As an artist I am self-taught, which I have in common with many other artists, who could not live their real choice or only very late during their live. Who knows for example that Vincent van Gogh started his intensive artistic carrier only in his last decade.


 
I am fascinated by the works of Hans Hartung he did in his old age, where he was still able to produce 5000 art works and also to change again completely his artistic expression. He also understood to overcome his, in the old age nearly complete, invalidity by creativity. This thought - to be able to retain and to use creative strength into the high age - gives me the confidence and the power to intensify my artistic work when getting older.
 
With his book Maximiliana, Max Ernst has set a book-monument for the astronomer Wilhelm Leberecht Temple (1821-1889), who was a man carrying out considerable astronomical work, but who was however not accepted by the experts as he could not show any education as astronomer. As a self-taught I am again and again confronted with this problem due to the inclination of our society for examination and performance fixed in writing, that somebody has contributed some time, regardless where he stands today.
 
I do not produce for the money, but very well knowing that the sale, the public, the communication with the public are also crucial for me and my development. Art is a non-verbal communication or, better said, a communication form, which can be understood beyond linguistic, cultural barriers and frontiers. The emotional reaction of people to my pictures and texts is critical to me. Finally, only through my vis-à-vis the impact of my works is recognisable. Here it decides whether the other, just like me, got agitated, affected in the interior by my work. An understanding on a deep level (Freud speaks here of the collective subconscious) takes place ideally between artist and viewer. The letting in for an artistic process causes an opening and a becoming-sensitive on the part of the artist like on the part of the viewer. The spectator is decoding my art work with his heart or not at all.
 

The quick consumption of the book is excluded by this lacing.
 
Through my occupation with historical book painting I came to deal with contemporary book art. By working with pen and brush I discovered the slowness for myself. Book painting is a very slow activity. During time I confronted also the viewer of my books more and more with this slowness. This is the reason why I frequently wrap up and lace my books in the style of the Tibetan palmtree books.
 
The quick consumption of the book is excluded by this lacing. When agreeing to this ceremony of opening, time will be available, which leads me from my current environment to the contents of the book. Only after this ritual I arrived and can begin to look and to read.
 
Natural products are not error free.

As we seem to become more and more perfect in our society, the viewer is experiencing rather the opposite in my books. Writing errors are not a reason for complaint - it is like with the quality specification for linen, which is creasing. Natural products are not error free. I am working on me, but I have also learned to accept my errors.
The written-on sheets of the palmtree books contain smaller texts, from which each sheet for itself does not have any literary connection to the next one. Sheet one does not belong to sheet two, etc. The speciality is the fact that the actual story, through text and pictures, is nevertheless formed in the head of the reader. These are coded messages, but nonetheless well known to the subconscious. As soon as the sheets are mixed again, a completely new story develops. And besides, the ideal book for Swabs, once bought, repeatedly read.

In the book arts I have been active since over 30 years now. My development went from the handwriting in the style of the monks to the contemporary artists' book I am in today. This slow development was necessary for me in order to find me and my style, as far this is possible at all.
 
Each of my books is a further step of development in my artistic concept. Also within the book a development is clearly visibly, at least in my handwritings. Therein differences in the artistic expression are to be discovered between the first and last page. It is quite possible that this remains hidden for the viewer, it is nevertheless recognisable to me. In my books a space-time sequence can be experienced.

The development of new books is to me a constantly new and long development process.
 
This factor time can be experienced in looking at the book. I cannot recognise all at once, only this successive turning of the pages opens up the space and the time to me, like in real life. The turning of the page contains also the slowness, an element that today seems already nearly lost. And therefore one might start reflecting whether the book, artistically seen, should not be regarded also as a form of sculpture, architecture or construction. The border from book to object is gliding. My books always stand at the end of a development phase. If a book is finished, a circle is closed. Usually however already further mental pregnancy is present, which contains a new project. The development of new books is to me a constantly new and long development process. I try to transfer my experiences, my experiencing into the art and thus try to create books I cannot buy this way. The book area is the design area for my work. The concept of a book is completely from a hand, in the sense of book art the ideal solution.

Art always contains the question where my standpoint lies, and contains a position of mine. It is not about to limp behind Picasso or any other artist, but about remaining young in ones heart to go ones own way. It is about facing my reality, to scope with it in an artistically way and so to breath and to live. It is crucial that the artistic work I make is true for me at the moment of creation and that it comes from the inside - then it will become really well. The feeling to have something to say, to be able to say something, promotes my continuous flux of artistic activity.

Inspiration means however to further develop the existing and not to repeat it.
 
The artistic work also contains for me the ability to open up. But works of art do not only develop through myself. They always have their own personal or historical roots. The artistic form is never unique; it is always taken, but changed and re-presented by its own aspects. I believe it is again and again import to re-view the own culture, to look at the own heritage and to face the tension between old and new. We should not underestimate the model function in the truest sense of the word of artists before us. The feelings, people had years or centuries before us, can we still sense today. From this being-touched by the inherited grows inspiration. Inspiration means however to further develop the existing and not to repeat it.
 
In my works I therefore fall back repeatedly on the old masters, whose technique or presentation still have a message for me. I reflect on these old experiences during the artistic process and fill them with my very own today's perception. The dialogue with the old master gives new life to my artistic expression; an idea, a thought gets carried on.

n art it is not the issue to get on where somebody else has stopped. Everyone must look his very own way for his artistic development, find it and finally go it. This development requires the factor time, the slowness for growing, like in nature. And everyone must become aware of the roots, must know where his/her homeland shall be, everyone must become aware of the roots again and from there one must let grow new branches with new strength and new leafs.
 
Colour is energy.

