Joel Rollinger (ROJO): art beyond the walls
Between graffiti and paintings, Luxembourg artist Joel Rollinger juggles with a wide variety of materials. After studying architecture, he embraced urban art with a very personal style. Portrait of a creator.
Can you present your career in a few words?
I’ve been painting graffiti for 20 years, because I was impressed by the graffiti near the railway lines around Luxembourg, but my professional career started in 2016 after studying art and architecture. Gradually, my field of expression widened to murals and canvas. It took me several years to find an artistic direction that included both works produced in the studio and murals or graffiti produced outdoors. I studied architecture and art to keep the possibility, when I can't live as a full time artist, to work part time in an architecture studio and part time as an artist.
"As a figurative artist, I find inspiration in my environment and my emotions."
Which artists and works inspire you?
The windows of Louis Comfort Tiffany have always fascinated me. Is this a coincidence? Not really, because my mother used to create windows and lamps with Tiffany stained glass. In my paintings, one often finds the same structures as in Louis Comfort Tiffany windows: playful proportions, large coloured surfaces and accentuated contours. Hundreds of artists and works inspire me, such as Max Beckman, Caspar David Friedrich and Jules Bastien-Lepage, but I don’t really have a preference. As a figurative artist, I find inspiration in my environment and my emotions. You can find inspiration anywhere and through anything. Going for walks and travelling stimulates me, as does the internet, television and everyday life. A notepad almost always comes with me, to write down every new idea.
What effect do you want to achieve with your work?
I play with proportions, with accentuated contours and large coloured surfaces. I use a wide variety of materials to paint on, such as canvas, facades, metal and wood. I even use what I find in abandoned buildings. It can be all kinds of materials. I like to create with inexpensive materials. As for the motifs in my paintings, I often paint nature, people and everyday objects. I like to work with spray cans because of their quick drying time. I don't necessarily try to convey a message through my work. I just want to show the beauty that surrounds us, except for subjects that concern me such as environmental protection.