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  • 1. Where is your studio located? What are past locations of your studio?
    At the moment it is In my house in Tucson, AZ where I reside now. It has been almost always in my own house wherever I have lived. In my hometown Helmstedt ( Germany ), in Berlin ( Germany ), in Hasliberg Twing, Berner Oberland, Switzerland ), in Cincinnati, Ohio, in Livorno and Florence ( Tuscany, Italy ), in Omaha, NE.
  • 2. Where were you born? Where did you grow up? Where do you reside now?
    I was born and grew up in a marvelous small town named Helmstedt, founded in the thirteenth century in the northern part of Germany. Right now I live in the Sonoran desert, in Tucson, Arizona. I spent my very happy and free childhood in a historic university city nestled in between two bewitching forests. With seven or eight my sisters and I biked already all by ourselves to the public pool in the forest. Just to give you an idea of the atmosphere in that town: it conserves an important monumental heritage of romanesque and renaissance buildings, as well as numerous timber framed houses from the middle ages. Even seeing them daily I never grew tired of adoring them. I love the effect on the feeling they give to Helmstedt’s whole ambience! During the Cold War era Helmstedt had been the last town in the west part of Germany before the fence/wall. Its infamous Checkpoint Alpha was the crossing that let to the shortest land route between West Germany and West Berlin throughout the Cold War era. Since the age of sixteen it was my gateway to a new exciting world full of art, life and inspiration. It was easy and safe to hitch hike in a ninety minute drive from Helmstedt to Berlin through the German Democratic Republic. By hitch hiking I saved the money for the train that I needed for museums, movie theaters, metro and the countless inspiring cafe’s there. My hometown developed in the vicinity of St. Ludger’s Abbey, a former monastery of the benedictine order, a Roman Catholic religious order. St. Ludger founded the monastery on an ancient road, the Reichsstrasse, on the site of an ancient German shrine by a holy spring. The entire area was behind high walls when I went to the school across the street. Not knowing about all its history, but about many mysterious rumors about a hidden secret garden with a well of special powers, I had the best view from my classroom,- always wondering how it would be, to be on the other side of the wall. One day after school my friends and I finally took the courage to find out about the secrets behind those walls. We were enchanted in the moment we landed on our feet: nothing but fascinating, ancient trees, thick scrubs and unfamiliar vines. Looking a bit closer, the fear of a guard dog or police, slowly fading away, we found ourselves in the most beautiful, wild and uncommonly peaceful garden we’d ever been in. We were delighted! It smelled like dark humid earth, juicy berries, thick leaves, tree bark and sweet flowers. We were just on the other side of a huge wall in the middle of busy streets, but everything behind the wall seemed to be different – even the light! I wasn’t sure if it was the places atmosphere that made me feel indescribably passionately and profoundly connected to life or if it was the relieve of not having to deal with a dangerous dog or the police. I went home and tried to reproduce these feelings on paper, so they would last forever. This is just an example of how I was always and still am to this day, magnetically drawn to and genuinely touched by certain ambiences, and by the emotions they cause in me.
  • 3. Describe what your childhood was like.
    With four I walked across town all by myself to my Preschool, which belonged to a church of a former monastery. St. Marienberg is located on a small hill in town. Passing it twice a day I always stopped to marvel at its massive stone walls, huge wooden door and its fascinating stained glass windows. The entire hill with the church on its top had something safe, peaceful, and majestic that I felt so drawn to that every now and then I sat down in the grass around the church with its wonderfully perfuming wildflowers for a little pick nick with the candy I got from birthday parties in my preschool, before heading home. I remember that it was a really long walk back home but I made it always in time for lunch. Then my two sisters, our friends and I went to play outside until dark throughout the entire neighborhood. Every single day was an exciting adventure, it was so much fun to invent new games and have friends to play them with! If we wouldn’t run outside in our swimsuits on a rainy summer day, our mother could keep me quiet for hours by giving me the watercolors, brushes and paper. I remember to this day as if it was yesterday, how magical it was to watch the color on my paper right in front of my eyes turning into little "pleasure islands”, realizing it gave me the power to create anything I wanted. It gave me fun and wonder. I recall it felt as if my heart was dancing. I was hooked. With five I was sent to elementary school, but my highlight of the week was my time in a private art school for children. It took place in an old villa, where I enjoyed both, painting in the beautiful light in one of its windowed bulges, and the admiration for my works from my teacher and pears. What I loved especially about my childhood was that I was so free in many ways. To come in for lunch and to be back home by darkness, were the only rules. Even later in my teenage years my parents were not very focused on me and my whereabouts. To this day I am thankful for this, what I experienced as “absolute freedom”. Our garage was full with tools, paint and leftover wood which I was always allowed to use as much as I wanted. Sacrifying one of my roller skates, I constructed even my own skateboard, small furniture for my room, my own bicycle out of broken ones and such things.
