Hi, Gustav Klimt, Could you tell us a bit about your background and what led you to pursue painting?

I was born in 1862 in Baumgarten, near Vienna. My journey in art began at a young age, influenced partly by my father's work as an engraver. I studied at the Vienna School of Arts and Crafts, where I was trained in architectural painting. However, my interest soon shifted towards the avant-garde movement. I was drawn to the Symbolist style, which allowed for a more personal, expressive form of art, moving away from the traditional academic style.

How would you describe your approach to art and the development of your style?

My style is best described as a blend of symbolism and Art Nouveau, with a distinct focus on the female form and sexuality. I strive to capture beauty and sensuality, often intertwining human figures with decorative patterns and vibrant colors. My work evolved to become more daring and controversial, breaking away from the conventions of the time and embracing a more modern, expressive approach.

What inspires you to choose the subjects that you do?

I am deeply inspired by the human condition, particularly the complexity and beauty of women. My subjects often revolve around themes of love, sexuality, and regeneration. I'm also influenced by classical mythology and symbolism, which allows me to explore deeper philosophical and existential themes in my work.

Could you elaborate on how you approach color in your work?

Color is a central element in my art. I use it not just to define form, but to evoke emotions and create a mood. My palette is often rich and ornamental, with gold leaf and intricate patterns playing a significant role. This use of color and texture adds a certain depth and luminosity, creating a sense of opulence and fantasy.

Lastly, what advice would you give to aspiring artists who look up to your work?

To the aspiring artist, I would advise exploring beyond the boundaries of traditional art. Embrace your unique voice and dare to express your deepest emotions and thoughts through your work. Art should not only imitate life but should also delve into the unseen, the symbolic, the emotional. Be bold in your exploration of subjects and styles, and always remain true to your artistic vision.