Art World Maverick Antonio Muñoz Von Furstenberg Celebrates Life’s Divine Comedy.
ANTONIO Muñoz von Furstenberg … wow …that’s quite a name. Are you related to the famous von Furstenbergs?
As far as I know they are all related to me! I guess it is a quite familiar name, especially on my mother’s side.
Such a quality to your work … and so eclectic. You started out in paint?
I started once upon a time in school, drawing in all my textbooks. I especially enjoyed history books, with lots of pictures and paintings where I could scribble all kinds of stuff over them.
And of course you’re filthy rich? A filthy rich and well collected global artist 🙂
I am hanging all over the place. But filthy rich? Quite the opposite, I’m super clean Mr Poor. I’m a true artist! You could say my life is rich – sometimes I get to savour the luxuries of life, like a nice sunset, a healthy nasi goreng, a well-earned siesta and those pleasant hangovers.
Seriously, tell us your story … and how you ended up in divine montage?
Here I am in this world on a rampage of the good and the bad. Always on the other side of things, seriously malfunctioning with the established correctness … the divine comedy.
Why are you not working in a bank and driving a series 7 BMW with a name like that? You had a calling maybe….
Yeah sometimes I wonder why. But now it’s too late, there is no way back. I´m happy.
Being an artist is not a diploma you get in university; it’s not a title the queen grants you and then you’re done. It’s something you struggle with on a daily basis. That’s the beauty of it. It’s a never-ending story. Hopefully with a happy ending. Once I´m dead I hope people start to value my work.
Your work is surreal … did you go eat peyote with the Indians at some point in your life?
I don´t know if this is politically correct to say, but I did experiment. I discovered some colours that are not in the rainbow, saw things that chased me around, tasted the bitterness of sugar … and laughed my head off. If anybody has seen a laughing head, please tell her to phone home.
You have layers in your mind that you transfer to the canvas … is that how it works?
That is an interesting way of putting it. Layers and layers of visual information on one side, and on the other, layers and layers of phrases upon phrases with double meanings that relate to each other. I agree it’s a combination of layers – if you would cut it open it would look something like a club sandwich.
How big are your canvasses? Is it like a stepladder job or a brush with a single unicorn’s hair?
Size matters? I´ve painted huge canvases with a mop, and gone into painstaking detail in others.
You went to Parsons … it’s a good school, possibly the best. What did you learn there?
It’s a great school, but I think I learned more in the streets of New York than in class. It was an amazing experience in and out.
We’re only making jokes here because your style is amazing to us. So detailed and left-field … classic at the same time. Good job sir.
Thank you, this is a very serious matter.
What’s the pedigree of montage – we find it hard to reference any really good montage artists – why is that?
The beginning of the 20th century saw the birth of political photomontage. The First World War was a moment of truth and counter-propaganda. Cut-out images started invading the printed matter. The surreal movement gave it another dimension. Nowadays we are living a new revolution, a big change of perspective. Messages must be sharp and clear. Strong visual imagery is necessary. The web is our new printing press. RE-EVOLUTION.
Is there a resistance to montage as an art movement? Or do you see it as just an extension of multimedia … a modern classic?
I guess there is, in the art world establishment, something about that, the different categories of art. I studied illustration, so I started in the lower levels of art. Something like an outcast. But one thing is for sure, art is art and if not is a FART.
You work in Photoshop … or you’re actually pasting stuff together?
Mostly I work in Photoshop. I started at the beginning of the ’90s, with a fellow student of Parsons, doing comic books. Those were prehistoric times for the internet; computers and Photoshop. We used to have photo archives from magazines that we would cut out and scan – a folder with trees, a folder with buildings, a folder with cars …
Each page of a comic book would take up all the memory of the Apple computer. There were no layers …
Nowadays on the web you can search for an image of anything you think of (little red ant with binoculars and you get 60,700 results in 0.81 seconds). Computers have the memory of an elephant and growing …
And Photoshop has layers (or was it my brain?)
Let’s talk about inspiration. Where does that come from for you?
I´m glad you asked me that question …
(Antonio crawls under the table, rolls towards the door, looks outside, licks his finger and feels the wind. Rolls back to his chair)
And can we ask, do you remember a time when you were afraid of the canvas?
This is like bullfighting, the fright must be there, you can’t go around it. It’s a constant fight with the canvas, or whatever you have in front of you. Sometimes you are in control, sometimes not. At the end you give a final blow and you kill it. That’s when it’s over. If you did a good job you get the ovation of the public, the two ears and the tail. Y sales por la puerta grande!
Do you yearn to return to those days of innocence.in that do you think there’s a danger as an artist to overwork pieces? How do you stay fresh?
Normally I take a shower every morning. But yes, I would love to just jump into a mud puddle and splash. Overworking a piece happens once in a while – it’s when your not happy with it and just keep on going. Sometimes it would be better to just give up but that’s very difficult, there is the inner voice saying come on, you can do it. Nirvana is when you manage to get to the point directly.
What else do you do in your life?
The usual daily routines. Somewhere in there I´m still a person.
What does money mean to you?
I´m still trying to figure that one out.
What do women mean to you?
Women messed everything up. If it wasn´t for them we would still be living in caves, hunting deer, eating with our hands and dancing to the drums around the fireplace, high on mushrooms … can´t be with them or without them.
And children…where are you with that?
Same place – I´m still a kid. I have two children who are growing much faster than I am. When I grow up I want to be rich and famous.
How about poor and famous? Man, you’re in The Yak!