RoboCup Junior at Ideenexpo 2019 in Hanover

I’m on Comedy summer break which means I have time for other tasks – yay!  These past two weeks I worked for one of the world’s biggest youth fairs: Ideenexpo 2019 in Hanover. It’s basically a playground for future professions with a focus on technology, science, crafts and IT. I was moved to see young girls and boys naturally play with the exhibits like car racing, explosive chemical labs, wild robot arms. I wished there would have been an Ideenexpo when I went to school. Maybe I would not have become a comedian but an aerospace engineer.

My job was to host certain programs on stage as a member of the Impulspiloten entertainment team. Amongst others, I interviewed animal ethicist Prof. Hoppe and he explained how to reduce animal testing and the ownership of experimental cells. Masons described to me how they can never walk past a construction sight without looking at what exactly they are building. And a young paramedic told us what’s it like for her to drive an ambulance and rescue people.

I hope to get photos from the fair soon but for now I do have one video. Next to all the experimenting, 500 girls and boys from 21 countries came to the fair to enter the contest RoboCup Junior. Their self-constructed robots competed in disciplines like soccer, rescue and onstage entertainment. It was pure joy! For the opening ceremony I was asked to illustrate and animate a video of all contesting countries. My main focus was to stress every country’s uniqueness without being too on the nose. And I did not double- but centi-checked every flag. Too bad I was not able to see the show myself but I was told later that the teams jumped up and cheered when they saw their country on screen and I might have shed a tear when I heard that. Here’s the full video: 

 

Kunst Cartoons und Interview bei Monopol

Monopol Magazin fĂĽr Kunst und Leben hat meine Cartoons ĂĽber Kunst geteilt und ein Interview mit mir gefĂĽhrt:

Ingrid Wenzel zeichnet, was sie gerne im Museumsshop sehen wĂĽrde: Die Stand-up-Comedian, Illustratorin und Kunsthistorikerin denkt sich Produkte aus, die von Kunstwerken und KĂĽnstlern beeinflusst sind und erdet so deren Aura. Wir haben die 30-jährige Berlinerin gesprochen – und zeigen ihre besten Kunstwelt-Cartoons.

Ingrid Wenzel, in Ihren Cartoons verbinden Sie Kunst und Witz. Warum kann die Kunstwelt ein bisschen mehr Humor ganz gut vertragen?
Ich glaube, dass die Kunstwelt nicht nur viel mehr Humor vertragen kann, sondern auch selbst total viel Humor liefert. DafĂĽr muss man sie nur mit offenen Augen betrachten und fĂĽr komödiantische Assoziationen und Gelegenheiten offen bleiben. Humor ist auch eine Chance, um Kunstverständnis zu fördern und Menschen den Zugang zu Kunst zu erleichtern. Aber manchmal mache ich mich auch einfach gerne lustig ĂĽber Dinge, die im Museum passieren. Ich bin zum Beispiel mal an einem Gerhard-Richter-Gemälde vorbei gelaufen, vor dem eine Frau stand, die laut vorlas, wer es malte: “Ach, eine Gertrude Richter!” Sowas kann ich mir nicht ausdenken, das ist zu schön.

Neben Ihrer Tätigkeit als Illustratorin und Stand-up-Comedian sind Sie auch studierte Kunsthistorikerin. Welche neue Perspektive ermöglicht Ihnen die Auseinandersetzung durch Cartoons auf die Kunst?
Während meines Studiums in Bochum und Stockholm habe ich die Kunstszene immer als etwas spaĂźbefreit empfunden. In meinen Referaten habe ich beispielsweise immer gerne kleine Witze gemacht, ĂĽber die dann jedoch keiner gelacht hat. Humor wird immer verstanden als “sich ĂĽber etwas lustig machen”, dabei ist Lachen ja gerade etwas Verbindendes. FĂĽr mich ist Humor vielmehr die Auseinandersetzung und Wertschätzung der Kunst. Ich möchte die Kunst nicht bloĂźstellen, sondern durch Humor noch mehr auf den Punkt bringen und einen neuen Zugang schaffen. Ich kann mir vorstellen, mal eine Comedyshow in einem Kunstmuseum zu machen, als neue Art der Kunstvermittlung. Genauso, wie man die Ikonografie bei der Betrachtung eines historischen Gemäldes lesen lernen muss, braucht man bei meinen Cartoons Kenntnis und Vorwissen, um den Witz in ihnen zu verstehen. Ich mag also beides, Humor als Zugang zu Kunst und Kunst-Humor.

