JS Marcus interviews Luc Tuymans in the Wall Street Journal about a number of things. Here’s Tuymans on how he works and how his new studio affects his work:
Q: You usually create your paintings in a single day. What does that process entail?
I always build up a painting in the same way the old masters used to do it: I start to paint the lightest color, and paint all over the surface of the canvas. [Though] I don’t paint on a canvas that is on a frame, just a piece of canvas put on a wall with nails. Then I paint the surface I think I’m going to need. And then with a pencil I start to draw. Then I paint the pencil lines away a little bit, and then the painting starts. It’s really a horror for the first three hours. Although I know what I’m doing, I don’t see what I’m doing. Once the painting comes together about halfway through, the real joy kicks in. I paint nearly every painting in a day because I think that’s the only way to keep my attention span going. And I think it’s the only way to keep intensity within the painting itself.
Q: A few years ago, you moved into a new studio here in Antwerp. Has this changed the way you work?
It’s changed the size of my work, definitely, but not the way I work. I was actually very afraid of that. The first studio, in which I worked for over 30 years, looked like Francis Bacon’s. It was a small apartment, with a living room that I worked in. In the beginning, I also lived there, which was horrendous, because of the [paint] smell. I was afraid of moving into this larger space of 460 square meters, with heat, and running water. It went like a jiffy, though. The light is really great. It’s a neutral space, but it still has character.
Luc Tuymans Captures the Moment (Wall Street Joural)