Interview with David Gerstein from Yediot Ahronot newspaper, February 2013
Here is a transcript of an interview given by David Gerstein to the largest newspaper in Israel "Yediot Ahronot". The interview was made in Hebrew, the translation is below.Interview with David Gerstein
Weekend interview with David Gerstein, painter, sculpture and designer.
Art around the clock
David Gerstein doesn't stop making art even on weekends. Now he's making sports themed sculptures for a stadium in Taiwan. His Saturday is spent in museums and galleries.
How does your weekend start?
"Sometimes I use it for work, because during the rest of the week I'm busy with meetings, phone calls and other more administrative work. During the weekend I have absolute quiet to create art. Those are my precious moments. Now I am working on a series of sports themed sculptures, which are meant to be place in a new stadium in Taipei, Taiwan."
What are you excited about these days?
"A large scale book about my works, which was just published by the Italian art publishing house 'Skira'. when I was a kid I used to 'swallow' their books with my eyes and I had a hidden dream that one day I would have my own book published by them. Lately I've also designed dessert plates for a company that has been making porcelain for the past 100 years. The plates are being made now and would be marketed all over the world.
How did you spend your last Saturday ('Shabbat')?
"I took my grand daughter, Sahar (4.5), to visit the Israel museum (In Jerusalem) and she absolutely loved it as well as I."
Do you give your own artwork as gifts?
"Although my wife claims that giving your artwork as a gift is opposing yourself on the receiver, I still insist, on most family occasions, to give a piece of mine instead of money. I always get great responses when I do that, almost without exception."
Is your home designed as a "Gerstein museum" with dozens of your own works?
"Hardly. My wife makes sure I keep my ego in check, I leave those decisions to her. Apart for just a few works of mine I have many works of other artists. Some friends, and some which I have purchased."
What is the highest sum you paid for purchasing an artwork?
"I don't purchase for that much; probably $2,000 is reasonable. I also exhibit other artists in my gallery in Tel Aviv and for each exhibition I receive a piece of art from the artist, so I do have quite a large collection, and I switch and change what is hung on the wall sometimes. I recently found a wonderful drawing by Abraham Ofek in a gallery in Tel Aviv and bought it immediately. We were good friends when he was alive but I never bothered collecting his works back then".
What does a Friday night dinner look like in your home?
"Well, because our kids are grown up and left home, most of our meals we have on our own, my wife and I. our eldest daughter Naomi (37) lives in Tel Aviv and doesn't come to dinner often. Yuval (33) lived in London for the past three years and has recently come back, so he is the one joining us usually with his girlfriend".
At least on 'Shabbat' you get to rest?
"I work twelve hours a day, six days a week. Because my hobby is also my profession, even Saturdays are dedicated to making art, but more on the theoretical side of it. I read art books and magazines and visit museums and galleries. Every month I spend about a week abroad to attend my exhibitions or openings. When I'm abroad I use my 'Shabbat' to visit museums and galleries as well".
Has anyone ever stolen an artwork from you?
"A few years ago a huge sculpture I made, five meters tall, was stolen from a sculpture park near Kibbutz Hazerim in the south of Israel. It was at a time when metal was a sought after material and was worth a lot of money. Whoever stole it got a very low profit in comparison to the real value of this sculpture. It took me two years to build it, with a factory in 'Yeruham' (Southern Israel) and I haven't been able to reconstruct it since. The base of the sculpture is still standing there alone in the desert".
How did you meet your wife?
"At a party, but I wasn't sure we connected. To my surprise we met a few days later on the street in Jerusalem and I invited to visit my studio. Later she told me she was anxious that she might not like my work and then she would have been able to go out with me, because of her sensitivity to aesthetics.But in the end the opposite happened".
David Gerstein (68) lives in Jerusalem with his wife Tziona, an architect. He studied in Bezalel and taught there for 15 years. He has a large studio and will soon move to the industrial area near Bet Shemesh called Har tuv. He's an avowed atheist and has an ultra religious twin brother, who is also an illustrator for an ultra religious newspaper. His daughter studied art and runs his gallery. His son is a talented musician and founded the band "Coolooloosh". A huge sculpture he placed in Singapore called 'Momentum' has turned into an icon and a place tourist guides refer to.