A Thousand Windows
"I don't take anything when I'm painting. When I take psychedelics I get very horny, and I start going out to nightclubs and cruising."
with Mati Klarwein
Andy Warhol said that Mati Klarwein was his "favorite painter," and some of Mati's admirers have included Jimi Hendrix, Salvador Dali, Jackie Kennedy, Brigitte Bardot, and Miles Davis. Yet he told me that he was "the most famous unknown painter in the world." This is because almost everyone has seen the widely reproduced, visionary piece that he painted in 1962 and was used in 1970 for the cover of Santana's album Abraxas, or his painting "A Grain of Sand" that the Chambers Brothers used for an album cover, yet few people know who painted them. Using a technique he learned from his mentor Ernst Fuchs, Mati's work is brightly colored, often full of dense intricate imagery, shamanically juxtaposed together. There is a rapturous blissful quality to his paintings.
Even his "ordinary" landscapes look psychedelic in a way that I couldn't quite put my finger on-- until a friend pointed out to me that the hallucinogenic quality was created by the dazzling amount of detail in the painting that normally wouldn't be visible from the distance depicted. Timothy Leary told Mati that he didn't need psychedelics."I painted psychedelically before I took psychedelics," Mati told me, "It's like what Dali said-- I don't take drugs, I am drugs." His latest book A Thousand Windows was recently released by Max Publishing. Mati lives in Palma de Mallorca, Spain. This interview took place on March 11, 1992 while he was visiting Santa Monica, California. Present at the interview was acclaimed computer graphic wizard Brummbaer. Mati and Brummbaer are old friends, and there was a festive spirit in the air.
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