What role does childhood plays in your work?
I was born right after the world war in Vienna, which was a truly dark and depressed place at that time. From the first moment on I felt I was at the wrong place, I thought: 'what the hell am I doing here, I don't belong here..' The grown ups around me were grouchy and didn't talk much and their world seemed cold, dark and alien to me. What I didn't know at that time is that my parents generation had just completed the biggest genocide in history and the destruction of all artistic creation, - museums looted, thousands of books and paintings burned. When I arrived at the scene it was a void place, populated by people who suffered from mass-amnesia. But I was a nosey kid - and I started to ask questions and I kept asking and investigating which eventually led me to point where I had no choice but to become an artist.
You grew up in Vienna, after World War II, do you think you exorcise your
demons trough your creation?
They are not so much my own personal demons, I am rather dealing with the demons of society, of humanity. And from beginning on I used art as a weapon to fight back.
In which ways do you relate to your work and with which elements (such as violence or darkness), when you’re creating?
My work process is based on passion, intuition and curiosity. I don't have a specific plan or method. I just keep moving forward, and each work is a new attempt to get closer to my basic vision, knowing that I will never fully reach it.
Your work is filled with images that could be described by some as disturbing, and provocative. Is there any gratuitousness in these provocations?
I find the world I live in disturbing and provocative and my work is the only response I am capable of. I know I am never raw and radical enough, but I am working on it.
Your work is being presented simultaneously at San Carlos National Museum, Hilario Galguera gallery and Monumento a la Revolución... why did you choose to come to Mexico City?
To show my work in Mexico is an old dream of mine. I have many mexican friends and I love the narrative and expressive tradition of painting in Mexico. And some years ago the Mexican curator Susan Crowly contacted me and told me that since long time she wanted to show my work in Mexico, and she visited me in Ireland and I came to Mexico, where I met Hilario Galguera and Philipe from the City council and Carmen from the San Carlos museum and as you can see it now finally worked out.
Why did you decide to entitle your exhibition in San Carlos Museum as “Faith, Hope and Charity”?
I think titles are not there to explain anything, but maybe to add another aspect, and give people another point of view when they look at the work.
You’re creating a specific project for Monumento a la Revolución.
Was it difficult to understand mexican culture?
I don't know if I understand Mexican culture, but I always felt a deep affection for Mexican culture and history and the peoples' long struggle for freedom. In Los Angeles I am around Mexican people all the time and I like their inherent warmth and joyfulness, which are a welcome contrast to the Gringo world.
What called your attention in order to work with Mexican children?
From beginning on throughout the years - the child was the central theme of my work. I worked with children in many different countries and it's really interesting to see the specific qualities that all children have in common and the differences due to their ethnic heritage and the history of their country.
What do you think is the peculiarity of mexican childhood?
Generally I think it's a privilege to be able to work with children, I always find them inspiring and wondrous and I learn a lot from them. Working with the children from Mexico was a very special experience. I found them incredible pure and innocent, and very sincere in the artistic collaboration, it's something I will always remember.