Harry Pye’s Interview with August KÜnnapu

1) What is art? (Or what makes a good painting?)

Art is a way of self-expression. A good piece of art makes the artist and the world better. Artist puts his/her positive thoughts and feelings into the art and the viewer can download the good energy from there. Good art should make people laugh, cry out of joy and give good mood.

2) What's the greatest painting you've ever done?

It is on its way to be born.

3) Have you ever sold any work that you now regret and wish you had back?

No. But I always try to find out where my “children” are and to pay a visit to them if possible.

4) Who do you have more time for – Sarah Lucas or Tracey Emin?

There is something in both of them.

5) Tell me about the “Black & White” show at Ibid, was it a success?

I hope so. There were around ten artist from different countries working in different medias. I painted portrait of my grandmother, the only colourful piece in the exhibition. But nostalgic energy gave it the needed blackandwhiteness.

6) How did you become involved with Ibid are they good people to work with?

I became involved with Ibid Projects when they started their first gallery in Vilnius back in 2002. Lithuanian artist Laura Stasiulyte introduced us. I have taken part in several of their group exhibitions in Vilnius and London. Yes, they are good people to work with. Recently I got a commission from Vita to make her portrait. I decided to make two different paintings. She will come to my studio in Haabneeme in August to choose one.

7) Have you spent more time listening to Classical music or Jazz?

Jazz, Donald Byrd comes to my mind first. But sometimes I like to listen to Ludwig van Beethoven while painting.

8) Do you prefer showers or baths?

Showers are more my cup of tea. Especially I like the Charcot shower where water comes from different sides and levels of the cylindrical shower cabin. Baths are good for meditation.

9) Who is your favourite comedian / what makes you laugh?

There is a certain beauty in the films of Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy.

10) Are there any books that you recommend everyone should read?

May be the other people we share the planet with. They are the best books to read.

11) What religion are you, do you belive in God?

We are the microcosmos of a macrocosmos. God is everywhere and in everyone – in a human being, in a brick, in a plant, in a dog, in a car, in a cat, in a table, in a refridgerator, in a tree, in
water, in our ideas, feelings and thoughts. I don’t belong to any particular religion – I am interested in positive, universal and essential ideas and their possible materialization in the world.

12) What was your worst subject at school?

May be chemistry.

13) Who do you have more time for – Andy Warhol or Francis Bacon?

I like Andy Warhol’s interest in ancient and modern icons and the magazine “Interview” that he established. Recently I bought a CD compilation “Le New York d’Andy Warhol” – the bands that
were somehow connected to him. I like Fancis Bacon’s sense of composition and colour, the people in the cages and the idea of making triptychs (he has made them probably hundreds in his life).

14) Can you talk a little about your project that involved painting your favourite architects on the doors of the house you grew up in?

I spent my happy summers in the summer cottage in Haabneeme nearby Tallinn. The house was built in 1960ies and demolished about five years ago. My father designed a new white house in the same land. We kept a chimney with some walls from the old house, they were also painted white. Another commemoration from the summer cottage are the fantastic wooden doors, each
with different unusual proportions and decorations. I took six architects – Konstantin Melnikov, Hans Scharoun, Tadao Ando, Bruce Goff, Zaha Hadid, Nicholas Grimshaw – whose style fitted
somehow with the strange design of the old doors. I painted portraits of these architects on the doors. They were first exhibited in Nordic-Baltic Architectural Triennial in Tallinn and then in a travelling exhibiton of young Nordic and Baltic art called “Meeting Place”.

15) If a tree falls down in the forest but no one is there to see it or hear it - did it really happen?

If there exists the idea of a tree falling down in a forest, it is already there in a spiritual level.

16) Is the glass half full or half empty?

It depends on the viewer. Everything is true in the world of possibilities.