PL: Please start by telling us a little about yourself and how you began as an artist.
TH: I started young. I was highly prodigious at drawing, and I did nothing else back then (also at school, where at the end I was allowed to do it in class because the teachers loved my drawings). (I competed in dozens of drawing contests from a very young age, very often contests for older children, and won them.) So it started there. I had to draw, all the time.
PL: What does the art express or mean to you personally? At the same time, what kind of thought or feeling are you trying to evoke from your audience?
TH: I often wandered through the underbelly of society to seek the darker side of sex, and that is what at least a part of my photographical work has to show. As for my other artwork (which is more central for me), I am not concerned with how people react or feel after seeing my paintings, or reading my texts (although it is flattering if they like my work, I must say). I have a need to produce these things, and hope that the spectator will taste this part of me which is projected onto the artwork.
PL: Please describe your creative process (i.e. how do you work, stay up for days at a time or do a little here and there?)
TH: Often, I just have to draw, paint, write. Physically, I mean. But then weeks or months can pass by without touching canvas or paper, although usually I keep having ideas, almost day and night, about drawings or poems. (Often I write poems or other writings “in my head”, while putting them on paper only much later). I am the stay-up-for-days/nights-type. If something has to happen, it has to happen, and it disturbs me if I cannot find the time to attack the paper. Luckily, I am rather fast, so the windows I seek are allowed to be small. I almost never make studies or sketches prior to the eventual work, and I really do not like “tricks” such as using ratios, using “helping lines”, etc. (Some time ago, when looking for a website to order chalk, I noticed a site where an apparently famous pastel drawer explained his way of preparing drawings. The huge number of steps he used, almost mathematically, was rather appalling to me. I wondered if the man could really draw at all – from the gut I mean. It made his art look artificial.) I want the drawing to appear at once, and naturally (paintings are slightly different, of course). My photography is also different – I like to make drawings or paintings in advance, and mimic them with the model(s). These poses inspire other poses, and then I get inspired for new paintings, etc. This is part of The (artistic) Path.
PL: Please talk about the medium and use of color. I’m fascinated by the mixtures of tones that really make the image stand out, in a forceful, macabre almost fun-house kind of way.
TH: This is heavily dependent on time, relationships, etc. About ten-twelve years ago, I wanted to do charcoal paintings deep in the night, usually finishing the portrait or whatever it was in one session (and often under the influence of alcohol, a woman, or women, or …), while the next nights I did pastel colorful nudes.
The charcoal stuff was often rather rough, while the pastels were more realistic, although some colors played a special role (especially “Absynthe green” at that time). The macabre is indeed often present in one way or the other.
PL: Who are some of your main influences?
TH: I am not sure who my main influences are, but I have the most respect for some of the old Masters (especially Michelangelo Buonarroti). I do not study other artists — in fact, I am more of a secluded artist, and
I seldom discuss art with other people. Art, in my case, comes from within, and I generally do not need to talk about it.
PL: What is it you are trying to accomplish in your painting, drawing and photography? Is it purely an expression of desire or more premeditated?
TH: My photographical work is (very) explicit, and represents, perhaps, a part of sex (as I see it) that I do not experience enough in (especially American) art. Explicit erotic art is almost banned from the big press journals, which is strange to say the least. Many of the great works of art were inspired by the erotic — think of the beautiful sketches by Klimt, or the great work L’Origine du monde by Gustave Courbet. (And yes, Michelangelo’s David has a penis.)
My work certainly expresses desire (or better: experience, or even remembrance). In painting and drawing, my hands also could have a go without really connecting with my mind. Just seeing where they get in the night. But yet again, mostly the works express stuff from the inside. The same for poems and the like: sometimes I let my hands write their way, rather experimentally, through a poem, when at other occasions, I really want to sculpture a feeling or image or pain into a poem or a series of poems, or a novel.
PL: Of the various mediums, which do you most enjoying using?
TH: Hard to say, really. I often used charcoal, chalk pastels or just plain pencils, and I also made plenty of ballpoint drawings in pubs on little beermats (some examples can be found at http://thcayne.com). Earlier I liked to do oil paintings, and I guess this desire will come again when the time is right. At the moment, I am enjoying white/sanguine red pastel night drawings. Here is a recent one:
PL: What inspires you, real life experiences, thought life?
TH: Both. (In some way, thought life is also based, even very implicitly or unconsciously, on real life experiences — or the real life experiences that are lacking).
PL: What do you like about your work? What would you change or do better?
TH: I will let other beings decide on these matters in due course. I just do what I have to do.
PL: Professionally, what’s your goal?
TH: To lead The Path.