Work / Art

Introducing the “dirty, naive and honest” work of Sebastian Haslauer

After a “tiny, inglorious graffiti career” Sebastian Haslauer applied to study at the University of Applied Sciences in Mainz, graduating in 2008. During his studies he worked as an illustrator, and interned at Lodown Magazine and Eike Konig’s Hort. For the past three years he has focused on painting, thanks to “some generous people and residencies” and Sebastian has compiled his work in a new book Élégies. “To me a painting is the ultimate form of image, but I am a super-slow painter,” says Sebastian. “Sometimes I am sitting there eight hours a day for two months painting a smoke cloud with a one-haired marter brush. To not turn crazy I started doing these collages and drawings and cartoons in between. I always describe this as a kind of stretching exercise during the lengthy marathon of painting.”

The book combines offbeat collages, sketches and paintings that draw on a huge range of influences and give an overview of Sebastian’s work. “A lot of energy derives from political disagreement/anger about the status quo I think. Direct sparks of inspiration come from abstract painting and the Yellow Press. If I deliberately search for ideas Google Image Search helps me a lot. It’s easy to get carried away into the depths of the interweb, private photo albums and blurry ebay pictures,” he says. “I experiment a lot with different materials and techniques. I like being a beginner. You don’t follow rules in the beginning or look at masters of the technique, you just try to get control of the material. If I like a technique and come back to it later I mostly start formulating a visual language starting with the mistakes and not with what I have learned afterwards. I like it naive, dirty and honest.”

Sebastian will continue to paint for the time being, as well as exhibiting the work in Élégies at an exhibition in Dusseldorf this month. “I am painting a lot, fighting the presumptuous battle of wanting to create an image of my time. The attempt to represent the present un-melodramatically through an intuitive sense of world affairs and playing with the limitations of painting and abstraction,” says Sebastian. “Besides that, I am working on this series of funny abstract paintings and there is this extensive painterly research of the motive of the sundown. In between I am always illustrating for magazines and newspapers. That’s very refreshing for the head and the bank account.”


Sebastian Haslauer: Straight Outta Comfort, 2016


Sebastian Haslauer: Alles Mit, 2011


Sebastian Haslauer: One Night in Bangkok, 2015


Sebastian Haslauer: Elegi, 2017


Sebastian Haslauer: Perspektive, 2015


Sebastian Haslauer: Pour l‘amour des chiens, 2015


Sebastian Haslauer: Untitled, 2016


Sebastian Haslauer: Mann mit eckigem Bart, 2015


Sebastian Haslauer: Mission, 2014


Sebastian Haslauer: transit, 2014


Sebastian Haslauer: Moralische Gute Nacht Collage, 2014