Exclusive Interview With Karin Hauck, 2nd Prize Winner of the Emerging Artist Award 2023
German artist Karin Hauck deservedly won 2nd prize in this year’s Emerging Artist Award as part of the Beautiful Bizarre Art Prize 2023. Her winning piece, “Plastic Venus”, conveyed a strong message about humanity’s current relationship with mother earth. In a multi-levelled approach, her work highlights several juxtapositions, both in the physical sense using traditional painting techniques and references alongside contemporary focal points, and simultaneously guiding the viewer to think deeper about the contrasts between the two time periods blended within her works.
Born in Leipzig, Germany, Karin Hauck has lived in Bremen since the mid-1980s. While she has enjoyed a rich history in creating art, she surprisingly didn’t start learning how to paint with oils until 2015. After recognising that this medium helped to best realise how she wanted to explore and convey “the human being and his consciousness”, Karin hasn’t looked back.
I interviewed Karin Hauck to learn more about this year’s Emerging Artist Award 2nd prize winner. Read ahead and enjoy.
Exclusive Interview with Karin Hauck
You have been drawing and painting for most of your life, but you moved to painting primarily in oils in 2015 – what was it about oils that caused you to set your heart on them as the best way to express yourself?
In my early years, I used to draw portraits because I found human faces fascinating. I only started painting much later. Initially, I experimented with abstract acrylic painting to figure out the best way to express my intentions. Later, I painted mandalas with geometric shapes until I found figurative oil painting in 2015 and realized that it was the right path for me.
Do you have any special tips or tricks for working in oils that you wouldn’t mind sharing with our readers?
I paint using old master techniques with underpaintings and glazes, or with grisaille and Alla prima. Painting without a detailed preliminary drawing is also very interesting to me. Each technique requires a lot of practice, so it was helpful to choose one technique in the beginning.
Your winning piece, “Plastic Venus”, is a strong narrative highlighting humanity’s current negative influence on the earth – is this a topic close to your heart?
Yes, this is an important topic for me, and I believe that women play a significant role in taking action to counteract when people destroy their livelihoods, wastefully consume resources, or deface nature.
What made you decide to focus on the goddess Venus and William-Adolphe Bouguerau’s original painting as the base for your interpretation in your winning painting?
The goddess Venus symbolizes love and beauty. According to mythology, she is born because of an act of violence. The Earth goddess Gaia persuades her son Cronus to cut off the genitals of her husband Uranus due to his violence and throw them into the sea. From the foam that resulted, Venus is born.
The Venus I depicted is wrapped in a plastic sheet and looks to the side, as if she doesn’t want to see all the garbage floating in the sea. I chose the figure “Evening Mood” by W. A. Bouguereau for this because I love the figures in his paintings, and this figure is particularly suitable for my interpretation. It’s a hopeful interpretation because, even though terrible and ugly things happen, I believe in love, beauty, and humanity.
Your entire Old masters in new time series is an interesting approach to practice traditional techniques while simultaneously creating something fresh and new. Have any interesting conversations or thoughts come about while you have been exploring this merging of historical and contemporary themes and symbols?
Interesting ideas and conversations arise when creating such paintings. Primarily, I paint figures from the old masters to better understand their techniques. Numerous museum visits assist me in this endeavor.
The idea for the painting “Free Yourself” emerged during one such visit to the Louvre. It revolved around the theme of slavery, as we all have varying degrees of involvement with things that can make us dependent. In today’s world, these things are similar to those in the past, they only appear differently.
What is the most radical thing that you have attempted as an artist, and what did you learn from this jump into the unknown?
The most radical thing I’ve attempted was to paint the Mona Lisa. Taking on this task and executing it was a significant challenge and an experiment for me. It required a lot of attention and brought me a great deal of dissatisfaction. Unfortunately, it’s not possible to closely examine the original. I didn’t quite capture that subtle expression in which I believe I could perceive much of Leonardo’s great personality as I had hoped. Perhaps I will try it again once I have studied his painting more thoroughly.
Looking back, are there any paintings which signified a turning point in your life as an artist?
The painting “In the middle you go the safest” personally holds a special significance for me because it touched someone and was helpful for a positive change. I painted this picture for my son, who was going through a difficult time. Fortunately, things later took a turn for the better when he found a middle path to continue in his life.Karin Hauck
Can you share what you are working on at the moment, or upcoming projects?
Currently, I’m practicing with a new technique that I recently learned from the wonderful Spanish artist Arantzazu Martinez. I’m currently working on several portraits and a painting for a good friend’s wedding. There are also many ideas involving old master figures that I plan to explore.
Beautiful Bizarre Art Prize
Focussing on your win – why did you enter the Beautiful Bizarre Magazine Art Prize?
I applied for the art prize to see if my paintings hold any significance in the art world. I was pleasantly surprised when I received the news that I had made it to the finals. The biggest surprise, however, was when I was awarded the 2nd prize in the Emerging Artists category.
What do you feel you have gained from this experience?
From this experience, I gained great motivation to continue painting and to believe in myself. I have also formed very positive connections with other artists, and now my artwork is receiving more attention and recognition.
Would you recommend it and encourage others to enter? If so, why?
I would definitely recommend participating in this art prize. Throughout the entire process, I always felt professionally supported and in good hands by the entire team at Beautiful Bizarre Magazine, and for that, I am very grateful.
Want to see more? To keep up to date with Karin’s adventures and art, check out her socials below!