  • 4. How old were you when you realized you wanted to be an artist? Was there a particular event or moment when you suddenly knew, you wanted to be an artist?"
    One day, walking on my mothers' hand to town, she asked me what I wanted to be when I was a grown up. I was about five or six years old and remember how surprised I was by that question, because I thought that everyone in my family knew what I was and what I was training for in my art school for children. "An artist”, I told my mom, who answered: ”Everyone who does not want to work, wants to be an artist”! In our family hard work was the only prerequisite for survival. As a child I understood that my mother informed me that I would die if I became an artist. Slowly and unnoticed over time my thing that gave always a sense to everything else in my life, became my very well kept secret. My parents grew up during the war and knew what it meant to be hungry. They had learned from their own parents and everyone around them in their by war destructed cities that the only way to survive and succeed was by working hard consistently. Practicing art instead was frivolous and a true waste of time. During my teenager years everything changed. My artistic activities were seen now as a foolish disuse of time and disrespecting the more important needs of ones family. In order to avoid punishment I painted in my room secretly, with the door locked, or during TV when nobody noticed that I was drawing portraits of my family members all the time. As soon as I was "caught in the act", I was sent to work or treated with despise. The safest time to be not disturbed at all was at night when everyone slept. Art classes in middle school had not been very enjoyable, because either my teacher accused me of cheating by turning in art works done by an adult or my pears admired my works which made me very uncomfortable.
  • 5. Do you have any artistic connections in your family?
    Growing up there wasn’t anybody in my family who practiced or appreciated art, it was something impractical and useless, unless practiced by a child. However I asked my father all the time to grade every single of my works. He did put his A’s and sometimes a B with a red pen on the front side of my works, without a word. I remember that he always gave one grade for technique and another one for the idea. The good grades made me happy. I went to work on improving the B’s immediately and did not complain that he drew the grades directly on my drawings and paintings. About fourty years later, I was shown photos of astonishing, excellent drawings done by my father, a few days after his death, who had never enjoyed any traditional training!
  • 6. What is your educational background?
    I worked since I was fourteen parallel to school, in order to make money for clothing, trips and pocket money. I supported myself entirely and lived on my own since I was eighteen. After High School I became a registered nurse in the hospital, that has its roots in the monastery St. Marienberg, the same monastery of my Preschool. I loved to always work in the critical care units, like in my hometown hospital and later in Berlin, then I went to Medical School at the Freie Universität in Berlin for a few semesters until I missed to use my hands to draw and paint just too much. It had been a big deal to even get into the Medical School at the FU Berlin. All I learned fascinated me, but I realized it wasn’t what I truly wanted. Even parallel to my work as a registered nurse in the beautiful mountains of Switzerland, I always continued to create and take art classes in my time off. By going to College and study art at the School of Art of the UNO in Omaha, NE and the U of A in Tucson, AZ, I had finally realized one of my dreams. I had enjoyed my studies immensely, however, I decided later on - half way through to my graduation - to continue my studies independently to this day.
  • 7. What is the inspiration for your work?