Können Ihre Cartoons auch als eine Kritik an der Kunstwelt gelesen werden?
Meine Cartoonreihe ist keine direkte Kritik an der Kunstwelt, aber kann durchaus einen Diskurs eröffnen. Als Beispiel, ich fand Banksys Schredderaktion ja schon lustig. Das Motiv gibt es auf Tassen und Kissen. Seine Kritik am Kunstbetrieb und der Kommerzialisierung seiner Kunst überspitze ich noch, indem ich mir ein verkäufliches Produkt seiner Kunst geschreddert vorstelle. Ich übertreibe also etwas, was eh schon existiert. Wenn ich das Fransenkleid wirklich einmal im Museumsladen sehen sollte, weiß ich nicht, ob ich lachen oder schreiend in einen Schredder rennen soll.

Mit einer der letzten “Tatortreiniger“-Folge oder dem neuen Netflix-Film “Velvet Buzzsaw – Die Kunst des toten Mannes” gab es kĂĽrzlich wieder einige Produktionen, die mit den Klischees der Kunstwelt spielen. WĂĽrden Sie sagen, dass Kunst-Cartoons vielleicht auch Gefahr laufen, diese Klischees zu reproduzieren?
Absolut. Klischees sind leider immer der einfachste Weg zu einer Pointe. Dieses “Ist das Kunst oder kann das weg?” kann ich nicht mehr hören. Es ist leider immer einfacher zu sagen: “das kann ich auch”, als sich wirklich mit abstrakter Kunst auseinanderzusetzen. In meinen Zeichnungen reduziere ich ein komplexes Kunstwerk auf ein imaginäres, verkäufliches Produkt. FĂĽr mich ist das mehr Hommage als Klischee. Mal mache ich mich ĂĽber ein markantes Merkmal der Kunst oder die Rezeption und Vermarktung lustig. Als ich beispielsweise vor dem Rothko-Original stand, auf das sich mein Badewannen-Cartoon bezieht, hörte ich eine Besucherin sagen: “Hm, das ist ja nur rot-blau.” Nicht die Kunst selbst, sondern ihre Betrachtung versuche ich mit dem Badewannen-Cartoon zu karikieren. Ich wĂĽrde das Badeöl ĂĽbrigens trotzdem kaufen, eher als eine Postkarte oder einen Seidenschal.

Was unterscheidet die sprachliche und die zeichnerische Auseinandersetzung mit der Kunst?
Bei einem Bild ist immer schön, dass man zeigen kann, worüber man redet. Ich kann schnell verständlich etwas darstellen, was es nicht gibt. Stand-up ist ein wortlastiges Medium, es ist sozusagen das Malen von Bildern in den Köpfen der Zuhörer. Das ist die Verbindung beider Sparten. Ich glaube, wenn ich die Cartoons nur mit Worten beschreiben würde, könnte niemand folgen. Das gesprochene Wort muss immer in der Realität verankert sein und das Publikum sieht nur mich auf der Bühne. Dafür ist man bei Stand-up viel auf Reaktionen angewiesen. Ich kenne mein Publikum im Vorfeld nicht und muss erst herausfinden, wofür es sich interessiert. Es ist ein Gespräch, für das ich die Zügel in der Hand habe und bei dem ich auch auf die Zuhörer eingehen kann. Bei Kunst muss ich ja selber wissen, dass sie gut ist, aber bei Stand-up Comedy weiß ich erst, ob mein Witz gut war, wenn die Leute lachen.

