One would assume that Claussen’s protagonist had given up on life altogether, given the nature of some of the artwork. In one painting, Too Prepared, the astronaut floats helplessly on inflatable structures for children. In another, Going Down, they hold a lit rocket above their heads, walking on water, surrounded by darkness. It is as if they had wandered far and wide in search of human life, but slowly realized that they were very much alone. “Flooding represents all the environmental challenges ahead of us,” says Claussen. “At the same time, it symbolizes the fear and uncertainty that floods our minds when we go online and check the news. It’s a humorous and tongue-in-cheek response to a world that often weighs so heavily on our shoulders.”
A particular concern of Claussen is climate change. For half a decade, he painted seascapes and became increasingly aware of the potential risk of rising sea levels. “I was and still am deeply fascinated by the powerful waves crashing against our shores. There is no deeper thrill than hearing the thunder of the crashing waves. Nature is spectacular. I knew the the water level would rise in the future and the waves would flood our But I was wrong The world is already flooded It is flooded with water, trash, fake news, stress, fear, uncertainty and doubt.
It was this realization that changed his focus and led to Flood. “You could say that I try to approach climate change with humor and irony, spreading the feeling that ‘we can do it’ or at least we can survive it,” he adds.
As for his choice of protagonist, a lone astronaut, Claussen wanted to make it immediately clear that something was wrong. “If I had used normal people dressed or naked, it would not have had the same impact. Water is not the expected environment for an astronaut. So this is the first point to ask questions about. questions. I also like the reflection of the visor. allows me to have a picture in the picture and show what is in front of the character. But the most important reason is that it represents a symbol of humanity.
In fact, in most Flood paintings, Claussen dresses his astronaut in an Advanced Evacuation Suit (ACES). “The international orange color allows rescue units to easily spot astronauts in the event of an orbiter bailout over the ocean,” he says. “The suit also includes an inflatable life raft. In my case, the astronaut just found an inflatable flamingo in his backpack. So something unexpected and unwanted happened. The suit helps to be rescued. I think that’s what a lot of people are hoping for. Someone, maybe Elon Musk, will solve this climate change problem, and then we can stop worrying about it.”
Each oil painting exhibits a rich array of marks, including thin washes, thick impastos, broken spots, and scratching. “I like to have fun with the paint, to experiment, to throw the paint on the canvas and to use my fingers. I have the fluidity of the impressionists and I like to paint fast and boldly. Some areas are more carefully rendered, but many are abstract and just indicated, so my style is on the border between realism and abstraction,” he says.
Although the overall theme may make us feel helpless, its underlying feel is one of irony and humor. It also completely changed the artist’s way of thinking. “A year ago I would have called myself a cheerful pessimist, someone who smiles while preparing for disappointments by always expecting the worst,” says Claussen. “With this series, I’m trying to be a full-time optimist. To be honest, I’ll never reach the euphoric optimist, but a down-to-earth optimist who also has the issues in mind is achievable for me.”
He quotes a quote from Andy Weir of The Martian: “At some point it’s all going to go south for you. You’re going to say, ‘This is it. This is how I’m done’. Now you can either accept that, or you can get to work. You solve the problem, then you solve the next problem and the next, and if you solve enough problems, you go home. This is the mindset that Claussen hopes to stream with Flood.