Sebastian Alsfeld

Sebastian Alsfeld

Harbin, Heilongjiang, China

About Sebastian Alsfeld

Born: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Living and working in Harbin, China.

Artist Statement:

I have always understood painting as a medium that embodies a thought process which depicts an accumulation of marks over a period of time. My paintings are a record of actions and reactions which often result in explosive, fractured, and chaotic images. I am interested in paintings that need to be visually unpacked; to discover which actions or marks came first and how they were applied and constructed. I aim to create paintings that allow a viewer to sift through collage-like forms and references to painting's history and visually deconstruct how the painting was made.

I am fascinated by the ways in which children and adolescents create images. I currently teach English as a Second Language (ESL) and art lessons to students from grade one to nine in China, and I am impressed by how direct, uninhibited, and honest they are in the ways in which they create their images. The way they freely create their images reminds me of my interests in the Surrealist technique of automatism or “taking a line for a walk”. The brutal and direct manner in which the kids carve out their subject matter with pencil, crayon, or paint relates to my interests in the various Expressionist movements. What interests me most are the cruddy drawings scrawled on the back of homework assignments that I collect from the “bad students” who do not pay attention during my English lessons. I look at these drawings and wonder if they are merely created out of boredom or are attempts at rebelling against such a strict upbringing and controlled society. I am also fascinated by the large, temporary walls built around construction sites I see while walking to and from work. The walls are well abused with graffiti, splashes of paint, footprints, and spit. I find the history of these marks and the savageness of the surfaces beautiful and look at them as though they are paintings.

As with the children discussed above, so too does painting provide me with an outlet and a way to freely explore the confusion and rebellious pent up energy inside me. It satisfies my urge to experiment with making and/or destroying something. Painting also provides the most immediate and direct way to create an image of something that I cannot directly perceive in the physical world. Most importantly, it allows me to create and destroy without having to resort to vandalism and other sorts of anti-social juvenile behavior. The viscous nature of paint favors visceral implementation and naturally allows the human touch to be present. Isolated in my studio from a world that has become impersonal, hell-bent on having the latest and greatest high-tech device, and communicating through technological means, it is the archaic qualities of paint and painting that allow me to feel most alive.


1999-2002 Bachelor of Fine Arts with distinction, Painting Major, Alberta College of Art and Design, Calgary, AB.

1996-1998 Fine Arts Diploma, Grant MacEwan Community College, Edmonton, AB.



Stand Up and be Dead, Gallery 601, Harbin, China (solo)

If You Know, The Rumpus Room, Surrey, B.C. (solo)

Last Chance Exit Strategy, GRG Gallery, Surrey, B.C. (solo)

Minor Delusions of Grandeur! Stride Gallery, Calgary, AB (group)

ACAD Graduation Show, Illingworth Kerr Gallery, Alberta College of Art & Design, Calgary, AB (group)

ACAD Collective Works, Artspace Gallery, Calgary, AB (group)

ACAD Graduation Show, Illingworth Kerr Gallery, Alberta College of Art & Design, Calgary, AB (group)

Bad News, 371 Gallery, Alberta College of Art & Design, Calgary, AB
(two person show)

Fake! Forgery!, Stride Gallery, Calgary, AB (group)

Creatures That Come In All Shapes, Sizes and Personalities, Marion Nicoll Gallery, Calgary, AB, (solo)