Schneider: I like strange art, and I like people who have incredible technique.Christian Rex van Minnen (Instagram: @van_minnen) has both of those bases covered in spades. His work is at once scary, and beautiful, and laugh-out-loud funny—one of my favorite combos. I recently asked him a few questions about his work and his life.
You have a classical approach to your painting style. Did you study with a classically trained painter or go to a special school to learn this technique?
Christian Rex van Minnen: I learned the techniques of the old master’s, specifically, the Venetian Method, from books and a lot of trial and error.
How often do you paint? Do you have a daily routine?
I paint nine to five, Monday through Friday. I strive for balance in my life nowadays. It hasn’t always been that way. For many years, I worked a job, so my painting schedule was mostly evenings, late nights and weekends. It’s nice to have a normal schedule now, I get a lot more done.
I have a kid myself and often have parents and kids at my house. I always forget how strange and bizarre the art I have hanging is. Do you ever have get-togethers with other parents and wonder if they think you’re a weirdo because of your subject matter?
I have a lot of other artist’s work up, and a lot of it strange. Being that it’s Brooklyn, I think people are more acceptable of eccentric visions. I’m also so used to that “WTF is that?” reaction that it just doesn’t register anymore. I am curious how my son, who is 18 months old now, will react to my work once he gets older. One of his first words was “paintings,” which is awesome.
I know most artists listen to music when they work. Is that the case with you? Who are you listening to now when you paint?
I love music, maybe even more so than visual arts. I go through a lot of phases. The past couple of weeks, my favorite artists have been Shabazz Palaces, Chassol, Slayer, Antwon, Bruce Springsteen, James Blake, Arthur Russell’s World Of Echo. I also listen to a lot of podcasts and audio books. It all depends on the mood I’m trying to cultivate.
When did you decide that you wanted to be an artist? If you could be something else, what would you do?
I always was an artist. I chose it as a profession in about 2005-2006. I think that in my wildest dreams I would have loved to be a musician or singer or something like that. It’d be wonderful just to get it all out there all at once, all immediate.
Do you have any New Years resolutions?
Striving for balance and perspective. To be less of an asshole.
Did you get anything good for Christmas?
Warm wool socks, always a pure joy.