‘please excuse my many spelling mistakes in the interview, the keyboard of my laptop is broken and i can’t use capital letters nor question or exclamation marks, haha…sorry’, writes Alice Eikelpoth when sending her questionnaire back. An endearing statement, particularly at a time when things –and often people- are immediately written off or replaced when making the smallest mistakes. today everything and everybody has to function perfectly. Artists are one of the few exceptions, they enjoy a certain creative freedom.
That is why we kept the spelling in lower case – Alice’s words don’t lose their impact by that. On the contrary. Alice Eikelpoth was born in 1982 into a family of artists. Her father, Dieter Eikelpoth, photographed many international celebrities and was a highly-regarded fixture in Düsseldorf. Her brother Robert, who took her portrait, also chose a career as photographer. Alice went her own way artistically and studied Fine Art Painting in Brighton. Her collages often have photographs as a starting point and develop from there.
How would you describe your art? my art comes from within. in my works, i can express experiences and feelings that i can’t explain with words. i would describe the exterior of my works as colourful, wild and messy.
You come from a family of arists. Was choosing a different career path ever an option for you? my brother and i had a crazy childhood. my parents travelled extensively and almost always took us along. we were always on the move and experienced our father’s job first hand. it was very exciting but somehow normal for us, we didn’t know any different. this time has certainly had a big influence on me and i knew early on that i would definitely not end up in an office. however, i also knew i didn’t want to be a photographer.
How did you arrive at your particular painting/collage technique? it certainly was my way to rebel against from what i knew growing up. since everybody in my family was or is a photographer -father, mother, grandfather and my brother- i had to find my own language and medium. during my fine art studies in england, a tutor once said to me:’ you gotta murder your darlings to find your own language’. with that, he wanted to tell me i should distance myself and find myself, my own way of expression. so i started to de-construct and destroy the images that were very familiar to me. i had discovered the combination of painting and collage technique.
Where do you find inspiration? i find inspiration in almost everything, it doesn’t have to be something special, sometimes it simply happens by starting to work on something, without too much thought. new things often develop from there. i don’t like to work with too much planning or preparation.
What is beauty? Should/could art be beautiful? art absolutely does not have to be beautiful. i would never describe my art as beautiful.
Was it ever an option for you to leave Düsseldorf? Why did you stay? i lived half of my life in london. it was always my father’s dream to live abroad. so when i was 12 years old, we moved from düsseldorf to london. i went to school there and later studied fine art at the university of arts in london. i only came back to düsseldorf with my husband a few years ago…london is too expensive. we are happy here now with our little family and my studio. at the moment it doesn’t look like we would leave düsseldorf any time soon, but who knows….
With whom, dead or alive, would you like to have an Altbier in Düsseldorf? with the artist louise bourgeois.
What would you talk about? about our fathers, or the men in our lives in general.