Mixed Tape #56 Cover artist Marc C. Woehr.
Looking back on a cool quarter century of creative expression, the now 40-year-old Marc C. Woehr has explored many artistic terrains. His latest endeavour: our new Mercedes-Benz Mixed Tape #56 cover.
In the open air.
Back in the late 1980s, Stuttgart-based Marc C. Woehr had his first brush with art. As a teenager his love of graffiti flourished: an open-air passion that shapes his output to this day – as does his circle of friends, a close-knit team of like-minded souls. That time also left its mark on the man with the dark eyes and characteristic frames. Though rather quiet and self-contained by nature, Marc has nevertheless always loved sharing his creative skills with the world. Eager to make – and leave his – mark, he seems to go by the old school graffiti motto of “Write your name on the wall and let the world know that you exist!”
And by doing so Marc has conquered the coolest spots, highest rooftops and most iconic landmarks – a precarious pursuit that has not only earned him a lot of visibility, but also new perspectives on the cities he’s called home.
Switch to calm.
Changing decades brought changing perspectives – and a switch from adrenaline-soaked escapades to quieter, canvas-based excursions. In 2002, he set his sights on creating art that would challenge the international gallery scene. A goal reflected in his exhibition roster, including stints
at the Carhartt Gallery (now Colab), Art Basel, MODART, STROKE or Art Basel Miami Beach. The latter involved a 40-metre facade alongside OBEY Shepard Fairey, WK and Mr. Brainwash, followed by further shows in LA (West Hollywood) and Washington, D. C.
Driven by a sense of space and freedom, Marc applies his skills to large expanses, working with mixed techniques and a big variety of materials. From abstract to collage-like, from wood to paper, from acrylics to spray paint and charcoal – whatever helps manifest his vision. Yet while his works exude control, the actual creative process behind it all remains largely intuitive, lending the overall oeuvre a surprising heterogeneity. To find out more and see the artist in action, we paid Marc C. Woehr a visit in his Stuttgart studio.
Tell us about yourself: where are you from and where did you grow up?
I was born in the German town of Heilbronn, grew up in Neckarsulm and then – after stints in Mainz and Mannheim a.o. – landed in Stuttgart in 2001 where I still live and work to this day. Incidentally, this year also marks my 25th anniversary as an artist.
What does painting mean to you?
Our lives are marked by challenges we cannot necessarily influence or control, and circumstances determine the outcome a lot of the time. Painting can serve as an escape and pressure valve. It was something I could do and pursue exactly the way I wanted.
Your works are inspired by cities and their architecture – so, what makes Stuttgart so special to you?
Stuttgart is the perfect size – not too big and not too small. It’s easy to get from A to B, there’s lot of culture on offer and plenty of greenery and beautiful lookouts. I love to explore the city at night, that’s when you can really feel its groove – its breath and energy.
In March, you and your partner opened the Urban Art Gallery in Stuttgart and created an outsize mural for the occasion. What draws you to such large-scale projects?
These works are truly “free” works of art. Unlike shows in galleries, they’re not on display at specific times or locked away behind closed doors.
Anyone can access and enjoy them, so they help you reach more people. Most of all, however, it allows you to gift some of your momentary emotions and creations to the city – a creative heritage of sorts.
I’m really into advertising columns.
Beyond such outdoor projects, you also do “interior works”, usually characterised by a collagist and multi-layered approach.Do you remember what started you on this particular artistic path?
I’m really into advertising columns: their many layers of posters and elements tell such intricate stories. So, this is something I consciously try to incorporate into my own works. I only work on a single layer per day, which allows me to experience the unfolding of the work a lot better and more intensely. Then I work across the layer, tear it up and start from scratch until I arrive at something that feels just right and finished.
Hip Hop, Funk, classical music, art.
Does music play an important part in your creative process?
Definitely! It usually takes me a while to get into new sounds, but once I get into the groove I’m hooked and totally in the flow. The moment the music stops, I switch back to reality. In other words: without music and the associated emotions I would not get very far with my paintings.
What’s currently on your playlist?
Depending on the kind of mood I’m in, anything from hip-hop and funk to classical sounds. And the odd Mercedes-Benz Mixed Tape!
What went through your mind when it came to creating the Mixed Tape #56 cover?
Finally, it’s my turn (laughs)! I knew straight away that it had to be an urban scene that clearly thrives on the vibes of the music. Every city conjures up associations and emotions, even latent memories. And music is the perfect vehicle to access these associations.
And what’s next on your artistic agenda?
Right now, I’m working on a few new pieces to exhibit later this year. And then there’s obviously our new gallery – something we want to push and expand as a platform for other artists and a new point of call for urban art in Stuttgart.
Thanks so much for chatting with us, Marc!