Claude Eigan

Artist Interview

October 17, 2015
Claude Eigan was Born in Saint Germain en Laye, France. Studied graphic design at ECV (School of visual communication) in Paris. Lives and works in Berlin, Germany.

How did you start making art?

I originally studied graphic design and worked for several years for a branding company after my graduation.

I learnt a lot through this experience, but at some point I felt a little bit frustrated in creating visuals for others, and not having the chance to express my personal ideas more freely. I was doing art projects on the side and felt that I needed to reverse the balance : focus more on the art and do less graphic design so that I can still enjoy both.

Also, I’d rather make people think or feel something through an art piece than make them buy a product.

One thing I was also missing is the possibility to experiment techniques and work with different materials instead of spending 8 hours straight in front of a computer.

Are there any specific reasons you utilize leftover materials in your artwork? How do leftover materials emphasize the meaning of your art?

I’m interested in objects or materials that most people don’t pay attention to; either because these elements are damaged, too old, or because they are so generic that you don’t see them anymore, they become only functionals objects. The foundations of my work is what these materials suggest, or the story that they used to tell. Using their initial symbolic meaning allow me to amplify it and create a new story, sometimes with a political aspect, sometimes using a more lighten/humorous tone. The choice of materials also depends on the subject of the piece: I try to find the appropriate medium for each work and not limit myself to one technique or material.

Do you have any recommendations or advices for artists who want to study or start their career in Berlin?

Well, the good thing about living in Berlin is that there is a lot of places to see art and potentially show your work too, from the established galleries to the small project spaces or unexpected temporary events, the art scene is really rich and diverse. But there is also a lot of artists, so it can get a little competitive sometimes.

It might sound cliché and probably not specific to Berlin but I would say going to openings is a good start, to get a glimpse of what is happening in the city. Not too many so it won’t burn your brain though.

For me Berlin is the kind of city that allows you to take time and focus on your work without feeling pressured by everything that is happening around you. Going to openings, bars or clubs is great, but it is also ok if you don’t.

I couldn’t say the same about Paris or New York for example where I feel that you need to be socially active all the time. Maybe there is less distractions here, especially in the winter when the city feels like frozen.

What is your most important artist tool? Is there something you can’t live without in your studio?

I use a lot of different tools, it really depends on the subject of the piece I’m working on. I get bored pretty quick if I don’t experiment with new materials. There is, however, a few recurrent tools that I’m using in a lot of my artworks like black shiny paint or pieces of marble. At the moment, since I’m doing researches for my next exhibition I would say my most important tool is probably my internet connexion.

Do you have any bad habits? And does it affects on your art?

Not sure you could qualify this as a bad habit but I have a tendency to start a lot of things and leave it unfinished inside a sketchbook for a long time. Eventually I go back to these ideas and make it happen if I still think this is relevant. I guess it is part of the process, the idea needs to grow and mature in your head before you actually do it but I find it frustrating sometimes because you don’t get an immediate satisfaction feeling.

Are you working on some new projects these days?

Yes, I’m working on a new solo show in Berlin for 2016, which will be new pieces of work, more conceptual than what I’ve been doing so far and the main subject will be gender roles problematics.  

The piece ‘…Like Pepsi Cola’ for instance is a work in progress based on these reflexions.

It is picturing the 10 best performing CEO’s of the year. In 2015, out of the top 100, only 2 of them are women.

In these ‘portraits’, I choose to focus on the men’s mouths : turned upside down and cropped in a certain way, you get the impression of a more female anatomy.

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