Alex Stenzel

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Alex Stenzel
Alex Stenzel, 2006.jpg
Alex Stenzel, 2006
Born (1965-01-26) 26 January 1965 (age 54)

Alex Stenzel (born 1965) is a German-American artist and former fashion designer who is known for a new style of abstract overpainted photographs and innovative designs in architecture, fashion and product design.[1][2][3]

Stenzel was born in Recklinghausen, Westphalia and grew up in Oer-Erkenschwick, a small coal-mining town on the northern fringe of the Ruhr district, one of the largest industrial areas in Europe.[4][5] Stenzel was also a world class athlete: tennis(1983 ITF Junior World Ranking No.33), mountain-bike(1987 Grundig Challenge Mountain Bike World Cup, Kaprun No.30), triathlon(1986 Ironman World Championship, Kona, Hawaii) .[6][4]

Stenzel has produced many of his works in his studio in the Pacific Palisades in Los Angeles.[5][3] In 2006 as an artist of extraordinary ability Stenzel was granted permanent resident status by the United States Immigration and now lives and works in the Eastern Sierras in Bishop, California.[4]


Fashion design[edit]

In 1984 Stenzel age 19 started a business importing Californian surf t-shirts and in 1986 Stenzel had his own fashion line, running a company with 15 employees, designing a collection inspired by surfing and skateboarding and trademarked it Broken Glasses.[1] As Stenzel's baggy pants and shirts established themselves in trendy boutiques in Germany, Switzerland and Austria he made his first million.[1] In 1987 Stenzel, with his label Broken Glasses Sportswear was considered by German Vogue Magazine amongst Europe's prominent fashion designers.[7][4][8][1][3] Stenzel appeared on posters and ads modeling for his clothing line Broken Glasses.[9][4]

Product design[edit]

Stenzel owns patents trademarks, and copyrights in fields as widely ranging as fashion, general gift items, computer accessories, food products, architectural designs, screenplays, workout programs, and computer games.[4][2] Stenzel has designed CD holders, piggy banks, doors and food products which have been sold at Whole Food and Walmart.[4][6][10] In 2004, Stenzel designed and patented a bread less cucumber sandwich trademarked Gorilla Sandwich, a hollowed-out cucumber filled with such ingredients as walnuts, avocado, olives, seaweed and flax seed oil.[3][6][11]


In 1999, Stenzel conceived an interactive sculpture for Berlin, "B1-Be Tower 1". It was one of the earliest designs for a modern 'twisted' tower structure. Stenzel described it as a multi-story structure built of glass, steel, and video monitors, all arranged in the shape of a large crystal. On the inside, the sculpture is designed to function as a platform to connect to the Internet....Hundreds of images are beamed from behind the glass...photographs sent by e-mail...from all over the world...all serve as a reminder of the world's unity. After 9/11, a year before the memorial competition, on 9 April 2002 Stenzel wrote a letter to Mr. Whitehead at the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, proposing to use the idea for a memorial. Stenzels' design was exhibited at the Don O'Melveny Gallery in 2002.[2][12][4] In 2003 Stenzel entered a variation of his original design into the World Trade Center Site Memorial Competition.[13]

Visual arts[edit]


Stenzel has produced oil paintings, collages, sculptures, photographs and overpainted photographs.[5][3][14] In 2001 Stenzels' exhibition at the Absolute L.A. Biennial Art Invitational was exhibited at the Coleman Gallery and sponsored by the German Consulate.[15] Stenzels' work 10 Tons was on the cover of the L.A Biennial Catalog.[16]"It is the remarkable combination and juxtaposition of nature, art history references, and man made elements, with a manipulation of space and weight, that make this new series a breakthrough–a pioneering foot pushing apart a theatrical curtain that has been opened for the first time," writes art critique, Bruce Helander of the Huffington Post.[17] In 2002 the overpainted photograph, Shipwreck 6.0 tons was auctioned at Angel Art, Christie's Auction, hosted by Creative Artists Agency in Los Angeles.[18][4] Stenzel 2002 exhibition at the Don O'Melveny gallery was reviewed by Peter Frank as LA Weekly "Art Picks of the Week".[12] In 2014 Stenzel traded artwork with German entertainer Michael Wigge and appeared in his movie Barter for Paradise.[19]

