Valentino Koch – Preposterous, Obscure & Original

Words: Louise Nilsson
Photos: Louise Nilsson
I sit with the artist Valentino Koch in his living room, we are surrounded by colour and canvas. We talk as he works on three pieces for an up-coming exhibition. In three words Valentino describes his art as ‘Preposterous, obscure and original.’
His art is gritty, yet colourful and almost every piece has been built around some form of wordplay or has a hidden deeper meaning. Valentino himself is much like his art: loud and witty.
The 24-year old has dabbled in several art forms including (but not limited to), drawing, painting, photography, poetry and an Ebook about time wasting and the meaning of life. Valentino is a Sunshine Coast based artist but is soon making his move to the big smoke, Brisbane.

“A lot of the time ideas come from wordplay,” he says.

“The best example would be the cutting agent … dealers sometimes cut their drugs with a cutting agent, and then the word cutting agent made me want to just do a little cartoon character of like a secret agent with knives and scissors and so he’s a cutting agent. A lot of the time inspiration comes from that.”

Somewhat nihilistic, Valentino says he creates art because it is better than just doing nothing.

“I never did sports or exercise or that sort of stuff, so I guess you’ve got to fill your time somehow … I don’t think my artwork does much for the world itself,” he says.

“I use art as a means to fill my time, so others can fill their space.”

Valentino says he has been creating art as a purposeful direction for two and a half years. However, growing up in a creative family and going through 14 years of Steiner School education he was always exposed to art and encouraged to have an imaginative mind.

“My mother was a painter, my father painted … After dinner instead of watching TV and that sort of stuff my dad would always draw with me.”

When asked if he has a favourite piece of his own work Valentino gestures to the wall.

“Would be these two pieces I’d say, the clowns or the three faces,” he says.

“There’s also another one from my sketchbook, which I never made into a larger piece … I greened out once and had tunnel vision and this flight of stairs seemed far longer than it was. So the whole sketch is in charcoal and it looks like a spiralling tunnel going down this flight of stairs.

“I think there’s seven stairs or something like that, and then you can kind of see, coming down the other side, that there’s only three stairs. So I guess it just was like a terribly drawn set of stairs. But with the backing story, my memory of it, it makes a lot of sense.”

Currently Valentino is working on finishing pieces for the launch of issue three of Sunshine Coast magazine the Shelter. As we speak he is working on three printed photographs of male faces tinged in different hue’s. They follow a similar style to his pieces for the last Shelter exhibition, three photographed faces outlined and adorned with leaves and seeds from the garden as jewellery.

Valentino says the Sunshine Coast and Brisbane are both growing as regions which allow art and culture to thrive.

“(In) Noosa for instance, there’s the shelter which is starting up, which seems very exciting. Brisbane is definitely starting to thrive; it’s coming for Melbourne. Yeah, there’s stuff happening. It’s only going to get bigger,” he says.

Without giving too much away what we can expect from Valentino in the future is a range of interactive based ideas, incorporating QR codes, provocative style pop up books and interactive crosswords. He says he is excited to integrate technology with his art.

“I’m going to be doing more interactive stuff. I like working with interactive stuff,” he says.

“I’m going to start working with a QR code doing a few QR code pieces … I think the next piece is going to be a sunflower and it’s the QR code to the Google search sunflowers. So that then, the Google search, is something that’s constantly evolving and changing to what people are uploading on online. So then that piece is ever changing.”

Catch Valentino on his Instagram @valentino.r.k

I asked Valentino what he does when he isn’t creating art, ‘fucking’ was his response. “Fucking. That’s it. Well eating, eating as well.”