Through the looking glass

What does art and fitness have in common? Usually relatively little. But if your German artist Case Maclaim, then it is probably more close to home than ever before. Upon creating his recent artwork for the Bushwick Collective in Bushwick New York, Case was presented with some unusual challenges and hurdles that he clarified for us in a breif chat we had with him. Get comfortable and learn more here.

Montana: You didn’t by chance have a step-a-meter to keep track of the walking and climbing you did on this project?
Case: Actually yeah, usually you stand at one point and walk as much as a barber walks. But seeing as there was no mechanical elevation options, this project was all about physical effort. Fun fact, when my phone showed me the range of my daily path, I realized painting on these floors, it’s like the phenomen of a Red Queen’s Hypothesis, in Lewis Carroll’s “Through The Looking Glass”.

In this recent artistic project in New York with the Bushwick Collective in Bushwick- Brooklyn, Case created an artwork behind the glass of a newly constructed building, covering 6 of its 8 levels. No problems you probably think? Normally your right. But when the building is a new apartment building and the lift doesn’t work yet, then the legwork can greatly effect the artwork.

Montana: Did you find yourself changing either what you were painting or how you painted it due to this logistical/ physical element?
Case: Not really. I mean clearly, the construction shapes the body of work. But basically it was clear what to paint. Also the fact that there was going to be long path covering great distance over many days wasn’t the challenge either. It was the size and the rare points of view that cropped the idea, what to paint and where the piece was going to go.

Montana: Seeing as it was Brooklyn New York you were working in, did you see anything interesting or out of the ordinary through that glass box while you were working (or having a break)
Case: Beside the fresh made celery juice from Mr. kiwi around the corner I saw this great silverchrome piece on a metal gate right next to the new building. It had so much authenticity. That led me to think about a conceptual dilemma about saving pieces on the street, or not saving them?? Which pieces are authentic and significant enough and if pieces were to be saved, at what point or when should that happen…? If a neighborhood changes fast, could that be a reason to take specific pieces out of their original environment and preserve them? Or is it more authentic to let the process of transformation run its course and destroy them for ever?

The joint forces project with local and international artist was an opportunity for some cultural exchange and a great chance for Case to combine his love of the Montana ACRYLIC paint refills, with the use of Montana GOLD and Montana BLACK spray cans.

Not really. I mean clearly, the construction shapes the body of work. But basically it was clear what to paint.Case

Montana: Did you have to change the way you work to execute this mural? Would have preferred to use more spray paint or was it better using the Montana ACRYLIC products as a base?
Case: It was the perfect circumstance for working with the ACRYLIC refills. The surfaces were smooth and absorbency low. On top of that the walls where already primed white which gained more brightness and saturation within the colors.
Because it was indoors I minimized the use of spray paint to a point where I just used it for highlights and shadows.

The light colored substrate was ideal for this unique conceptional piece, allowing the artist to give the ACRYLIC range a run for its money in preparation for the aerosol highlighting and added features. The impressive composition of what appears to be a figure holding a document in front of his face is put on repeat as the document being held is the same image of the figure holding the document. As the image subsides and gets smaller, greater detail of the building itself get lost in a maze of color and line work.

Montana: This is an interesting choice of image concept considering you have many exterior influences that affect how the image is scene by the viewer. The glass, the space between it and the artwork, the features on the walls such as doors lights etc, the fact that it is over multiple levels of which you can’t differentiate while your on each particular floor (only possible when viewing from a distance outside). Can you explain how this image came into being? And what were the greatest challenges in creating this mural in regard to its perspective and composition?
Case: We first got pictures of the building before we even saw the wall. Together with my wife, I was able to discuss what to do, knowing it will be impossible to see this piece in one image straight. The restricted view on this wall made it so challenging and directed the subject of paint to a point that the piece has to be simple and comprehensible.

Montana: If you had to do it all again, would you? Or would you insist the lift works first?
Case: Anytime.. Regardless of wether it’s indoors, outdoors, multiple sides that will require my attention, all spaces have possibilities, challenges and sometimes only stairs to climb.

Open your mind and take a closer look at the project here. Bare in mind the challenges overcome to make it happen.

Images by artist Case & Montana Cans / Jordan Katz

Video by Chop Em Down Films