I am more than focused. I have trained for days before coming into production. Now, I need to control all of my muscles, the weight of the barrel I carry, the angle I’ll throw paint onto the canvas- in what position, at what speed and which angle it will fall on the fabric. This is the moment of my creation where my body and my mind flow together. As I “catch” speed, I tend to fix it on the canvas. At the end, I always feel satisfied when I see a whole galaxy of details appear in a matter of nanosecond.”
Choreographed movements to create art was revolutionary to us. It was our first time hearing of such a technique, and we thought there must have been some sort of turning point in the artist’s life that inspired the adoption of this method.
Influenced by her grandfather, who competed in the Olympics in 1952 as a discus thrower, Katrin instinctively emulates athletic motions as a part of her artistic process and technique.
“I trust my senses most of the time, but the best surprises often occur when I’m being spontaneous; the result is never entirely expected and this is the kind of surprise I’m looking for.”
Katrin submits to both notions of control and randomness. She admits to us that while she exercises “full mastery of the combinations of material and colorimetry” she has “no real control over the outcome.” It is in the dance between the premeditated and the improvised that she finds excitement.
The balance she seeks to express artistically exists at the crossroads between meticulous anticipation and instinct, and the linking of those notions with the chemistry of materials she works with. At this stage she not only becomes the master of color and motion, but a catalyst that allows her colors to interact with themselves as she choreographs their meetings.
“It’s always surprising to see how unpredictably my materials are reacting with each other, and it is inherent in my work. I never fully anticipate my creations; the materials have their own way to react. Depending on how long they’ve been prepared. I’m not overthinking when working, otherwise this would mean the demise of my creative process! Everything is a question of balance between my instinct and accepting the fact that my materials work in mysterious ways, at some point!”
Her notions of balance have been greatly influenced by her Icelandic origins. The young, wild, untamed and ever-changing terrains of Iceland have helped not only shape Katrin’s inspiration but her as a person. This influence is seen in the outcome of her art.
“Rivers looking like veins from above, unpredictable geysers, melting glaciers and molten lava… My painting is strongly connected with these natural phenomena both technically and mentally.” And then of course, as a citizen of Iceland — a country blessed with the cleanest sustainable energies sources — she constantly tries to find ways to get more involved in ecology and socially impactful ways of promoting sustainability. She does this by continuously being up to date about what is happening with our planet, its water resources, and how we are currently trying to combat climate change. “These questions have a great impact on my latest research and influence my mindset while creating,” she concludes.