Heiko Müller is an artist who combines his love of nature and animals with a dark and whimsical approach to his paintings. His artwork ‘Geese’ is reminiscent of a classical religious painting from the later middle ages with wonderfully sombre tints of colour and craquelure that often feature in paintings of that era. The subject matter diverges from the classical into the surreal as it features the heads and necks of two geese emerging from an elderly man’s eye sockets, and the lettering ‘Species’ possibly indicates the aggressive and unpredictable nature of these domesticated birds. The subtle graduations of colour in the man’s skin, the unusual form of the nose and mouth, and the careful use of light and shade create an artwork that is absolutely compelling.
The next artwork is a pencil drawing that evokes a nostalgia for black and white film, but subverts it with the inclusion of a wonderfully textured wooden mask that completely covers the man’s features, or perhaps the man’s face has been transformed in some cruel act. The fingers that reach up to touch the face contrast with the rigid wooden lines of the face and although the expression is calm, we can only wonder at the horror of such an experience. The loose background forms of the landscape provide a suitable counterpoint to the delicately rendered portrait, and give it an almost dreamlike quality.
Müller shows a different side to his painting technique in ‘Der Jaeger von Fall’ (The Hunter of Fall). Here we see a much more expressive and looser approach to his brushwork, particularly in the landscape, and there are several daubs of circular paint positioned on the upper area of the canvas that do not seem to represent anything. Müller disrupts our expectations of what a hunter is by depicting him with a hat with ribbons, traditional European alpine clothing, and holding a glowing rifle that emanates a rainbow from the gun barrel. Furthermore, the animals in the painting seem unconcerned with the hunter in their midst although the fox and deer have a slightly haunted look in their eyes.
Heiko’s range of technique and use of materials is a joy to observe and CAN are delighted that his work has found new audiences and collectors online!
Name or alias
What is your background as an artist in general?
I studied illustration in my hometown Hamburg. After university I worked as a graphic designer during the day and at night I made digital icons as those I have on hicetnunc.xyz. Since 2003 I had or took part at more than 150 solo and group shows in 18 countries. In 2006 I started painting again and since 2017 I am a full time artist.
What is your overall process in generating art?
When I have a new idea I make a very rough sketch. If I need samples I start seeking for them in my huge photo archives. If I don’t find good samples I ask google for help or I make new photos. Then I make a draft in photoshop, I transfer it to my iPad and start drawing or painting.
How would you describe your art in your own words?
Playful, dark and silly associative realism with some comic elements.
Favourite artists / influences?
Illustrators: Zdeněk Burian
Old masters: Petrus Christus, Hieronymus Bosch, Michelangelo
Modern Masters: Joseph Beuys, Cy Twombly, Mike Kelley
Friends: Till Gerhard, Henning Kles, Eiko Borcherding, Elmar Lause and many more
How did you discover the new blockchain world of Crypto Art and NFTs in general?
Mario Klingemann (@quasimondo) and Thomas Demuth (@Polygonist) introduced this crazy crypto universe to me and after thinking about it for a few months I decided to give it a try. I still had my digital icons lying half dead on some old hard disks since many years and I thought that they are too good to be buried there and I decided that H=N is a better place for them. I actually made a new digital icon a few weeks ago and I’m planning to make many more.
Has the digital nature of cryptoart NFTs changed how you approach your art practice?
Not yet, but my creative process is always very slow and I’m still thinking about how to create new stuff that fits to my old digital icons as well as to my analog paintings and drawings.
What if anything, has surprised you about this new area of art practice?
If you mean the NFT universe, there is so much that surprised me. The language, the dynamic, the complexity, the hype, what is successful and what is not, the importance of Twitter which I didn’t use for many years, how bluntly the artists are making promotion for their objects and so much more. I’m still shaking my head in perplexity every day, but it is also exciting and fun and I made new friends.
How would you like the field of cryptoart and nfts to evolve over time?
I don’t know. I just hope that I will find my place in a community of artists I love. I think this is already slowly happening. Also I hope that it will calm down a bit.
How can access and information to this new field of art practice be encouraged?
I think crypto art is a really strange and abstract thing. When I made my first steps I felt like a caveman who is trying to understand some super nerds talking about quantum theory. Well made tutorials would have helped but those I found were written by quantum theorists. Some great tutorials on the platforms would be nice.