Composer, musician, and painter Katharina Dustmann works on abstract paintings and parallel on accompanying music exclusively composed to selected paintings.
The synergy of art and music is the focus of her work since 1989. In her own music and production studio “Studio Katharco she creates film and theater music as well for her own multimedia productions. More information here: www.katharco.eu
With the foundation of KD-ART-MEDIA production company in 2018, she opens a new exciting field of work, the synesthetic art form – Sound of Colors (KlangBilder) www.kd-art-media.de In her studio in Schwäbisch Gmünd, Germany she creates her exceptional art.
In her paintings, she combines expressive worlds of color that develop in a way that is based entirely on the painterly process. A painting that is non-figurative and without rules, non-conceptual, far from pressure to perform, and overambitious. Inspired by music, rhythm, and the beauty of colors, she goes into a free performing
Her mostly large-scale color compositions evoke associations, moods, landscapes, or forms that only seem to come from reality.
With the idea of C.G. Jung, the unconscious act in the second level, and the resulting image of each individual, she challenges the audience to find out their own story, to discover the unintentional visual language, and thus establish a relationship with the work of art that suits him.
This also gave rise to the idea: You also have to hear the painting!
A combination of visual and auditory art forms – Transformation – Moving Art.
Music as transformation, inspirations, spiritual encounters, and lustful feelings – lines and colors become scores and sound. It opens the visitor and art lover a changed view of the artworks – a simultaneous intensive feeling of the music, lines, and colors – of the creative forces of several artists and art forms – A forward-looking corresponding work of art is brought to life here.
The project “Sound of Colors” (KlangBilder) was created with the desire to invite people to spend more time with the picture, to dive with the music into another level, and thus to be deeper and almost „lost“ in a picture. Guided by the sounds, moving through the picture and thus more detached from the outside world. The lines and colors and their impressive aspects are perceived much more intensely and experienced in a new dimension.
Hi Katharina! How did it all start for you in the world of art, and what came first music or painting? And how did these come together?
Katharina: It started with my teacher saying, „There is no better grade I can give you for your fantastic drawing.“ I am very thankful to him, he gave me the first courage to appreciate my works.
I was ready for some more and bigger artistic activities.
So I have created a lot of festive activities for the school festivals, and I really enjoyed that. But I also sprayed the foam fire extinguishers in the school auditorium as a work of art. Or I set up the stuffed animals from biology class outside in the pouring rain, like an art exhibition. So they loved me and they hated me. In the end, they banned me from school because I was too different. But then I knew I would become an artist.
First came the music. As a percussionist, I do concerts now for 33 years. Followed by studies in sound engineering with a focus on audio in the field of art, media, and communication and the founding of the production studio „Studio Katharco“ together with Marco Ambrosini. There is the main place for me to work on the synergy of image and music since 1989. My focus here is film and theater music and sound creations for multimedia productions. See also www.katharco.eu.
The images were always present at the same time. No matter if they are paintings or photographs or the simple seeing of the pictorial ideas during my work in music compositions or as a director in a production. So a picture and music, for me as a synesthetician, are inseparable. When I make music I see images and when I see images I hear music. Therefore it is also quite natural that for me a picture also has a sound. But not everyone can hear it, therefore I make it audible for everyone.
Tell me more about how the idea of C.G. Jung, the unconscious act in the second level and the resulting imagination of each individual, and how you challenge your audience to find out their own story in your art.
Katharina: Each of my pictures has a story for me. It arises either already in the painting process or develops later. When I ask viewers of my paintings, please tell me your story that you discover in the painting, it never takes long and they let their own fantasies run free. Their own story, their own creations of figures is brought out by the colors and shapes and everyone shares the painting in their own way.
I think this happens on a different level. It’s like C.G. Jung explains. For example, the theory that the unconscious has a much greater influence than the conscious perception. What happens to people when they stand in front of a picture? Do they associate their own life? They feel a desire or it gives them an uplifted feeling? Why? Do they perceive the artist? With his sweeping stroke with his fantasy and creativity? Is it the desire to also be so detached and free? Like an artist, just to do it? Or can it also be the influence of several colors? Which reminds us of happiness, flowers, rainbows, the sky, or it touches sadness and thus appears as if something is being reflected, as if one is being understood or perceived. In any case, it is deep inside us, what moves us at that moment, something that often can not explain. It is the same for a painter, he paints because he is and because he can show it this way. If then a picture and a person feel attracted to each other, it can lead to a relationship and maybe they will live together in one house… Haha.
What is a day of working like in your studio? Do you have any rituals that help you get motivated or in “the zone”?
Katharina: Before I paint I often go for a long walk, I get inspired by the colors and forms. I see a green juicy tree against a blue or wonderfully gray sky. A cube next to a round shape. Rough next to smooth. All this makes me want to paint. Arrived in my studio, I go to the paintings I’m working on and have admiration for them. I would not like to tell here that I speak before painting with my brushes and paint, otherwise, everyone thinks I’m crazy. I do not listen to music. My workspace is in a studio where music production and painting are combined. So it is possible to switch here and there and that is a great joy to me. I also like to work in the garden, where I can splash around.
What aspect of your job never ceases to give you butterflies or make you excited?
Katharina: Always having a project. The project itself. When I plan the first small steps and it starts moving. When I meet other artists, to work with them. When parts become more visible and you can already feel it. When I have to be brave and great and at the same time humble. When the day of showing comes. When the audience loves it. When you get the right respect and recognition. The whole process.
What’s the coolest art tip you’ve ever received?
Katharina: “Let the beauty of what you love be what you do.” – Rumi
Do you ever experience creative blocks? And if yes, how do you overcome it?
Katharina: Yeah, sometimes I think, oh my, what if you run out of imagination, you run out of ideas, or you can’t paint? But then I laugh and think: Nonsense! That never happens!
What is your most recent piece of art that you have enjoyed working on the most?
Katharina: It’s a painting with music, it’s called „Die Wächter“ (The Watchmen or the Guardians). The scale is 150x150cm. It has a very special red color, deep, soothing, and at the same time powerful and strong. It is how the guardians should be. Also working with the Japanese Koto player Karin Nakagawa on the music for this painting was very enjoyable and inspiring, fantastic. She was able to connect very well with the painting. Her own culture has also been a great influence. The most beautiful and important thing is to work together on art, this brings diversity and creates wonderful results.
What advice would you give to upcoming artists, how to think out-of-the-box and grow?
Katharina: The most important thing, of course, is to always be very very open, respectful, and sometimes humble, that’s very important. Do not try to paint off, that does not work anyway. Then always have several professions or art forms, firstly to guarantee variety but also to be more financially stable. Always keep on learning. Invest more than you can. Also enjoyable is to see everything in life as an art or as a composition, that’s the best state of being – cooking, brushing teeth, walking, cleaning, being – All is art!
Do you see your art as serving a purpose beyond art?
Katharina: Yes, but I would still call it art. A therapeutic art. I absolutely believe that we can save the crazy world with art. Art can give therapeutic help, make you feel better, help you make decisions, delight you, free you, make you happy, this list is endless. All people should surround themselves with art, it would bring a lot of joy into their lives. I have worked with my art as a therapist for people with several and mental illnesses. I have made music to their symptoms and painted pictures for them to help their healing process. Art with music for salutary support is nothing new. It is really fantastic and it works.
What is next for Katharina?
Katharina: I will do exhibitions with my paintings with music around the world. Also some space-dynamic light and sound as interacting with paintings, sculptures, and architecture. Sound architectures, especially in complex surround or multichannel technology up to 10 channels.
A bright future for art!