Stefan Eck, Toronto Member Since August 2009 Artist Statement As an illustrator and creative thinker I draw inspiration from many sources, some of which have helped shape who I am today. Over the years I have been mostly inspired by renown artists such as Jean Dubuffet, Pablo Picasso, Nicky de Saint Phalle, Jean Tinguely, Peter Minshall, Friedrich Hundertwasser and Jean-Paul Goude for what I call 'living art'. As far as I can remember I have always had a passion to promote 'art in the street' with the purpose of creating a dream for the mainstream.
My desire is to take the art out of the museum and bring it into the street where people can experience it as if it were alive. I believe my purpose is to create an experience that comes alive, an experience that trancends the barriers of language and cultural differences and brings everyone together.
I originally began to illustrate walls by painting in the street and around public spaces, in live houses and temporary exhibitions around Alsace, France where I was born. They consisted of a lively mix of colors and each installation was around for several weeks. They were accessable to everybody. One of the most interesting installations was during World and Culture Week in Mulhouse, France where, accompanied by other artists, we produced a 'Freedom wall' as a humble mimic of the Berlin Wall.
Another time I was commissioned to perform and paint a tryptique called 'Saga' in public over two weeks illustrating specific happenings in my home town. At the same time I was involved in a local parade, I was 16 years old at the time. It originally started as a summer job where I learnt the craft of parade float construction, working on large metallic structures.
I was then promoted to Art Director of the event due to my drawing abilities. I then began to understand that performing arts such as parades or carnivals have important roots in our culture across Europe and are a strong medium in the promotion of art in the street.
I have been involved in many events over the years including the world famous Strasbourg Carnival. However, after 8 years working in parades across the north-east of France I made a decision relocate to Japan having always been fascinated by the Japanese culture, it's people and it's heritage. The opportunity enabled me to join the team in charge of Osaka’s annual parade. They soon offered me the position of Art Directior in charge of all creative duties throughout my three year term. During that time I learnt how to integrate with a new culture and like a sponge, I absorbed everything I could during my 5 years in Japan.
I really believe parades and the outdoors are an important facet of the performing arts worldwide and I would like to continue to illustrate, design and build living art for everybody. I would like to have them installed in the street where they can be seen, experienced and explored by the public.