Christian Awe’s outsized paintings thrive on the unusual symbiosis between bright colour splashes and artful details. Right at home between visual extremes and a strong synaesthetic focus, Awe loves to fuel and confuse the beholder’s senses by subtly blurring the boundaries between sprayed graffiti and conventional painting
His unrivalled attention to detail draws the eye: When Christian Awe gets down to business and his hands – resp. brush or spray can – dirty, the resulting elaborate layers of astonishingly precise, yet delicate speckles elegantly confuse our perception. Peppered with contrasting details, e. g. the forgotten earring of a lost love, snippets of lyrics from a song or simply the cap of an empty can, he brings to life personal experiences, fleeting stories or half-finished fantasies, culled straight from his overactive brain. Always on hand: the whole colour spectrum of acrylic spray paint to provide an evocative frame and stage for his huge wall paintings, constructed from several layers of paint. A pity that we, as his audience, cannot observe this process as it is this imaginative layering of different techniques, materials and contents that imbues Awe’s pictures with their peculiar intensity; a tension unleashed in his luminous, attention-grabbing works. Feeding off this barely contained manic energy and countless of controlled explosions, Awe thus transforms his canvas into a charged, yet sensual battlefield of the senses with the occasional nod German abstract expressionism or its brighter, more optimistic Californian counterpart.
Firmly rooted in graffiti and street art, Christian Awe’s unbridled artistic force nevertheless received its final polish (and a master class commendation) at Berlin’s University of Arts in 2005.
A born and bred Berliner, Awe likes to stay true to his roots with a spacious studio loft in the German capital. Towering above the metropolis, the massive premises encourage creative flights of fancy – or the odd round of basketball (his second passion) to recharge his energy and inspiration levels. According to the principles of synaesthetic perception, Awe incorporates both visible and tactile as well as audible sources into his mix, favouring and championing the expressive works of local musicians over gentle background sounds. True to the adage “spread the word!” he loves to promote greatness in all shapes and guises, sharing his inspirations with the world to open up our collective cultural horizon that little bit further.
Along these lines, his cover art for the current Mercedes-Benz Mixed Tape edition Vision Diamond – an exercise in strong shapes, luminous shades and almost psychedelic explosions of colour – also encourages mind-expanding explorations to reflect the varied mix of musicians presented on the associated compilation. For a slice of this audio-visual treat featuring ten exceptional artists and tracks, claim your free download copy before June 19th!
Now firmly at home in the world of art – with collectors making a beeline to his studio, eager for a dose of his fresh, explosive surprises drenched in colour – the former outdoor sprayer’s covetable works command impressive prizes on the international gallery scene or at art fairs like Art Cologne 2012.
For a close-up glimpse of Awe’s latest colourful excursions and paint-based explosions, check out his contribution to the international urban art installation Escape The Golden Cage on show in Vienna until May 25th. The grand opening was preceded by a live painting performance of Awe adding his distinctive touch to a 3 x 4 metre wall on the city’s Museum Square.
More information on Christian Awe: www.christianawe.com