Overpainted photographs[edit]

For Stenzel the process of making an overpainted photograph begins by photographing the surfaces and textures of artifacts marked by time and weather. Stenzel believes that weathered artifacts exhibit distinct marks in different location in the world and has traveled extensively to hunt down unseen structures and patterns. Stenzel has been written about in the German media and books and featured in documentaries as an art nomad.[20][21][1][22][23] On walls or rusty steel doors Stenzel finds "fractal images": colors and forms that look like an abstract painting. "A truthful moment can only be depicted with a complex fractal image as a starting point," Die Zeit. Later, in a studio, he paints over the enlarged photographs with oil.[21][1][5][3] There is a perceptual shifting going in Stenzel's work without much optrickery, LA Weekly.[12] He separates a photographic printed surface with well-balanced painted lines, and an occasional geometric shape. In 15 Tons, a painting that was exhibited at the Coleman Gallery in Los Angeles Stenzel communicated a new visual language by combining a photographic image with acrylic paint, capturing the chance visual poetry found on a common, wire-wrapped fence post out on the range. These recognizable and literal visual twists are delicately painted over to form a mysterious theatrical scrim-like curtain. Some of Stenzels paintings seem to be bundles wrapped together like a Christo knapsack with strong tight lines. There is a slight resemblance to Franz Kline's scratchy, narrow black gestures. Stenzel exhibit named 105.000 Tons at the Coleman gallery is "measured in weight" relating to his perception of space as gravitational forces.[17] In his work Stenzel draws from a spiritual understanding learned in the Aboriginal Australian Outback. "I spent years traveling through Australia, I walked the song lines of the Aboriginal, meditated at their sacred sites and studied their rituals," said Stenzel.[5] Stenzels' work is lively and unpredictable and he achieves this through planar abstraction that involve many modernist factors: Gesture, composition, form and color contrast, and collage.[12] "I work in different mediums and see myself as an abstract romantic painter. When I make my overpainted photographs I start abstracting the image or object while I photograph it. I move my camera like a sculpture moves his chisel around a block of marble, I abstract it until I loose the object and just have relations of time and space. I put a layer of pigment over the photograph, I dust it basically on it. This creates a beautiful contrast between the glossy surface of the photograph and the layer of paint. This continues the process of abstraction which started already when taking the photograph. You don't know what the object is but you have a great dimensionality, it's space behind a veil,"said Stenzel.[5][21][20]

