Tim Bengel was born on 31 December 1991 in the town of Ostfildern near Stuttgart. From an early age, the young artist understood that art is not created by imitation, but by combining and creating something new. True to his interest, Tim Bengel won his first art competition as a teenager at his grammar school. The winning painting was a large-format collage of money coins. Through the constant further development of this collage technique, the young man from Stuttgart has realized his idea and developed a new style. The New York art magazine Artnet simply calls Bengel "WUNDERKIND" at the exhibition opening at the Hoerle-Guggenheim Gallery in New York. Whether sand, gold, or other materials. Bengel's intention behind the works is to create something unique through unusual combinations and techniques. Today, with a media reach of over 400 million people, he is regarded as the best-known German artist of his generation.
We wanted to get a deeper insight into sources of inspiration and working methods and asked some questions:
How did you find your genre?
I´ve always wanted to do things differently, different from the others. And I didn´t want to paint with oil, but to look for something new. It was no coincidence that I ended up with sand and gold. I proceeded systematically, tried a few things and after five to six years I ended up with my two materials.
Which techniques do you prefer and how do you proceed?
My work is based on the collage technique. This means that I use an Alu-Dibond plate as base and coat it with industrial glue. During the drying process I have time to apply the sand and the gold precisely. Usually I start with the gold and then continue with the black sand, but this can vary from picture to picture. The special glue gives me the freedom to work over a longer period of time.
But only after tilting down can I tell if I am really satisfied with my work and the final result is only visible after painting.
The completion of a painting is always a very special moment. I also always enjoy the fact that nobody is there and that I have the moment for myself.
Where do you work?
When I work I need to be in absolute peace. I´m quite happy that I live here in the village and nobody can disturb me. For me the work is like meditation, so I try not to have any appointments all day. Working on a picture doesn´t allow me to stop briefly and continue working later. Ideally, I devote the whole day or the whole week to my work.
What does sand mean to you?
My relationship to sand hasn´t really changed since the beginning. There is a rather neutral relationship, because for me it is a means to an end, to the creation of aesthetic works.
Even if many people think so, it´s not as if I enjoyed playing in the sandbox as a child. As I mentioned before, I have also worked with many other materials and created collages. Finally, my breakthrough came with sand and gold.
Do you want to say something with your art?
There are no political messages in my paintings. I don´t want the viewer to have the feeling when he looks at my paintings: `He wants to lead me into the right or left corner, make me a vegan or a meat eater´. The viewer should be completely free.
Nor do I want to make any statements. Viewers should value the finished picture and not just the spectacle around it. That´s why I try to focus people´s attention on the finished picture and make the show a bit smaller. I also try to make myself a little scarcer - not everyone should get an unveiling. I think it´s quite good if an artist makes himself a bit scarce and doesn´t completely surrender to the public.
What are your goals?
The important thing when you think about the future is that you always stay true to yourself and always do what you want to do and go where you want to go. The future may be as it wants to be, you always have to be ready.
Some years ago people used to say (and some still say): `He just has a hype´ or `If it goes on for several years - then I think there is some substance´.
Are there colours and shapes that you prefer?
In the beginning, my works were all black and white and only sand. But I was missing something ‘special’. It was important to me to keep my work timeless. So colours were out of the question for me, it had to be something metallic. Gold is a timeless element for me, just like black and white. Together it just harmonizes perfectly and results in a very unique aesthetic.
Which materials do you work with and why?
Collages are based on glue and so are my works. You can use different things in collages, you´re totally free. I´ve just decided on gold and sand.
Is there something or someone who influences you?
I let the motifs come to me freely and decide from my gut whether I want to do it or not
What is important to you about art?
That´s the secret. I think art shouldn´t provide all the answers directly but should ask the questions. I think it´s good if the pictures also have something mysterious about them and the viewer really has to ask himself: how does he do it in detail? That´s what art is for me.
What does social media mean to you?
You can´t get around Instagram nowadays, the whole art market is developing. In my opinion, social media is super important. It´s just not enough anymore to just display a picture. People want to know: what´s behind the artist? How does he do his work? People want more than just the picture. It´s easy to communicate via social media, I´ve played it out quite well and that´s why I went up so quickly.
However, it´s difficult to assess how things will continue. Maybe there will be a new app and it will revolutionize the game again. With certainty we can expect everything to become digital.
What do you want to achieve in five years?
I find it very difficult to plan for the future. Everything changes so quickly. One year from now there can be so many new things, so many opportunities. In my experience a call can change my whole life. That means for me that I don´t plan five years in advance.
I think the biggest challenge for artists these days is to have to deliver new content under pressure, stay true to oneself and still take a year to fine-tune a new technique. I think that´s a huge challenge.