Michaela Haider, the surreal photography


What brought you to approach art and become an artist (events, feelings, experiences..)

I was mainly brought to art by special encounters that gave me the right impulses at the right time and allowed me the language to the felt experience of art.

What is your artistic path, what techniques and themes have you experimented with so far?

I experimented with drawing, oil painting and photography. From classical photography I quickly moved on to fine art and surreal photography through the images of other artists, such as Brooke Shaden. I also started some experiments with analog photography, but digital photography remains the medium with which I can achieve the strongest expressiveness.

What are 3 aspects that distinguish you from other artists and make your work unique?

A certain naturalness in the production and the works themselves that is often not allowed in photography.  

Using photographs of real figures, landscapes and objects to create surreal scenes and worlds.

And the soul-searching associated with the surreality of my images to re-root viewers in their experience of the world.

Where does your inspiration come from?

My inspiration comes from themes or concepts that occupy me, that I encounter in literature or in my everyday life. In addition, I do research on cultural aspects of terms or concepts and often many ideas come when I am out in nature.

What is the intention of your art? What visions, sensations or feelings do you want to evoke in the viewer?

My art is intended to make the soul experience and the associated nature experience more perceptible. It should strengthen the view into one’s own soul and an understanding of oneself and one’s own being. I think everyone has this understanding, but many hardly perceive it. My works should facilitate the access here.

How do your works come into being? Spontaneously or with a long preparation process (technique, inspiration by art classics or other)?

Both processes take place. Sometimes a place brings a spontaneous idea that I immediately implement. Sometimes I work out themes and concepts, do research on them and work out the image in advance, then bring it to execution in an open process. 

Which techniques do you prefer, and if so, can you explain them?

I work mainly with Adobe Photoshop. That’s where I put the various picture elements in relation to each other and create an overall image. The most exciting thing then is usually to change the lighting conditions, as the impression of the image and how “real” it looks can be greatly influenced. 

Are there any innovative aspects in your work? Can you tell us what they are?

That I use simple means to create very complex and expressive works that are photographically realistic but cross over into the fantastic.

Do you have a format or medium that you feel most comfortable with, if so why?

The square format serves me well. I like the painterly quality of it and it gives photography something unusual.

Where do you produce your work? At home, in a shared or private studio? And how is your production organized in this space?

I produce mainly at home or in nature. But the editing always takes place at home on the computer.

I also use my living space as a studio for this. By moving furniture around and being creative with what’s there, it’s all very doable for me. Often the limitation then also stimulates image ideas. It provides the framework in which I move and in it I can fully spend myself. 

Does your work take you on trips to meet new collectors, to shows or exhibitions? If so, what benefits do you derive from it?

I usually plan the trips privately and then use them to go to exhibitions and create new paintings. The trips then bring in a new dynamic and special aesthetic.

How do you imagine the development of your work and your figure as an artist in the future?

I imagine as little as possible in order to keep this development open. I sense the next steps, what do I like, where am I drawn to, but if I already had an idea, then it would no longer allow the development for me.

What is the theme, style or technique of your latest artistic production?

Submerged. A sense of submergence and immersion. To be fully immersed in something.

Can you tell us about your most important exhibition experience?

This is the experience I’m having right now. In a very important place for my development, we just hung my paintings and it closes a circle that began over 10 years ago. It opens at the same time completely new aspects of my work and they shine stronger than ever because they are finally allowed to be at home.

If you could have created a famous work in art history, which one would you choose? And why would you choose it?

Malevich – The Black Square

It denotes a significant key point in art history because it begins to make a certain demand on viewers to turn their gaze inward as well, and the idea of liberating art from the weight of things resonates very strongly with me.

If you could invite a famous artist (dead or alive) to dinner, who would it be? What would you suggest he/she do for the evening?

Paula Modersohn-Becker.

I would suggest a walk in the moor and then deepen the conversation and exchange over wine.


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