Describing Kremer’s work one could say „distorted and disfigured images, massacre of previously totally realistic pictures now looking a bit grotesque” - but in such a humorous way you just want to high-five him. Kremer is gruesomely funny in his work but not all would agree, most notably: Donald Trump (those are my assumptions regarding what happened). If you don’t know what I am talking about, here’s a little recap: Kremer was recently banned from Instagram of what seems to be a political reason - as he was „caught” playing around with images of American presidential candidates (Trump in particular) a bit too excessively. Of course I am not putting a total blame on Mr. Donald Duck himself, but this somehow smells like a hurt ego, even though Trump once said: „You know, it really doesn’t matter what the media writes as long as you’ve got a young, and beautiful, piece of ass.” - and he kind of has a semi youngish Slovenian ass back home and was still bothered with Kremer’s work. I mean okay, it was not writing - it was images, but still. This was also not the first time around Kremer’s account got banned from Instagram and it probably isn’t the last time as well - but with a little help from his „friends” Kremer was able to get his account deactivated (this time around) for God knows how long. Anyways, I have mad love and respect for both Kremer brothers and I wish their accounts could last forever, so I sat down with Phillip to discuss what happened and to encourage everyone to just let this man be!
Hey, how is everything?
Great! Years of careful planning and aspirations of becoming social media’s Loch Ness monster are finally coming to fruition.
Can you please give us a short update on what happened with your Instagram account?
My account was disabled by Instagram. I assumed my account had been hacked and that if I reported the issue things would be corrected. Unfortunately, I was notified that Instagram had shut down my account for crossing their vague guidelines.
And that was not the first time around you were banned, right?
I remember waking up one morning and noticing that John Mayer and Katy Perry were following me. It was surreal to be noticed by celebrities, but what I loved and appreciated the most was the variety of the people who started following. I think the first account had around 4k followers when it was disbanded, so I was bummed when they deleted me.
Why do you think that keeps happening?
My theories tend to be outlandish and day dreamy. I joked with my son about how wonderful it would be if I got under Trump’s skin. But I don’t think he could be bothered by Instagram, he’s too busy entertaining us. I have tried to use the process of elimination to determine what the issue is. Since there is no nudity, violence, or complaints by the „community”, I thought it may be because Instagram thought I was „singling somebody out”, (maybe D.J. Trump). Luckily people who like what I’m doing noticed I was banned again and started causing a rukkus and the media jumped in and started asking questions. The only response anyone got was from a representative of Instagram, assuring us that the account was not removed because of the Trump images. Go figure.
But now after a few days you got your account back. How did that happen?
I didn’t receive a reply from Instagram concerning the first account with 4k followers and I was more hopeful to get an answer this time because an additional 50k people following me. I gave them a couple days to acknowledge my appeal, and didn’t even get an automated response. I contacted a few people that had previously interviewed me about my work and hoped they had connections and more importantly, clout. A radio station here in Houston KUHF interviewed me as did the Houston Chronicle. And then my Instagram friends nearly started a riot under #freephillipkremer and I guess Instagram finally noticed because finally received an email saying that my account had been reinstated because they took the artistic value into account. But who at Instagram chooses what is artistic? Mark Zuckerberg?
Do you think there is a chance you will get banned again?
Yes. When I first started manipulating portraits of people the images I chose were much more intense. Horrible things I want to forget about. I knew that posting those on Instagram was asking to get kicked off and that’s not my motive. So I started using people’s own skin on themselves, grabbing that extra skin under the neck and moving it up, or dragging the forehead down over the face. I felt like a surgeon moving their faces around or deleting their features altogether. I’m trying to fit pieces together that are enjoyably uncomfortable. So until I get an answer from Instagram stating what terms were violated, I can’t be certain that I won’t violate their terms again.
How did you even start with the image you are now known for?
Boredom, anxiety, and the desire to stay busy. It made sense to start messing around with portraits of people I was finding when image searching older names that aren’t used much today, such as „Glenda”, „Shirley”, „Virgil”, „Bart”, or „Ida Mae”. I guess because these are people that I don’t know, I started seeing the photos and what I was doing with them as a medium, like paint.
Do you think you are funny?
Are you calling me fat?
Do you feel there is a right or wrong way to understand someones works?
I’m fascinated when I hear an artist give a talk about their art, only to find out that I had misjudged its meaning. Most people don’t care why an artist is making art. It’s up to the artist to catch the viewer’s eye and make them question motives.
Last five songs you listened?
„Cool Kids” - American Analog Set
„Written In The Sand” - Birdy Nam Nam
„What They Found” - The Octopus Project
„I Think It Is Beautiful That You Are 256 Colors Too” - BMSR
„Night Falls On Hoboken” - Yo La Tengo
Who is your hero?
I have several hero’s, but if I must pick only one it would have to be Louis CK.
America is ...
About to go under the knife. Plastic surgery is the only option. Her colors are running and her age is showing.
Words Katja Horvat
Images Phillip Kremer