A one man creative army – Gregory Boerlein

In the deepest places of Munich, rumours spread fast and it is often said that Munich is a actually just big city village, where everybody knows each other through some way or another. If you don’t know a person, then at least some friends of yours. So in the end you know the person through six corners.

I’m glad that this was not the case with Gregory, who I got to know in an atelier that my friends were renting. How exactly we bumped into each other is no longer in my memory, but it was certainly not through my big city village theory. It was better than that, because when I was in the art studio and saw his work, I got really excited. I knew he had it in him. And that I knew that I absolutely had to work with him on an editorial.

His work triggered something in me. To put it more precisely, it triggered a flame within me that burned to visualize my creative thought of processes. I don’t know about you, but when I meet someone who is really creative and lives it to the last breath, it really gives me a huge motivation to get my own shit on together.

Gregory is not only a talented painter – he also makes music, writes his own lyrics and designs clothes from time to time. He interpreted the Adidas Supercourt shoe according to his own imagination. Without thinking much about it, he went to work and painted the shoe. He then said to me: “What makes art, is the freedom behind it and that it’s a complete nonsense that art critics or people interpret something into, that the artist didn’t even want to intend with his art. If you want to bring the things alive that are haunting your mind, then you should just start it, instead of thinking about something too much and getting in your head about it. What the image brings out in a person is what matters most.”

If you are creative, or want to be creative, then set yourself no limit. Be free, be honest with yourself and be inspired by any creative art that triggers something in you, even if it is not necessarily your niche. In the end, all art is the same. Whether Gregory paints a picture or I do an editorial doesn’t matter, because the moment we create something, we break all the chains that society has tied us down and we just feel free with the shit we love. Read my interview with him below.

When did you start to be interested in art?

A kind of creative expression has always been in me. Later in life I learned that there was the term art with all its associations etc. At the art academy I really learned everything in depth and had to unlearn some of it again to be able to continue working. But I still love running through museums.

Do you have a certain thread in your art that runs through your artwork?

I think I’ve stopped trying to understand art. There is already a thread that I recognize in my work but not one that I made up. If I can see through my paintings myself, if they are too personally constructed, then they don’t interest me anymore. They have no power. I am interested in everything and want to understand life, but I have learned that sometimes you have to let go of everything you think you know in order to understand more.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

My inspiration can come from anywhere, usually a short time before I start a new painting suddenly some events occur that inspire me for the next motif, material or technique. And in the process of painting itself I learn how to confront it.

What does your art trigger in you?

It’s always different, I had to learn, for example that even pictures that I personally don’t like that much or that don’t seem beautiful or pleasant at first sight can still be good pictures. But only pictures that leave a lasting impression can really trigger something in me, pictures that I can’t wrap my mind around, quiet, supernatural, it can even hide in the most day to day things. I think you can only see it if you are quiet enough to listen into nothingness. Otherwise you only see what you see: a thing with a name and its place in the world.

What was the last project you finished.

The last painting I finished was a Maria. At a flea market I bought one of those little saints from an old lady and knew right away that I would paint it one day, not because I’m religious, but because of what it symbolises. A Jesus figure suffering or a mourning Mary, all these are sides of life that we know and have certain associations with them. I found it exciting to interpret and implement this in paintings and it has also given me personal support.

What do you want to give people with your art? Or do you only do it for yourself?

I think my art is the most honest way to communicate with the world. We automatically make compromises in our communication with other people for different reasons. My art stands for itself as it is, maybe a little bit as I am or as I see the world. It is actually only up to the viewer how deep the conversation with the picture becomes. I think I could write a book about all the experiences I had in my life.

I think my pictures express the space between the letters. That which you can’t or don’t want to tell with words because it’s too intimate. Painting pictures is like standing naked on the street without anyone noticing, at least most of the time.

I think, and allow me to sound a bit pathetic for once, at the end I want to carry my heart and soul and everything in between into the world, because it is somehow the most meaningful thing I can imagine doing with my life, in this case through painting.

If you had the chance to save the world, how would you save it?

I think saving the world is probably the only thing I really care about in these times. That may seem unrealistic to say as an artist but there are different roles and efficiencies in a changing society, visible and invisible. For example, there is a collective human consciousness, I think my work has a relevance to make an impact there, but that is a theme, a rabbit hole, that I can’t go into now.

I think real politics is how you live your life and the reality you accept and not throwing a ballot into an urn and waiting 80 years for better times. The world is coming to an end and we simply have to make ourselves heroes in order to help effectively. I didn’t say that this is easy; but I think good intentions, charity, courage and self-discipline are things that help us on the right path.

When we were in your studio you told us that you are now starting to make music. What was the motivation for that?

I think music is a much more direct medium that takes the listener on a journey, like an audio guide in a museum at night. It’s also about composition and playing with aesthetics and contrasts. Instead of picture dimensions, you have the time that limits the song, a beginning and an end. A picture is infinite. But with a song you can make much more intense emotions tangible, it’s like dessert, intense but short, because 3 minutes are not infinity. But maybe it’s a better way to understand what’s happening inside you.

When can we expect the first album?

The first album called “Facing Janus” from our band Casiopaya should be out in the first quarter of 2020, we are still mastering and shooting music videos but the basic stuff is done and it was a very nice, magical process where we worked mainly at night and also sometimes while painting.

Thanks for your time, Greg!

Thanks a lot bro, it was a pleasure.