Making a Splash – Interview with Christian Awe

Do you have books that you recommend, re-read or gift more than others – and what makes these books special?

Christian Awe: I really enjoy reading and I love buying books which I do quite often. One of my passions is having books around and collecting them. I even worked in a library for a year before I studied art in Berlins University of Arts. Unfortunately I don’t have enough time to read all of my books. I read about approx. one hour each day, but mostly news and online magazines to get informed what’s going on in the world generally and in the world of arts. I think the last book I read was a narration by Hermann Hesse, “Narziss und Goldmund”. Actually I give away books pretty often. Mostly those I think they might enrich the lives of the gifted persons and books about the arts because in my opinion everybody should dedicate a part of their time to culture.

If you could tweet or direct message every single human being on earth with a quote, hint or an idea, what would your message be?

Christian: See the world with children’s eyes, forget your worries, enjoy life and live it to its max.

What was a crucial moment in your life or career that got you closer to your dream? This might be an event, a good or bad development or an insight.

Christian: Well, let me mention two crucial moments. The first one was when I was studying sports besides art teaching. We had to jump down ten meters into the swimming pool. I was really afraid and descended from the diving platform. But then I overcame all my fears and decided to do it – and I jumped. This experience made me really trust in myself and start studying painting to become an artist instead of a teacher. I decided to try out earning my living through arts although family and friends advised against it. And fortunately I pushed through all obstacles and it worked.
The second moment was an experience with Tony Goldman. Tony and I coincidently met at an art fair in New York where he bought one of my works in his unique way. Back in Berlin, all of a sudden I got a phone call from Tony and his daughter Jessica who invited me to come to Miami because he had an abstract idea. We went to Wynwood which was a very run down district in Miami back in 2009. But Tony asked me to envision a premise for the arts and we created it from scratch. Now Wynwood Kitchen and Bar and Wynwood Walls shaped the neighborhood, created jobs and it all developed into one of the biggest open air museum in the world and into an artistic culinary experience. For me it was the first and only time that someone believed in me with all his strength and gave me not only a great chance but also complete artistic freedom. I’m really thankful to Tony for his trust, inspiration and friendship. For me, Wynwood paved the way for several public art projects around the world.

What relatively inexpensive item has the greatest positive impact on your life? This can be a small object that you carry around a lot or a minor purchase that had a major effect on your well being.

Christian: This definitely is my basketball. Besides my passion for art I get a lot of energy from sports, especially from playing 3on3. It’s not just exercising; it’s like a mental relaxation to prepare what happens in the studio. My studio to me feels like a painting arena, where I make my moves almost like a kind of dance around the canvas.

What do you consider one of the best investments of money, time or energy you’ve ever made?

Christian: Besides investing a lot of money, time and energy into my new studio in Berlin, the most wonderful investment is to spend time with my friends by cruising around the river Spree with my little boat, visiting exhibitions or enjoying Berlins music and nightlife scene to get inspired.

What advice would you give a student or trainee who reminds you a lot of yourself when you were younger? What kind of often-heard bad advice would you advise them to ignore?

Christian: Reduce to the max. Fully engage to what you love and put all your energy into it. Be unique and become the true you.

And finally, is there a specific work of art that you feel very close to? Can you describe this connection?

Christian: There is no specific work of art, it changes from time to time. After spending time in the south of France, at the moment I feel close to works by Henri Matisse like “The Dance” up to the late abstractions by Hans Hartung where space meets pure energy.

Feuerwasser (eruptive) 2018 acrylic on canvas 180 x 180 cm


up in the air 2018 acrylic on canvas 200 x 160 cm


About the author

Albrecht Behmel, award-winning artist, writer and photographer looks at inspiring art and conducts interviews.