Woran arbeiten Sie aktuell?
Neulich habe ich mich wieder an eine lustige Situation erinnert: Ich war kĂĽrzlich in einer Ausstellung mit lauter Landschaftsmalereien und dachte bis zu dem Zeitpunkt, dass Selfiesticks das Schlimmste seien – doch dann sind Leute mit Nordic-Walking-Sticks an mir vorbeigelaufen! Daraus will ich noch eine Zeichnung oder eine Comedynummer basteln. Ansonsten schreibe und zeichne ich jeden Tag und trete fast jeden Tag auf, das ist eine wunderbare Mischung.

Vielen Dank an Julia Zalewski fĂĽr das tolle Interview. Als ich einer Journalisten-Freundin sagte, dass ich selten so gute Fragen gestellt bekommen habe, sagt sie nur trocken “gewöhn dich bloĂź nicht dran”. Danke!

Die Cartoons habe ich ĂĽbrigens bei meiner letzten Liveshow gezeigt. Es gibt noch irgendwo ein Video davon, mit Lachern I swear, ich suche es heraus..

How to deal with artistic rejection

How to deal with artistic rejection is the topic of my newest comedy bit since my favorite comedy is rooted in truth and sadness. In my bit I exaggerate and make fun of rejection, whereas in real life it is sometimes hard to do just that. As long as you make art, you will be rejected. The only way for no one to hate you is to leave the paper blank. How can you keep on making art with all the scars rejection has given you? I made these guidelines and posted them on my instagram stories some weeks ago. I got lots of feedback for it so I’m posting them on here too. They’re a hybrid of personal insights, all those self-help books I once read and good conversations with artist friends. Thanks for that.

  1. Don’t let it break you. Keep on doing what you love! Remember why you’re creative in the first place. Don’t stop.
  2. Don’t change your art for people that don’t matter. Let’s say a certain institution rejects you. Ask yourself, why do you want them to accept you so badly? Do you really fit in there? Would you have to change the core of your work for them to like you? That’s the artsy equivalent to angsty teenagers doing shit to be friends with shitty people. Don’t do that. Find a way to get appraisal from the right institutions.
  3. Rejection means: people see you and your work. Just keep it up until the right people see it. Seek people that like you and not just tolerate you.
  4. Keep praise from friends and fanmail in a feel good folder. Go through it when you think everyone hates you. Because that is never true!
  5. Not everyone will love your art. And that’s good. If you really want to appeal to everyone, you’ll eventually water down your art and it will be printed on cheap postcards at tourist shops. The more specific your art the more specific is your target audience. Finding that is hard, as I can tell you gladly with my three fans.
  6. Feel the pain somatically. Can you turn it into creative energy? Like make a sculpture with a buzz saw, draw a watercolor with tears and mascara, go on a gun rampage with a paintball gun, write a funny diss track? What do you feel? Anger? Anger can paint great paintings, write deep jokes and beautiful songs. I don’t glorify pain, but often today’s tears become tomorrow’s soil.
  7. Remember your work is not you. This is especially hard to acknowledge as a stand-up comedian. When the audience hates you, they hate your essence. Still, I try to separate Ingrid from stage Ingrid, an even more brazen, ballsy, callous version of me. Keeps me sane.
  8. Many others get rejected, too. You’re not the only one experiencing it. Don’t feel special, ha! Read biographies of famous artists. Which hardship they went through to follow their dreams. (I don’t know if this is just the urban legend of Arles, but apparently, Van Gogh has never sold one paining in his lifetime). By sharing your own story you can connect with others, who feel the same. Just don’t get dragged into an unproductive, downward spiral of lamentation and self-pity. Lament and then get back to work. These jokes don’t write themselves.
  9. Spoil you inner child. Remember what makes you happy. Now do that! That chocolate cake, a warm bath, a visit to the circus? Do it!
  10. Can you learn anything from it? Maybe there was some tiny truth in that rejection mail from that art school afterall? Maybe there is something I can actually do better? We can often improve either our art or our attitude, after we wiped away those tears.
  11. Now, focus on your next steps, what’s ahead, the future, new goals, good people that matter!
how to deal with artistic rejection
how to deal with artistic rejection

None of the above tips work for you? Well, there is one last, tiny truth, that hurts the most about rejection:

People do not get hired based on quality. Booking is arbitrary. No matter how much in control you are about your work, at some point you run into industry walls. It is merely up to you and your personal capacity to endure pain: you either jump over that wall, turn your back at it or smash your head against it.

