Interview with the artist: Rol Steimes

Interview with the artist: Rol Steimes

For those who don’t know you: Who is Rol Steimes?

I am a Luxembourg based artist. I was born in Dudelange where I still live and work.

My works cover a wide range, from small abstract landscapes and macro views to large-scale industrial landscapes. Since 1991, my works have been exhibited nationally and internationally. Many of my paintings are part of public collections of Luxembourg Embassies, such as the embassies of Shanghai, Lisboa, AbuDhabi, Tokyo, Warsaw Copenhague, Moscow, Bankok and Brussels. Some works are part of public collections of Ministries and Town Halls in Luxembourg. I have received 6 international awards in the years: 2004 Losheim (Germany), 2007 in Sorèze (France) and 2009 Biennale de Cattenom (France), 2013 Mannheim (Germany) 2015 Audun le Tiche (France) and finally the first price of the “Salon d’art contemporain” in Esch-Alzette (Luxembourg).

What were your first thoughts when our gallery that specializes in Man & Machine themes invited you for an exhibition?

Man and machine, steelworks and workers, smoke and mystery is exactly what I am showing through my work. Hence, this concept of ‘Man and Machine’ immediately raised my full interest. I grew up about 2 kms from three blast furnaces from ARBED, (today part of Arcelor Mittal) in Dudelange, my father and grand-father used to work there and most of the city was coined by the steel industry and its workers. Today, the last blast furnaces of Luxembourg are cold. These are located in Esch-sur-Alzette/Belval and they have been preserved to be cultural and industrial monuments of past times. These “steel cathedrals” are a part of my paintings. Not only the spirit of these industrial giants but also the workers are in my focus.

Labyrinthe – Rol Steimes ©

Can you tell us about the process of making your work?

I try to paint like the old masters taught us. Thus, I apply the colour in many layers, often up to 30 to 40 different ones. This enables me to get the deep light and shades, procuring this kind of dramatic vision.

My paintings are full-size views of real natural and industrial landscapes or cities. Or they can be detailed macro views, which I capture in the darkness of night, such as the night series, or in the shade of nightfall, only illuminated by indirect light. My paintings, even the abstract ones, are based on these views. They have to be seen in a more figurative way than they could appear at first sight.

“I always have a clear view of my project before I start painting. In fact, the work is usually completely finished in my mind even before I make the first brush strokes.”

Do you interact with the digital world/technology in your work?

I only use a digital camera to capture the subject I want to work on. This allows me to fix a scenery and to remind me of the mood once I get back to my studio. It allows me to keep that fresh in mind when I work on it. Apart from that, I use no further digital help for my work and my works are merely on canvas or paper.

Study of a light – Rol Steimes ©

What visual references do you draw upon in your paintings?

I always have a clear view of my project before I start painting. In fact, the work is usually completely finished in my mind even before I make the first brush strokes.

Having a project in my mind, it happens that I go out at night to find what I imagined, for instance a specific view of a branch in the moonlight. Then I try to capture that specific subject, the light, the perspective and so on, so as to be able to render exactly that in my painting.

All images belong to artist Rol Steimes.

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