There are three things that are steady in my life: expressing my inner self with art, redefining my outer self through curiosity, openness and awareness, and last, but not least, I have never fitted in a box!
Already as a teenager, drawing and painting was so dear to me, so close to what I am in my
innermost core, that I refused to have it directed in any way by a teacher. This made me leave
an artist group I had joined to practise life painting, it made me struggle with my arts teachers at
school and it made me decide against going for a degree in arts.
So my outer self studied Physics, made a PhD in Astronomy, became a Patent Attorney, a
mediator, a facilitator and latest a teacher for my home schooled son. This path led me from a
remote Bavarian village to traditional but also multicultural Munich, then to Prussian Berlin, filled
with politics and history, from there to the loneliness and pure nature of arctic Norway and now
to the, in many ways unique and inspiring, Cornish side of the Tamar Valley.
Through all these adventures art was my constant companion. As a child I created very fine and detailed pencil drawings, mainly of animals and the nature around me. Gradually, influenced by the street artists in Italy, hom I watched for hours when they sketched the sea, boats and buildings in coal, my drawings became a bit rougher and with this more alive. I was encouraged to show more of my work when I took part in an exhibition of local artists in my school town. When finally I could afford to buy oil paints, I started to add colour to my art. At the beginning, I used rather dark colours, because I started to express my worries and concerns about the, back then already, rather dark state of the environment, through my paintings. It was in the 1990s, after the “Global 2000 Report to the President“ was published, that I became aware of the destruction of nature that goes along with our economy and started to question the ideal of economic growth. Those were the first pictures I sold.
I became interested in politics and history and their impact on humans, and this influenced my paintings in content and technique. I started to use acrylic paint and included rougher materials like sand. I think my style was, back then, mainly influenced by Surealists like Dali and de Chirico, whose paintings and ways of expressing dreams, as messages of their souls, resonate with me. And, working more with the human body, I also drew inspiration from modern dance in those years. I had my first exhibition in Munich.
Wherever I travel, countries like Malta, Italy, Greece, Ireland, Scotland, New Zealand, USA, Japan, Norway, Iceland, I take water colours, pencils and charcoal with me and whenever I find time, I draw or paint. It feels to me like I have only really been to a place if I sit down and draw. While I was working for the photo company AGFA, I learned lots about the theory and practise of photography from the photographers and researchers, whom I worked with. Thus I started to take photos, which became a new passion, mainly because it saved time, which was scarce for me those days. And taking a photo has a bit the same effect of arriving at a place for me, as drawing or sketching has, it is another unique way of seeing the world and at the same time expressing yourself. My life, back then, was very intense, exciting, sometimes shrill and this became reflected in my arts through a change in colours and also techniques. I started to use brighter colours and silk and glass as materials. Painting on silk made my paintings more shiny, but it also opened the door to let part of the picture just happen and thereby I gave myself more freedom in expression.
Working with glass gave me finally the brilliance of the colours that nature sometimes gives us in very special moments, but it was also a long standing love that I finally fulfilled. As a little child I had several times been to Murano, watching those skilled glass artists forming those impressive glowing glass blobs into vases, horses, birds, whatsoever and I had been stunned by the beauty of their work. Now I finally use the same material as they do, even if I will never reach the skill of a 20 years educated glass master in shaping hot glass.
By befriending a jeweller I learned working with silver, which added another facet to my work. We also had an arts shop together in Munich for some years.
I do not really remember when, besides all this, I started to design my own clothes. I was knitting already when I went to school, mainly because I was bored, just sitting there and listening to what the teachers tried to tell me. And after all those years of knitting I wanted to knit more demanding patterns and so I started to draw my own design for jumpers. I quite liked the style of Kaffe Fassett and I had always liked the paintings of Franz Marc, a Bavarian Expressionist, his colours and shapes and I certainly also learned from Niki de Saint Phalle, whose art, especially the Tarot Garden in Tuscany is just fun to experience and Gaudi who immortalised himself in the Sagrada Familia.
These styles got along very well with knitting but also with creating Stained Glass pictures, so I used it in my way. In the Norwegian snow and ice, in the long dark winter, I did not just take amazing photos of Northern Lights, but I also started to make glass beads, learned how to fuse glass, I intensified my skills in wet felting and I learned spinning and carding, so that I now can weave patterns of colous into my yarn, which gives unique effects in my skirts and dresses. The next skill I really want to learn is weaving, just time is still not on my side.
But at last I have reached the point in life where I bring my inner and outer self together and just be me, as an artist. I was lucky enough to, just by chance, settle here, besides a magnificant wood artist, John Rowe, who became a very inspiring and supportive partner in arts for me. I currently combine wood and glass to create art that raises awareness to the fact that we humans are all one with nature and we all have the same needs, for example of love and peace, in this world. I am surrounded by such a rich variety of artists: painters, printers, sculptors, photographers, film makers, textile artist, writers, actors, dancers........I experience them all as very inspiring, cooperative and supportive.
I do feel at home here. Supporting my son, whose passion is drama, has opened my eyes further to the world of theatre, which again is a fascinating field and I am sure will have an impact on my work. I am really lucky with my neighbourhood. Having been asked for it at the Open Studios, I started to give workshops, which some of my neighbours attend and I do really enjoy helping them to express themselves in arts. Thus I am looking forward to all the ideas and techniques that my art will still travel to, over the coming years.
What's the best work related thing you have done recently?
I visited Japan again and let myself be inspired by contemporary and ancient art likewise. What a culture! Almost everything feels like art there, from the food to the trees.
What irritates you?
That people still consider information from newspapers, Reuters and whatever mass media there are, as news, instead of seeing it as the propaganda that they are.
Who do you most admire?
I do not believe in heros and I think I most admire people who struggle to make a living and still stay human and optimistic.
What is your favourite place?
Depends on the time and mood. Sometimes in my garden, sometimes in my workshop, sometimes on the sofa besides the fire and sometimes somewhere in Dartmoor or the Tamar Valley.
What's your favourite book and film?
That constantly changes, as I do. Especially films come and go. But I like authors like Gabriel García Márquez, Isabell Alliende, Gioconda Belli or José Saramago, Yaşar Kemal, George Orwell, Arthur Miller or Berthold Brecht and films like The Matrix, Harold and Maude, The Scent of Women or As Good As It Gets, some Anime and lots of documentaries..
What motivates and inspires you?
My subconsciousness, the nature and people around me, all kinds of arts. Currently I guess a feeling that we repeat the dark history of a hundred years ago.
Who would you most like to meet?
My inner self before it was shaped by my parents and education.