WITH AR[T]MOIRE MAGAZINE
“The creative process is like a simulation of life. You constantly make decisions, to create something which seems fulfilling.”
Dennis Konstantin Bax was born in 1979 in Wiesbaden, Germany. Being the only child of hippie parents, he was given all the freedom to explore the world with curiosity right from the start. His oldest memories are those of the surreal images on his father’s easel and the smell of wet oil paint filling the living room. Although there were several people in his family busy with colors and brushes, he decided against art school and studied interior architecture instead and in 2006 he graduated as an engineer. Although he drew a little bit in his teenage years, it wasn’t before that year, that he really started to paint. Dennis currently lives and works as a full-time artist in Hamburg, St.Pauli—the home of his great-grandmother.
Without a doubt, Dennis has been responsible for instilling an interest in an ever-growing international audience. His multi-layered paintings and his psychedelic depiction of life’s broad spectrum has allowed us to see way past what’s in front of us. Although Dennis is at the forefront of the modern visionary and psychedelic art movement, he does not allow himself to fit into one box. Dennis and his unconventional way has been able to guide us into a futuristic fulfillment of incredibly whimsical art (which this drive comes as no surprise since Salvador Dali and his father were friends, and Dennis himself was an assistant to the Viennese painter-prince Prof. Ernst Fuchs).
Dennis Konstantin Bax’s work has been exhibited in numerous cities worldwide, including Denver, Los Angeles, Vienna, Berlin, and Hamburg. He was featured in the widewalls magazine’s ‘psychedelic art top list’ as one of the leading artists in his genre. Besides hanging in galleries, his paintings inspire people at the Burning Man and other alternative festivals around the globe. His extensive art book, “Windows to Infinity” was published in 2016.
Dennis knows how to offer the viewer a peak into a realm that some don’t dare tap into. That realm where you are face to face with your glorious true self, just as much as your demons. For those of you who have been blessed to experience a Shamanic session with sacred Ayahuasca, may very much relate your visions to what Dennis creates. For those of you who are not familiarized with Ayahuasca, Dennis’ art most definitely depicts a spiritual psychedelic experience that to some it may be heaven, and to others hell.
His art has the ability to instill, to inspire, and to poke at your curiosity. A subconscious curiosity that is recognized at another dimension where only your inner being can understand the intricacies of this so-called life. As the title of his book implies, Dennis’ art work definitely opens the “Windows to Infinity.” An infinite understanding perceived only with our raw nature and purest core.
“My paintings are the dynamic expression of a subtle and intangible world, from which all the material phenomena of ours originate.”
Q. Do you remember the first piece of art you made? What was it and how old were you?
A. The first piece which felt like real art for me came to life in Arizona when I was around 21. I had a dream in which I was standing at a door, holding it open for desperate beings fleeing from a dark city. In this dream, I was helping them to escape into a more meaningful and more colorful world. The art piece which followed this dream marks a turning point in my work. This mixed media piece is very precious for me and now, almost 20 years later, it makes so much sense within the mythology of my journey.
Q. How and when did you first become seriously interested in art?
A. As I don’t know what art really is, I can’t answer this question.
Q. What have you had to sacrifice for this career?
A. I really liked studying architecture and I was not bad at it. Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if I would have stayed on that path. But the idea to sit in front of the computer most of the time scared me away. Oh yes, and gravity! There are so many things you don’t have to care about when making a painting. But I still hope that one day there will be a building somewhere with my name on it.
Q. Tell us about your particular style and how you came to it?
A. When I thought about this question, there was one word which immediately came to my mind. My work is all about balance. When I start a painting there is an archaic and chaotic force working in me, smashing the colors onto the canvas. At the later stages of the process, my intellect takes over and tries to unify the chaos by ingenious detailed precision work. So my style is mainly characterized by a healthy balance of both brain hemispheres. I really love and enjoy this marriage of control and chaos, of punk and perfection. What makes my paintings very unique, I guess, is that they are carefully arranged down to the smallest detail while being very open for the imagination of the beholder at the same time. I want to take their mind on a joyful rollercoaster ride.
Q. Do you intend your work to challenge the viewer? What does your work aim to say?
A. I have no interest in challenging the viewer. I want to be an advocate of beauty, aesthetics and novelty. My work wants to lead the viewer into the mystery behind what we think is real. For me the world is full of magic, wonderful patterns and concealed connections. With my art I strive to find the unity of things. Apparent opposites like light and darkness, form and no-form, sadness and happiness all play together to reveal something beyond the mere image. I want to express the totality of life, its inner cohesion and potential for creative transformation. All elements in my paintings are somehow connected and influence each other. I want to evoke the understanding in people, that the world around us is in constant motion, that change is possible and vital for our evolution as humanity.
Q. Who are your biggest influences? Are you inspired by the work of your peers or anyone else in particular?
A. My Dad is maybe the biggest Salvador Dali fan on this planet. No wonder this hallucinogenic master was my first big influence, as he was omnipresent when I was growing up. When I was older, I had the luck to assist Prof. Ernst Fuchs whom I admired for his mystic and colorful paintings. Right now, there are many artists I really like, but I try hard to not get inspired too much by others. I have the feeling that somehow it dilutes my very own vision.
Q. Is the artistic life lonely? What do you do to counteract it?
A. Well, yes. I work alone in my studio most of the time. But to be honest, I really enjoy that. I have to abandon the world to dive into the unknown. When I work, I am more connected than if I don’t. Loneliness is my door to communion.
Q. Apart from making art, what do you love doing?
A. I enjoy being alive, being a father, a lover, a weirdo sometimes. I am always curious to try new things. Music is a big inspiration for me. I am also working on a story for children for quite some time now.
Q. What is your philosophy in matters of art?
A. For me the creative process is like a simulation of life. You constantly make decisions to create something which feels fulfilling. You fail, you succeed and when you are lucky you create something which is very unique.
Art plays a big role in our cultural evolution. Especially nowadays, in a world which is ruled more than ever by the intellect, art becomes an island where the soul can rest. It opens the door to freedom of thought, to a world of possibilities beyond mere logic. We really need that. Society has lost its connection to the abstract, to the mysterious.
Q. What does ‘success’ mean to you?
A. When I am content with myself. And that doesn’t mean that everything has to be great all the time. I enjoy being aware of all the processes in my life. I always try to give my best and to not make such a big distinction between failure and accomplishment. (We often fail to realize that all the bad things in life happen, so that we can learn and grow) I am the captain on my ship but I can’t control the wind or the waves. I have learned to live with the uncertainties of life and that makes me a very happy man.
Q. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given, and by whom?
A. My father once told me that I would be an idiot if I would go for an ‘ordinary’ job. That is the only advice I can remember and maybe it was the only one necessary.
Q. What advice would you give to the next generation?
A. The most important thing is to create a truthful inner voice. There are so many influences telling us how to be and what to think. Discover your own way to see the world by always questioning everything. Explore, grow, love! Once the voice is there, just listen to it.
Efrat Cybulkiewicz & Yuzbeny Escobar