Steve Martin’s famous quote „be so good they can’t ignore you“ is a myth. If you are that good, you will not need them anymore. 

Institutions reject good artists. That’s a common industry practice, so their own prima donnas won’t get scratched. If a music label builds up the next star, they buy up all similar artists to eliminate competition. German has a beautiful word for this: Karteileiche („card file corpse“ – a sleeping member, no one intends to wake up). Besides that, institutions send out harsh rejections to keep up a climate of fear to hold on to a respect and artistic relevance they have lost long ago. 

So here’s my last advice: Surround yourself with good people to stay sane. Develop and take care of meaningful friendships. Painter Rose Wylie says „unsuccessfulness gives you freedom.“ Stay independent. Find a source of happiness outside of your art. Be good to yourself. <3

Fruit Flies were my Muse at Sommerakademie fĂĽr Komische Kunst

It all started with a fruit fly infestation in my apartment this summer. Mind you, I’m untidy but not filthy. Fruit flies magically give birth to themselves once they smell food. And I didn’t immediately take out the melon rind and apparently became the queen of my own fruit fly colony. 

The timing was especially unlucky because I was to leave to Lake Tahoe the very next day. I thought I had extinguished all larvae. Two weeks later I came back to a fly covered apartment as if I had forgotten a dead body. 

Still Life with Fruit Flies
Still Life with Fruit Flies (feat. Matisse)

 

It was useful that I learned how to golf in Lake Tahoe because these new hitting skills came in handy. In a three hour kill streak I murdered all flies. And for those I couldn’t reach on the ceiling I set up vinegar death traps. And here’s a tip for you, if you ever have a fly plague yourself:

Do not put the vinegar traps next to open windows. In fact close all windows. Because all the flies outside will be attracted to your little vinegar cocktail party. 

Also, don’t leave food or trash around ever. In my fridge, I now have a unit for food, one for drinks and one for waste.

And lastly, do not leave empty bottles around. My fly tribe did not survive, as I had thought, on that one melon juice stain. Judged by an enormous fly graveyard next to the empty bottles, they had lived off molecular beer particles. Until all the alcohol was gone and many addicts dropped dead. 

 

Self Portrait with Fruit Flies (feat. Matisse)

 

I’m happy I had a fruit fly infestation. 

The day after my massacre I went to Kassel to attend the Sommerakademie für Komische Kunst. For one week, twenty cartoonists from Germany, Austria and Switzerland met, drew cartoons and drank beer under the guidance of German comic legend Gerhard Seyfried and the Caricatura Gallery. And my fruit flies functioned as my muse for ten artworks, cartoons and even paintings. I included some of them in this post. All of our works will now be shown live at Stadtmuseum Kassel opening September 14th.

 

Interieur with Fruit Flies (feat. Matisse)

 

 

And here, my dear blog readers, a gallery with photos both from the Summer School and Lake Tahoe (all Sommerakademie photos (c) Caricatura Kassel):

Some thoughts on pants and dresses

I once saw a wardrobe at a museum that could have been mine.  It had a sign „coats, please no pants“. (Their emergency exit plan’s sign was „this is no artwork“ and their toilet paper labeled „for free“. So yes, a great museum right up my alley).

Personally, I don’t wear pants. I hate them. I only wear dresses. A flowing fabric, basically a fancy blanket, that I wrap around my slack body. Wear a dress and you’re good to go! Unless you’re actually wearing a blanket, dresses will always make you look fashionable. People mistake my laziness for style. With pants, you have to match a top and a bottom. Really, who has time for that? Dresses are cold? Always have tights in your purse, like a good robber.

