B Y T O L D
E I K O B O R CH E R D I N G
INTERVIEW WITH EIKO BORCHERDING
Spend the Day with: Eiko Borcherding - a Hamburg fellow - with his dry humour and clear-cut drawings, he does not reveal much, but is a man of action.
Eiko, we are in your home city Hamburg today: Did you initially become an artist here?
It's hard to say: What makes you become an artist? Are you an artist innately, or only when you have a particular certificate and a stamp? Looking back, I would say my work today is not that different from what it used to be after school, when I drew things at my desk. But of course I have learned a lot here and have become a bit more professional.
Are there any places that have had a strong influence on you?
I once had a scholarship where I lived quite alone in the countryside for a year. That definitely had an influence.
You work mostly with a pencil or etching needle, right? Despite your drawing medium being grey, your pictures seem colourful - how come? What is the technique behind it?
Yes, I mainly work with pencil. Colourful? I've never heard of that before, interesting!
Your motifs seem mysterious, yet realistic at the same time and always result in completely new hybrid beings. Beings that together tell a story and sometimes even want to exit the picture frame. Tell us, Eiko, what does your magic originate in?
Interesting again: Actually, I don't want to tell stories, but if the drawings have that effect on you, why not, but I had no idea about this magic.
Eiko, you also address serious issues in your art, such as the extinction of endangered species. Are there any other projects on this?
That was the subject of a group exhibition to which I was invited. It's a very depressing subject when you are getting into it.
Does your T-Rex also belong to this series or is there something special about it?
No, he is already past the point of extinction... I have had a great passion for dinosaurs as a child and it was reignited by my son a few years ago.
One of your drawings has a detail of a Leonardo Da Vinci work: "The Lady with the Ermine" (1489). What fascinates you about this artist? Do you have any other hidden puzzle pieces that we haven't discovered yet?
Yes, go search for it ;D .
Eiko, among other things you draw on ancient paper, right? How do you obtain your paper and how do you combine the different kinds? Your papers tell their own little story , don't they?
Yes, because I only work with pencil and paper, the paper itself is quite important for my works, bringing its own history and a kind of aura to it - that sometimes works well with my drawings.
As you know, we have chosen very well considered artworks for the hand-embroidery reincarnation purposes - how do you feel about that? :)
Totally OK for me!
Our ambition for creating the embroideries was to trace each of your pencil lines and recreate the depth and shimmer of your drawings through different metallic threads - tending towards an 'antique silver', a 'bronze' to a deep black - this was a wonderful challenge - how did you learn to draw like this?
I've been doing it almost every day for 20 years, I simply could not avoid a certain learning-effect ;D