banner

Brooklyn Street Art

…loves you more every day.

Strøk in Studio: Isometric Figures, Stencils, and Old Doors in Berlin

Posted on October 31, 2018

Strøk! If you can say it you should shout it!

And you’ll have to shout it if you want Street Artist Anders Gjennestad to hear you from his perch 60 meters high above you upon the The Victory Column. Berliners call the bronze woman at the center of this six lane traffic circle Victoria, and Strøk has climbed the 282 steps up a spiral staircase to sit at her feet many times to shoot his models down below.

Anders Gjennstad STRØK. Studio Visit. Berlin. September 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“I like to shoot there because it’s very open and you can move around and there are shadows going in many directions throughout the day,” he says as he shows you images of his subject on the ground on his computer back in the studio. “ He moved and then the shadows are going the other direction- the sun stays there quite late so it’s nice. You pay like three Euros to get in there but its usually not that busy.”

Sequestered in a high ceilinged room of a former school on a sleepy street in the city, the Norwegian transplant has found his home in Berlin for the last few years and he gladly shows you around recent stencils, his custom tilted cutting desk, a crushed car hood now readymade sculpture/wall hanging, and stacks of old heavy doors that he’ll be painting on sooner than later.

Anders Gjennstad STRØK. Studio Visit. Berlin. September 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“All of these doors are taken from abandoned houses,” he says amidst stories of urban and ex-urban adventures with friends on the margins of the city spray painting and salvaging.

“We rent a van and I go with my neighbor and bring all the power tools and batteries,” he says of the work that sounds a little like the harvesting he must have done back home on the farm in Norway. It occurs to you that the recycling of materials is also very ‘green’.

“Yeah we put on a fluorescent jacket and a little helmet,” he says as he shows you weathered and deteriorated slabs of wood with occasional metal moldings or hinges, patterns and markings. Like this one he found in a dumpster.

Anders Gjennstad STRØK. Studio Visit. Berlin. September 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“I also just find things on the street like this one that a carpenter has used as a cutting board under his work. It has all these handwritten measurements on it – these are good canvasses as well. It wouldn’t be so interesting for me to paint it out of fresh canvas,” he pauses. “That’s why I am a fresh garbage collector.”

The deep baritone and thick shaggy mop add to the story as he narrates his way around the studio and a fall breeze wafts in through the casement windows that remind him of his early days shooting models out of them to the sidewalk a few floors below. His unique technique of capturing movement from above and transforming it isometrically onto other planes has distinguished his street works in countries like Lebanon, Portugal, Taiwan, Iceland, France, Denmark, Italy, and others.

Anders Gjennstad STRØK. Studio Visit. Berlin. September 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

It has also brought his figures that are barely tethered to the ground except by their shadows to private collections and gallery shows like his most recent solo exhibition “Gravity” at Galerie Friedmann-Hahn here this summer.

A single image may result from 1,000 photos, he says, all shot overhead with an eye for unusual bending and foreshortening and a surprise. He used to shoot friends or strangers but now more often hires a model and gives them scenarios over the phone from above.

“I have an idea and I ask him to do things,” he says, “but it’s more of the stuff that they do in between when they’re not thinking about it that I find most interesting.” He walks over to a new piece with a figure in a striped shirt, his head obscured and his limbs hanging off the edge of the board that he is using as canvas. “Like this guy putting on his sweater. That was something I didn’t think about before I saw the photos. And I think that’s interesting. So I like stuff that just happens.”

Anders Gjennstad STRØK. Studio Visit. Berlin. September 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

BSA: So it’s the unscripted moment that you are looking for?
Strøk: I try not to give too much direction anyway. I’m always kind of up in the tower and then I called him and I told him to do some things. But it’s the in between things when he is doing things that I didn’t think about or plan I always shoot and then when I come back and look at all the pictures I pick the one that I want.

It is a cyclical pattern he describes as his life in between special sculptural projects or commissioned installations; Salvaging garbage, shooting models, cutting stencils, spraying new canvasses.

“If I had a normal job I would find it hard to justify spending all this time digging in bins and finding garbage, dressing up like a construction worker-and cutting stuff off the walls,” he says with a satisfied expression.

“I love doing all of that and I like to paint so it’s good to have those two interests tied together.”

Anders Gjennstad STRØK. Studio Visit. Berlin. September 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Anders Gjennstad STRØK. Studio Visit. Berlin. September 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Anders Gjennstad STRØK. Studio Visit. Berlin. September 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Anders Gjennstad STRØK. Studio Visit. Berlin. September 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Anders Gjennstad STRØK. Studio Visit. Berlin. September 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Please follow and like us:

Related Posts