I’m short and therefore I only wear dresses that go just above my knees. Anything substantially longer makes me look like a character from The Handmaid’s Tale.
I once visited my friend Cindy in Uganda and didn’t check the dress code before (a tourist’s Russian Roulette). In Uganda, it’s perfectly okay to go topless. But it is not okay to show your knees. Yeah! Your filthy, revealing, overly sexual knees, you dirty thing you! Since I didn’t do my research, I got there with my short dresses. I had nothing appropriate to wear. I was a disgrace to her. And my tiny friend’s pants didn’t fit me. Ugh, see, pants again! I ended up wearing her curtains. I hid behind one, rolled myself in it and in a elegant pirouette I ripped it off the wall and on my body. Good to go! Still better than pants!

Pants suck because they have to fit well. If too long, you drag them through the mud. Or cuff them and tell people „they’re supposed to be like that“. (But deep down you know you look ridiculous. And promise yourself next time you don’t give up shopping jeans that fast).
A knee long dress is too long? Fine, they may cover my filthy knees then. A dress too big? Fine, I’ll use a belt and constrict myself until I look like a hot balloon dog. A dress to tight? I throw it in the closet and cry “I will loose weight at some point for sure“.

So, here, I have some shopping advice for you: Before getting ill fitted clothes, humble yourself and go to a mean but honest shop assistant. Advice and insult often live on the same street. A saleslady once told me „nah, don’t get that black dress. It emphasize your dark circles and wrinkles.“ Um, excuuuuse me? And also, get me all the white dresses you have. (I did almost punch her in the face though for saying „white is en vogue in Pari“.)

Here are some more jeans trends that I first posted on my instagram stories. They’re all inspired by my last unsuccessful shopping trip:

 

The wondrous effects of cycling in negative degrees

Do you belong, like me, to those people that cycle everywhere? Even in negative degrees? That moist their face with industrial strength grease so the head wind doesn’t burst the skin? When eventually getting to your destination, you tell everyone proudly but with a pain distorted face “you know, I cycled here”. (But they can’t tell who you are because you transformed into an icicle). Then these cartoons are for you! Hope your eye lashes aren’t frozen shut so you can look at them.

The wondrous effects of cycling in negative degrees:

cycling in minus degrees

bike cyclist road rage   schoen wetter radler hass   bladder infection from cycling   buying bobsled suit   crying while cycling

Berlin is the new New York – Pop-up Gallery

Berlin is the new New York is the name of next weekend’s exhibition with my artwork!

If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere. Frank Sinatra famously sang in “New York, New York”. When I was a DJ, I prominently played the song at the end of the night to kick people out of the club. It’s a good song to hug each other when you can’t stand on your own. No matter how speech impaired, you can still shout the city’s name. It’s a good song to remind yourself “I’m not in New York. I’m in Buxtehude. I’m not making it there. But at least I can make it home now”. Good night.

 

If I can make it there, I can make it anywhere. Even onto this new collage.

 

Berlin versus New York

The other day I found the German version of the song’s famous quote. In a Berlin tourist shop I saw postcards, backpacks, mugs with the slogan: “If you can’t make it in Berlin, you won’t make it anywhere”. This is lived German pessimism versus American optimism. This is the German capital being humble at best. Focus on can’t. Try hard to not make it. At least then you know you never make it anywhere else. Besides, the level for “making it in Berlin” is so low already, it’s no accomplishment to make it out of bed at 3pm. Why reach for the stars if you can reach for dirt on the floor? Also, it’s not “I can make it anywhere”, it’s “You won’t make it anywhere”. I always had a problem with this German condescension.

 

 

Go and get that authentic Wenzel

People have compared Berlin to New York many times. I love both cities. “Berlin is the new New York” – that’s also the name of a pop-up gallery next weekend. I will be showing original artworks, hand-drawn cartoons, no computer stuff!
Where? At Blue Goat Gallery, Gleimstrasse 16, Berlin-Prenzlauer Berg
More info: Facebook Event

 

What it takes to make it as a comedian. In Berlin or New York. I will be showing this hand drawn cartoon next weekend. And more!

