Warren Fleischmann

Photographer Warren Fleischmann may be based in Cape Town, South Africa, but his vision is global. A long-time traveller, Fleischmann has been searching for flashes of inspiration since he first picked up a camera in high school.

“I always pay attention to what I see around me for inspiration.”

What began as just a means of recording things that enlivened his work as a footwear designer became a personal quest for creative freedom. By focusing on the world through a lens, Fleischmann explains that he “learnt to recognise elements around me that influence the design and development of my craft,” whether found in Japan, the USA or elsewhere. Fleischmann’s photography now acts as an investigation into innovative thinking itself, as well as the connections between art, architecture, patterns and style around the world. His street scenes capture and enhance the layers of ingenuity surrounding us.

“These all ultimately influence trends, colour, subjects for photography or any form of creative process.”

His background as a passionate designer gives Fleischmann a deep appreciation and understanding of true craftsmanship, and how this can augment creative thought and methods. Likewise, his fresh perspective on the interplay between product development, branding, streetwear and trends (something he offers clients in his consulting business) is also found in the subject-matter of his detailed photography, which shows a highly-attuned awareness of design incorporated into each frame.

“When I’m away I see things differently.”

From a street corner or billboard to a piece of Lego or music – everything offers a chance to think creatively, especially in a new place away from the humdrum of everyday routine. Distinctly appealing, Fleischmann’s touches of altered colour deviate from the expected – a purple palm tree in LA, a monochromatic crowd in Shibuya – emphasising the effect that shifts in perspective can have on our views of the ordinary.

Through his unique interpretations of the places he encounters, Fleischmann motivates us to take the time to look around, to see things with fresh eyes, and ultimately find our own sources of inspiration.

 

Warren Fleischmann grew up in Cape Town South Africa where he continues to live with his wife and children.

‘Debate Colour’ is a series of laboriously created spray-paint and reverse glass paintings which give the impression that their precise geometry was machine made, or digitally produced. Rather than achieving perfection, though, or tricking the viewer, Kirshenbaum aims to engage us in an open-ended conversation around language, beauty and community.

Fine art is a relatively new mode of working for the founder of Side Street Studios (among a range of other projects). With a background in architecture, the focus on geometric abstraction is apt. The history of the movement is tied closely to architecture, with its defined forms drawing on and referencing spatial encounters – grids, intersections, angles. De Stijl, Bauhaus, Constructivism and Art Deco all functioned as collectives of artists, architects, designers and thinkers. Architecture and urban philosophy is still at the core of what Kirshenbaum does.

His passionate philosophy of urbanism was developed via immersion in the creative life of the city. Cape Town’s “unofficial heart of art and design”, Side Street offers working spaces to artists in Woodstock, and it is through connecting deeply with these creatives that Kirshenbaum discovered his own desire to make art. “Nothing happens in a vacuum,” he explains.

As an artist, Kirshenbaum interrogates the establishment of principles, and how such definitions function in actuality. He also investigates how we are both affected by and influence the spaces we live in. Each painting in the series comprises a range of building blocks. The simple forms of Os and Xs are made up of a complex arrangement of smaller shapes, like chevrons, triangles and semi-circles. The Xs serve as both starting and end points of a journey. The Os, divided, are disrupted cycles, multifaceted entities, where a whole only exists because of its components, like the apartments in a building, the blocks of a city, or the cells in a body.

The result of much time spent experimenting with media (from bubble-wrap to neon light) and refining application processes, the works in ‘Debate Colour’ do just that. Primarily floating on glossy black, each section within the larger form is made up of two hues – yellow and duck egg, perhaps, or violet and soft pink, leaf green and olive green, with the same shade sometimes appearing in more than one combination in a single artwork. From these pairs, a third colour is almost created. Kirshenbaum explores how colours mutually modify one another; the very same green next to pale blue appears different when juxtaposed with bright red. Our attention is drawn to just how much the colours interact with each other, and how we respond to them. We are encouraged to question our subjective perception of colour and, further, our understanding of how the languages of description and classification function. This introspection is intentionally enhanced by the reflective surface of the glass; we can’t help but notice ourselves appearing within the work.

Through these playfully dynamic pieces, we see that meaning is created via engagement and interaction – between artist and viewer, and between ourselves and our communities. While the history of geometric abstraction was often about stripping away the non-essential in search of a universal truth, or unequivocal constant, Kirshenbaum asks us instead to reflect on and share our understanding with others, while being open to theirs. A city, after all, is a place of change and possibility, of different people coming together, compromising, and building a home.

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