The New Vanguard – Artist Profile: WINSTON CHMIELINSKI

Interview JUSTIN ROSS

4SEE puts a spotlight on young artists from the international art scene whom we deeply admire for their explosive talent and limitless creativity. We respect them even more for their tenacity in the face of overwhelming odds of fame and success in the hypercompetitive artworld. Their incomparable ability to let us share in feelings, emotions, ideas, issues, and concepts that count make us want to take a second and third look at their work. But it is their genuine passion for their art that comes through when you speak with these heavyweights of the art world in Berlin and New York—two of the cultural capitals of the world.

Name Winston Chmielinski
Age 29
Nationality American
Medium mixed
Based in Berlin
Find more at www.wi-ch.com

American artist Winston Chmielinski in Berlin, wearing COBLENS eyewear, photographed by 4SEE
Winston Chmielinski in Berlin, wearing COBLENS SONNENBLENDE
Photography by CHARLOTTE KRAUSS

Did you always know that you were going to be an artist?

If dying my hair with berries in kindergarten counts, then yes. I failed a lot in social settings and analytical tasks. Stereotypical qualities, but most full-time artists I know had a being-human-is-hard start too.

Do you find the artworld cutthroat and competitive, or is it also supportive and community-minded, or something in between?

I’m curious about the art world, just as I’m curious about any force larger than life that can hold so many conscious minds spellbound. But I do not look to the art world for meaning or value when it comes to art—or people. I’ve been honing my natural instincts instead.

Winston Chmielinski, "Bodies of Water"
Winston Chmielinski, “Bodies of Water”

What would you consider to be your biggest accomplishment so far?

I have become more optimistic with age.

Does art always need to be relevant? Is there a place for aesthetic indulgence, or do politics come into play in your motivation?

Honestly, it’s politics that feels like the biggest indulgence. Art that follows in hot pursuit does little for me, unless it’s made or exhibited within a context that’s truly risky. Then it can inspire movement. And ultimately that’s what makes art relevant, and relevant art so rare. It activates something within us that inspires change and growth. Not to be confused with a dopamine rush.

If not politics, then what are the key sources of inspiration for you?

Those moments that make me realize everything’s still a mystery.

Winston Chmielinski, "Relearning How to Grow"
Winston Chmielinski, “Relearning How to Grow”

What is it like to live/work in Berlin?

Safe to be my strangest, truest self.

What is next for you, an immediately upcoming project or chance to see your work?

It’s been non-stop producing since January 2016, so I’m stoked to have my first break in a year and a half, where I can recollect, reorganize, and research again. That said, there’s a second part to the piece I presented in Venice, sound-based and collaborative. I can’t wait to continue with that!

Where do you see yourself in ten years’ time, where would you like to see your artwork and at what scale?

A better bucket list with a lot of checks. I haven’t been able to cross off anything except for “handstand.”