Sam Francis speaks of the power-emitting colour. An experience which I made over and over again in the mountains when I, exhausted, looked at the deep blue monkshood (Acconit) or the gentian (Gentiana verna). This blue is a blue, which gives me strength, strength for life. I really believe that the luminosity of the colours affects people as people can influence each other by the choice of the colour for example in a picture. Colour is highest energy.
 
Beside colour we should not ignore the connection between colour and music either. It lies more closely as we generally believe. Space and time, the same factors as with book art are also decisively for music. Perhaps just the book is the link between the two art forms. Book and sound are two connected areas. The written text will become sound through reading loud, a stage further reading can become a song. This is one aspect - the other thinking direction is the acoustically not perceptible sound of a book hidden inside of books, which can only brought to sound like with an instrument, when bringing a page/string in motion. Sounds can only be produced, when they are hit. A thought bringing me a bit closer to the connection of visual art and music. What is also interesting to me in the next years is just this connection between painting and music.

Creativity is always something godlike in us.

My religion plays unmistakably always an important role in my works and becomes also visible in some of them. In earlier times art always stood in the service of a ritual, therefore the faith, of the respective religion. Creativity is always something godlike in us. The creative act in art contains always something that is theologically godlike. Art was always, and perhaps it is still today, praising of God. Perhaps many artists have forgotten these thoughts today. Also the consciousness to be a Shaman belongs here.
 
Symbols and signs are part of the very early artistic expressions of the human being, and represent one of the prototypes of the artistic creation. Signs have always somewhat to do with before and afterwards, and address the artist and the viewer alike. This language of signs or symbols forms another level in my texts in which I try to let psychological procedures become clear on the basis of form and colour. The symbols come from the subconscious and address the subconscious again. A symbol is an ancient visual description. It forms therefore an additional reading form of the text, in particular within the illustration of a book.
 
The picture and the text become a visible sign of myself.
 
With my abstract language of signs I have created an autonomous possibility of expression beside the text and the realistic painting. Apparent contradiction between the different linguistic forms is also possible at the same time. Decisively for the work is however always, what it sets free in the viewer, which areas of his soul are touched. My own self is of course flowing again and again into my work. The picture and the text become a visible sign of myself.

In my works I unit the real picture and the abstract signs (symbols). Whereby more recently the factor nature plays ever more a role, which my paternal friend Prof. Franz Weiss (Styria/Austria) brought more closely to me.
 
It occurs to me as a book artist the question whether it still seems to be meaningful to illustrate a classical text again and for the umpteenth time. Where does contemporary literature remain? Through the discovery that I had something to say, I started to write myself. I want to harvest the sound of things and people to write about it. Thereby I try to transfer my own experiences and feelings into art.
 
The need for history is our archaic heritage.
 
I tell my stories in my own way and enhance the language of words with the graphic language in real and abstract form. Through writing I try subconsciously to follow the complexity of today's life, but also to make social conflicts public, to make them visible. The reader is put in-between his world and a world perhaps unknown to him. Just at the edge of our society the unfamiliar, undiscovered can be found many look for. My work is done through noticing certain social conditions and requires therefore the state of being attentive. My texts live from the outer and inner observation, which I try to write down thoughtfully. The pictures, abstractly or real, deal with the text, whereby the inner side of life is dominant and can be noticed in accordance with the text. Via the picture in particular, but also via text, I would like to address the unconscious, which lives in each of us.

My mother and grandmother still lived in an archaic farmers' world, in a time full of magic - from there comes perhaps my froth-over fantasy. My ancients were all farmers and herdsmen; something of it remained to me. I describe my own world like I experience it, as the people at the campfire already did it. The need for history is our archaic heritage.
 
Each thing, each situation, each human being has his own history, present and further development into the future. All the same where I hit it, which point of one's life I take up, always a story of life develops. Furthermore interesting is my point of view in this history, I become or am a spectator, an actor or I only provide background information. But I always tell my very own story. Stories lie on the street or sit opposite to me. Stories are there as many as there are people, or even more. With my books I try a bit to highlight the change of our society, or at least the current condition and to give food for thoughts.
 
To approach a picture attentively and to hear what it has to tell me. Slowness, not to rush, to have time to observe and to write, this is the essence to make a text growing. Writing is always a surprise; one is never quite sure what comes. Writing and drawing are always in an interrelation.
 
My unfinished life stories are a collection of such taken up candid photographs, whereby each could become a story by its own, in the connection however form a large story. In these unfinished life stories many thoughts are contained often in only one sentence. Each sentence saves a secret, which one would like to get on the tracks.
Slowness was and is essentially important for me, was always for me a part of my life. I was all the time a slow man, who did not let imposing the speed of the society on him. My texts are slow stories, the repetition belongs therefore to it.
 
In my literary texts I am still missing more dialogue. Too much reflecting, too less is the discussion the fundamental statement.
 
The only rule is to have no rules or to break rules.
 
Illustration is not only supplying pictures for a text. The life of the text begins always at first in the head, then between the lines. I would like to show what I see, and what I see with the heart. A part of my work is probably also to carry the inner feelings outward and to communicate them. I would like to revive pictures in the mind of the people looking at and reading my works. My work does not obey any set laws or rules in art. The only rule is to have no rules or to break rules. The goal of my hand-written texts is not the beautiful writing brought neatly onto paper. I am appealed by the form of the text and at the same time by the artistic design of the book as an overall artwork. Thus the book receives much emotional strength, since I have written the text as I felt it. In reading the writing movement is reconstructed.
 
Through text and illustration I immerse the reader into different worlds of perception. The dramaturgy of my pictures results from the text, but also from the picture language whether of realistic and abstract interpretation.

  G.J.W.