The first time I heard about artmoney, I thought YES, it's a great idea. Then some years past before I finally signed up. But I have always felt that it was a great idea on several levels.
Welcome to Martin Silz. I'll have a chat with Martin about who Martin is. He is first and foremost an artmoney artist, but I do not actually know you. We have just met.
We are situated in Martin's apartment on Dybbelsgade/Copenhagen/Denmark – on the top floor in a room with many things on the walls. A small universe.
How old are you?
I am 51 years old. I was born in 1965
Martin Silz preparing a cup of coffee in his kitchen
Where did you grown up?
I was born and raised in Rødovre/Denmark. In the village, Maglekjær. With a brother who is 16 months older than me and with some creative parents. My father is an old school typesetter but has worked in the advertising industry for many years.
I always liked to draw. Way back when I was drawing on the floor with my father, he took a Filia Crayon and laid it on the flat on the paper and did something that the others did not, where the color blended in new ways. It touched me.
In elementary school, where I sat and drew a little on my draft booklet and on the table, we were told that we had to choose an internship. We had to write three wishes. I wrote underwater welder, some other impossible choice and then drawing. So I ended up at Bent Barfoed Film in Hellerup, which was one of the great cartoonists in Denmark at that time. That was my catalyst to get started with professional drawing. I was there for a year. After that I spend a year at an advertising agency. The agency closed, and then I bought their equipment. Then I rented a studio on Gl. Kongevej/Copenhagen and started my own studio. I was registered for VAT and worked for the advertising industry from then on.
How old were you then?
I was registered for VAT, when I was 19 years old.
That was very young for starting up your own business!
Yes, it was early, but also perfect. I enjoyed it. That is typical me. If you want something, just start it and then find out what is good and bad along the way.
Did you work with advertising for a long time?
I made airbrush illustrations for the advertising industry. They were very popular in the 80s and well into the 90s.
Who did you typically work for?
Typically it was for agencies in the Copenhagen area. I've never really been out of the inner city. It was my way to do something I liked and then make money at the same time. Bur I always felt that when it was commercial then you could not be an artist as well. As if I had sold my soul a little bit when I did something that was commercially inspired. Concurrently, I have always made things for myself. I also made many paintings I have painted over again. I have no space to pile up large works of art, that I do not intend to sell.
Artmoney by Martin Silz, 2016
This artmoney is drawn directly from the tube - not using a brush
Talking about space. It's a very small space here ... a small universe. I would like to turn the camera around so you can see it ... For you sit here and work ... it is a wonderful space. But it's a big apartment, so how come you hide in such a small universe?
For me this room as big as the others, if not bigger. Because the walls do not exist when you are working with imagination. As long as there is room to move your arms, then it should work out all together. The problem is finding what I need, when I am not as orderly, as I should be.
In addition to electronic art, then artmoney also fits well into the small universe. You have not been an artmoney artist for very long, right?
No, I have sold one work.
But you have organized yourself well. You showed me an artmoney-instrument that you have created. How does it work?
I built a little box for it, because it is dangerous. When I had just signed up with artmoney, I thought that it should be so that I can rapidly make an artmoney paper if I found some good, heavy watercolor paper. That one can just place this instrument on top of the paper to cut an artmoney. The instrument measures 12x18 cm. I have fit some blades on the sides. So when I have some paper, then it's just putting it down on the floor and then place this cutter on top and step on it. Then I have the format cut out immediately. I can recommend artmoney artists to get one made for them self.
Why are there instruments hanging on the wall?
Like I've always liked to draw, then I've always liked making music and playing. Sometimes, you need a break, a chance to play a little guitar. I'm mainly to rock music, but I like everything. For me it's about having time to do something where you get some energy back.
Selfportrait by Martin Silz, after purchasing an Artmoney-T-shirt paid with one of his own artmoney, 2016
What has brought you into this project, and what do you see the opportunities?
The first time I heard about artmoney, I thought YES, it's a great idea. Then some years past before I finally signed up. But I have always felt that it was a great idea on several levels. First, it is an alternative payment where you can use it as money. It has not been my primary driver, but the fact that you scale down to a size that is tangible and not disruptive. If you work with larger paintings, then it is standing there waiting for me to get on with it. Do you go down to a small size, then there is no great fear of filling some color onto it and to experiment and crack open some new ideas. If you create something small, that you think is good, then it's just a matter of scaling it up to a format that you think is right for the work. So I like the fact that one produced a lot and test a lot of things and new techniques with artmoney. I have always been like that. Sometimes I seek the complicated solutions. Combining the materials you are told that you must not combine. Then I think "why not?" Is it dangerous or if there is something that is undesirable? And why is it bad? I want to see what happens when you mix some things that do not mix together. Who has decided that they can not mix?
So you use artmoney as an experiment?
Yes. It was my idea.
Martin Silz working on an artmoney