"ART IS SELF-THERAPY, IT HELPS ME TO PROCESS MY FEELINGS AND MOODS."
Mario Schleinzer is an Art teacher and a Painter who was born on March 31, 1961 in Vienna. He grew up in Himberg, a municipality in Lower Austria, a few kilometers south of Vienna. The commuting between the big city and tranquil village life accompanied the artist from childhood until Schleinzer found his home in Vienna in the early 1990s. Growing up in the countryside, in a good middle-class environment, but with no keen interest in the fine arts, Mario Schleinzer decided on a different world and in 1985 he went to the Vienna Art School, where he studied four semesters of painting with Peter Carer. At the art school, Schleinzer finally found like-minded people, for life in the country was entirely devoted to other interests. His enthusiasm and talent for painting led to Carer recommending an application to the College of Applied Arts. In the class of Wolfgang Hutter, Mario Schleinzer found his artistic home with his surreal, fantastic pictures. With the entry in the encyclopedia of fantastic artists in 2012, Schleinzer also joins in the literature in the list of his famous predecessors and teachers.
Already during his studies at the university, Schleinzer began teaching at the Vienna Art School as well as at various locations of the Vienna Adult Education Centers. The contact with his students, the teaching and sharing of experience and knowledge to finally see how students develop over the years has remained a joy to him to this day.
For Mario Schleinzer, painting means looking within. He does not need long journeys to distant, foreign lands when the vastness and strangeness of his own, so short existence in this world can hardly be deciphered. For him, exploring the world means finding the true existence of man within. Painting not only enables the artist to communicate with himself, but it is also the only way for him to express the complexity of perception. It is a visualization of feelings and thoughts and it is a show on reflections of the impressions of the outside world. Through the images, a display of innermost sensations happens, the disclosure of which is at the same time protected by the symbolic value of the represented objects, forms, and colors.
Mario Schleinzer's works of art provides us with separate components that have been built upon one truth. Life told through visionary moments that welcome you to a world that lies underneath each one of us, but we are too uncertain to realize it. Mario simply gives us a utopian softness where your world is his, as much as his is yours. His works of art depict a truth that at some point or another we are all bound to face...and it's that realization that's so subtly transmitted through his paintings.
Q. Tell us a little about how your childhood was like?
A. I spent my childhood in a small village in Lower Austria. My sister, my friends and I loved to play on the streets. There were only few cars, and everybody knew everybody in the village, so we had a good time feeling free, and we were always safe. But even as a young boy I enjoyed spending time alone with my little creative projects. My real great interest in Art was obvious when I became a teenager. I took some art courses and practiced a lot. Then I decided to study painting and graphics at the Academy of applied arts in Vienna, in the Masterclass of Professor Wolfgang Hutter. And so I was very happy that I had been admitted there.
Q. Do you remember the first piece of art you made? What was it and how old were you? What's shaped your artistic journey since then?
A. I can’t name the exact moment when my works of practicing turned into real art. That was an evolution over a longer period. Besides that fact, it’s a case of the definition of what art is. The more I learned, the higher were the demand for my personal technical skills. So I think working as an artist is a lifetime job. That is what makes art so interesting to me. There is always a new aim to reach.
Q. Tell us about some of the highlights of your artistic career?
A. I've had several exhibitions together with other great artists, like at the “Künstlerhaus, in Vienna!" That feeling of presenting my work together with other painters is always an inspiration. Being published in the “Lexicon of Fantastic Artists” is also a great honor and so forth. But my absolute highlight is always the creative work of producing artwork. It is still exciting to run through the process from the first idea for a new painting until the finished work is framed. This is the real sense of life for a painter. Shows and publication are wonderful and an honor, but the main interest is always the artistic work.
Q. Why did you decide to become an artist?
A. Because art is my life. It is an urgent necessity to paint for me. With art, I show my feelings and reflection about my subconscious personality. Also, an expression of my view of life and my interpretation of it!
Q. Who are your biggest influences? Are you inspired by the work of your peers or anyone else in particular?
A. As a “Magical realism” learning the traditional techniques of the old masters like Raphael was crucial for my intentions. As a young boy about 14 years old, I saw an art documentary on TV, all about Maitre Leherb. This was my first contact with surreal art. Deeply impressed, looking for more artists like him. So I learned about the old Surrealists like Salvador Dali, who was my favorite of this art period. Later, I also saw the works of the younger “School of Fantastic Realism," made by Arik Brauer, Ernst Fuchs, Wolfgang Hutter, and many others. This was exactly my kind of picture vocabulary. So I worked hard to find my personal style and my individual place in the realm of Surrealism. Then I applied at the Masterclass of Professor Wolfgang Hutter, one of these great first “Magical realism," was accepted and graduated with a Diploma.
Q. What does 'success' mean to you?
A. Success means to me when I’m able to bring my inner Vision to life on hardboard with my colors. That makes me feel happy and satisfied!
Q. Is the artistic life lonely? What do you do to counteract it?
A. The life of a painter naturally includes many hours of being alone with their work, but that is never a poor feeling of loneliness, it is a rich and wonderful time of creating art. As an artist, you need time for your self. Naturally, on the other hand, I also want my dear ones around me. I’m really a lucky guy, that they also understand there's a phasis were I withdraw into my self and work alone in my atelier! Also, the contact with my students as an art teacher is a good compensation for the times of painting.
Q. What does your work aim to say?
A. First and foremost, my ideas for a new painting come up from the deepest subconscious of my mind. Then the process of a conscious analysis of my feelings and impressions starts. When I know concrete what the meanings are, of all the elements I translate it into my personal pictorial vocabulary. That’s the time when I design the expression of my painting. The symbolism of my works become the basis of the discussion with the beholder.
Q. What is your philosophy in matters of art?
A. Stick to your honest art expression. Never try to imitate a style because somebody asks for it, your work will lose its soul and so it’s authenticity.
Q. Apart from making art, what do you love doing?
A. I love to hear Jazz and I collect old Vinyls. Also, good literature as from Kafka, Sartre and many others are a welcome chance for me to drown into the fantastic world of another artist!
Q. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
A. My first art teacher told me, I should always follow my own artistic mind and never care about what other people think my art should look like. I should also not listen to him when I have the feeling that my painting wouldn’t be automatic anymore by taking that advice.
Q. What advice would you give to the next art-generation?
A. Practice as much as you can and find your own way in the wonderful World of art!