 

 

I will also show “Injured big city dogs”.

 

 

 

Cartoon Exhibition

Ein echter Wenzel

I’m having a Cartoon Exhibition! Looking at and purchasing an authentic Wenzel is now possible. I’m showing my cartoons until Dec. 21st at Galerie 102 in Berlin!
(Here: Potsdamer Str. 102, Berlin, Opening Hours: Sun-Thu 13-18 Uhr, Fr&Sa 15-20 Uhr.).

I’m displaying my “Neu in Berlin” cartoons. They are all inspired by my recent move to the capital. They are observations, one-liners and most of all stories, that are funny when you haven’t been there yourself. Like that horrendous apartment hunting, the big city sick dog life, artist survival strategies. I sold a few at the opening night, so if you’re interested in other editions, let me know here!

Besides, there are many other artists, who show their work there and it’s totally worth it. Come and see a broad palette of Berlin contemporary art!

 

My parents came to the vernissage!

My parents arrived at the exhibition JUST as a performance artist started screaming and throwing herself in front of their feet. Welcome to Berlin.

Afterwards, I took my retired elders to their first craft beer bar. We went to the ĂĽber-hipster beer place BRLO, where we raised the average age by several nuances of beige.
They had their first craft beer tasting board and I now want to make a tv show out of it. With every beer came a tiny snack to enhance the beer aroma. Fermented garlic, toast with the dimension 1cm x 1cm, ONE piece of kale, fancy right! What does my dad do? He throws the snack INTO THE BEER. „Now it tastes better“, he said.
Definitely a save way to shock a hipster barkeeper. And material for my next cartoon!

You can purchase my cartoons here. And now, here are some pics from the exhibition (taken from my insta story):

 

Cartoon Exhibition Ingrid Wenzel Cartoon Exhibition Ingrid Wenzel Ingrid Wenzel Cartoon Dogs

Ingrid Wenzel ComedianIngrid Wenzel Comedian Cartoons Dogs

PUSH Improv is online

You know stuff gets serious when you change a relationship status or create a website. Me and my PUSH improv buddy Regina Pichler, a.k.a. PUSH ANY BUTTON IMPROV, are finally online. And our homepage looks better and more professional than my own! (Not like that’s a hard accomplishment, since my website is a house of cards and a house of smattering wordpress skills.)
Thanks to our designer Marcel Häusler we got a visual identity he created just for us. And, of course, thanks to our programmer Pascal Hokenholz.
Having a new website feels like buying a photo album. I’m so excited for all the pictures of our upcoming projects, that we will add one by one. And then one day show to our grandkids.

We already loaded lots of content up. For example, photos of our PUSH improv  performance at Gängeviertel Festival last year: At their cozy catacombs, we invited visitors to take part in our silly sĂ©ance. Playfully superstitious, never serious, but always sincere with our guests. Everyone experienced an entertaining and friendly fortune-telling session. We did no Palmistry but Thumbistry (we’re beginners and can’t do an entire hand yet). And if the thumb and our design tarot cards weren’t right enough, we interpreted the shapes of our lunch box tin foil. At the end, every “customer” got a happy, custom-made design tarot card to take home.

Now I could just post a link to our new improv site, but here are some visuals, because they are too pretty not to share! Heck, I even videotaped our website screen and loaded it on vimeo just to have it on my blog! Anyway, here’s the link, keep playing, keep PUSHing. We hope you like our new page as much as we do!

http://pushanybuttonimprov.com

 

PUSH ANY BUTTON IMPROV from Ingrid Wenzel on Vimeo.

 

PUSH ANY BUTTON IMPROV COMEDY GERMANY PUSH ANY BUTTON IMPROV COMEDY GERMANYPUSH ANY BUTTON IMPROV COMEDY GERMANY PUSH ANY BUTTON IMPROV COMEDY GERMANY