Solo exhibits[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Magerl, Sabine (2 December 1999). "Die Fantastischen Vier" [The fantastic four]. Die Zeit (in German). Die Zeit. Er designte und vermarktete eine Kollektion, die vom Surfen und Skaten inspiriert war und Broken Glasses hieß. Schnell etablierten sich seine weiten Hosen und Shirts in den schicksten Boutiquen. Damit machte er seine erste Million. Modemagazine wie die Vogue schrieben über den jungen Designer, inzwischen leitete er eine 15-köpfige hatte eine Laufbahn als Profitennisspierler...Stenzel macht Fraktalbilder...
  2. ^ a b c Levine, Lester J. (17 August 2016). 9/11 Memorial Visions. Jefferson, North Carolina: Mc Farland. pp. 194–197. ISBN 978-1476665085. In 1999, Stenzel conceived an interactive sculpture for Berlin, "B1-Be Tower 1". " It was one of the earliest designs for a modern 'twisted' tower structure...Stenzel owns more than two dozen patents trademarks, and copyrights in fields as widely ranging as fashion, general gift items, computer accessories, food products, architectural designs, screenplays, workout programs, and computer games
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Aushenker, Michael, Michael Aushenker (23 July 2009). "Artist Stenzel Brings "June Gloom" in July". Palisadian Post. Pacific Palisades Association.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Alex Stenzel Biography". Retrieved 13 November 2016.
  5. ^ a b c d e f Morgan, Jared (13 February 2011). "Interview with West L.A. Patch TV". West L.A. Patch TV. Stenzel interviewed in his Pacific Palisades studio about his work.
  6. ^ a b c PAIZ, KATELIN (13 April 2010). "KFC releases Double Down breadless sandwich nationwide". Daily Titan. ...inventor, artist and philosopher, Alex Stenzel, 44, of Pacific Palisades, Calif., has developed a new kind of breadless sandwich that has taken the raw food community by storm. Stenzel also has had a world ranking for three different sports: tennis, mountain biking and the Iron Man World Championships in Hawaii in 1986.
  7. ^ "Internationale Mode Prominez in Köln" [International Fashion prominence in Cologne]. Männer Vogue (in German). Conde Naste Verlag. 1 September 1987. Alex fashion prominence
  8. ^ "Ein Mann will nach oben". Stimberg Zeitung. 1986. Stenzel with his company Broken Glasses Sportswear joins the ranks of the international fashion elite at the Männer Vogue Dinner at Hotel Excelsior in Cologne.
  9. ^ "Germany's most wanted Bachelors" [Germany's most wanted Bachelors]. Miss Vogue (in German). Conde Naste Verlag. 1 August 1988. Alex Stenzel...Germany's most wanted Bachelors, image of Stenzel modeling Broken Glasses pants.
  10. ^ "Editors Pick GM". Drug Store News. 25 June 2006. Larry Schimpf of Clemens Market and Alex Stenzel of B1-BE with the Penny Pillar
  11. ^ Wright, Daniel (29 August 2006). "Cucumber Sandwich". Patent Silly. Patent Silly. Archived from the original on 15 January 2007. Retrieved 14 November 2016. I salute Alexander and his unprecented use of a cucumber: It's simple, it's elegant, and it's fashion model-friendly.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  12. ^ a b c d e Frank, Peter (29 November 2002). "Art Picks of the Week". Peter Frank (art critic). LA Weekly. p. 150. There's perceptual shifting going on, too, in Alex Stenzel's paintings and photographs and painting -photographs...his complex and ambitious proposal for a 9/11 Ground Zero memorial demonstrates, he is sensitive to the political moment…
  13. ^ "World Trade Center Site Memorial Competition". Lower Manhattan Developing Corporation. 1 April 2003.
  14. ^ Jesumann (1 March 2012). "Lister Bojen Werden Zu Skulpturen" [Lister Buoys Become Sculptures]. Sylter Rundschau (in German). Sylter Nachrichten. Gequetscht heißt dieses Sylter Werk Des Künstlers
  15. ^ a b "Stenzel represents the German Consulate". 2001 Absolute L.A. International Biennial Catalog. 2001.
  16. ^ a b "Stenzel's work 10 tons featured on the cover of the L.A. Biennial Catalog". Absolute L.A. International Biennial. 2001.
  17. ^ a b c Helander, Bruce (1 October 2001). "Worth The Weight". Palm Beach and The Naples Times. Palm Beach and The Naples Times. "A pioneering foot pushing apart a theatrical curtain that has been opened for the first time", writes Huffington Post art critic Bruce Helander.
  18. ^ "2002, Angel Art, Christie's Auction, hosted by Creative Artist Agency". Angel Art hosted by Christie's. 1 November 2002. Shipwreck 6.0 tons, 2002 C-Print, 30 x 32 inches, Edition 1/10, Value $3000, sells at Christie's Auction
  19. ^ Wigge, Michael (2 January 2014). How to Barter for Paradise. Skyhorse Publishing. ISBN 978-1626364172. Retrieved 22 November 2016. Alex Stenzel barters a piece of original artwork with Michael Wigge.
  20. ^ a b "Ein Moderner Nomade, Künstler Alex Stenzel" [Artist Alex Stenzel a Modern Nomad]. German TV RTL. 5 August 2000. Missing or empty |url= (help)
  21. ^ a b c "Ein Moderner Nomade, Künstler Alex Stenzel" [Artist Alex Stenzel a Modern Nomad]. German TVWDR (in German). 22 December 1999. Missing or empty |url= (help)
  22. ^ "Jobnomaden bevölkern die Arbeitswelt". Computerwoche (in German). 8 February 2002. Der Künstler Alexander Stenzel, den ich in meinem Buch vorstelle, ist sicher ein Exot, denn er besitzt nur seine Digitalkamera, einen Laptop und einen Koffer mit Kleidung. Es gibt nicht viele Menschen, die so leben möchten.
  23. ^ Englisch, Gundula (20 August 2001). Jobnomaden. Campus. ISBN 978-3593367668.

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