    My work is directly inspired by emotion caused for example by music, nature, by a special ambience, an important moment, people, by relationships to others and to myself. I paint the feelings evoked by my inspiration. a. What does your art signify or represent? It represents the exact reaction and effect it causes the viewer to have. and will be different with each person. With my work I strive to improve the mood, I intend to freeze a powerful moment forever, in order to share it with the viewer and to give the possibility to repeat this experience. My intention is to conserve emotional power on canvas in order to inspire, to change or to improve the mood. I want to give the viewer something of importance, an experience on a deeper level. Only the viewer is able to make the judgment of whether I have been successful or not. What I like especially about this kind of communication is that the viewer is absolutely free and not pushed in any way to respond, unlike in a conversation with words. This can be very effective. b. What does your art mean to you? It took me courage and persistence to follow my true passion, to allow myself to paint the images that are flowing into my inner eye, with my own technique, with which I can realize my ideas best. The motivation comes from my inborn constant appetite to create and my urge to communicate. With each new work I see myself at a starting point of a circle, that begins with an important experience and inspiration, then there is the creation process, in which I relive the inspiration followed by the reaction of the viewer. Any spark, inspiration, or revelation, echoing from my work to the viewer, fills me with delight and satisfaction, leaves me with a sense of having been useful. The moment the viewer interacts with my work, it comes to life. Yet, something new is opening for me here. Every single viewer has her/his own unique personality and life story. With every different viewer there will be a very different interaction with my paintings. If there is the chance of interacting with viewers I learn to change my own point of view by looking through her/his eyes and get a snapshot of the viewers unique personality and life story while growing my awareness. My art gives me a chance to be in contact with strangers spontaneously on deep levels and open each others horizons. With this the circle becomes complete. I am always curious about my viewer's experiences and thankful for sharing them.
  • 8. Why did you choose your subject matter?
    It comes natural and easy to me at the moment. It is what I enjoy most right now and I would not want to do anything different. As a teenager it has always been my secret fun time, to use watercolor and ink in order to freeze the essence of something important I experienced, in an abstract manner on paper. Seeing abstract forms and colors are a spontaneous reaction when I listen to music for example, or experience a for me with words indescribable atmosphere that touches me in a particular way on a deep level.
  • 9. How did you develop your technique?
    Presently I am working on mixed media paintings. Part of it has been an idea from long time ago during an advanced drawing class, that I was looking forward to realize since. The next idea for the painting surface came to me in a pastel class where it was suggested to build ones own grounds for the pastel. Feeling I just needed to do what I felt like doing, instead of working exclusively on class assignments, I had another idea, I connected them and developed it further into a certain technique which gives me the exact look that I want and serves in order to express my visions. The ground I use is constructed especially to be built up upon and to achieve the effect I desire. I personally developed this original technique and exclusive combinations of materials.
  • 10. Who are your major influences?
    Henri De Toulouse Lautrec, Vincent Van Gogh and Wassily Kandinsky. Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci. My work is not similar to none of them, but they influenced me as an artist, they gave me understanding, strength and hope, I feel close to them as if they were my bodies. Henri De Toulouse Lautrec for example was bullied and treated with despise for his physical appearance, therefore he was very lonely throughout his life. Nonetheless he did not give anyone the power to extinguish his passionate flame for art! A book about his life fell into my hands during my with regard to art difficult teenager years, he became one of my first heroes. I love and admire his ability to capture the figure, even when they are moving. Vincent Van Gogh. He started attending a formal art school later in his life like me. I love his palette’s intensity of his later paintings and reading about him and his letters, made me realize that I’m not the only one with such intense feelings and the urge to express them. It felt good to realize I wasn’t alone. Wassily Kandinski. As van Gogh he took up the study of art in earnest a little later in his life after another career. I like that he was convinced that the viewer could experience the vibrations of the colors in his paintings. I am one hundred percent sure of that as well. He said: “Of all the arts abstract painting is the most difficult one. It demands that you know how to draw well, that you have a heightened sensitivity for composition and colors and that you be a true poet. The last is essential.” It made me always feel better in times hearing people all around me talking about abstract art with despise. His words encouraged me against the believe I grew up with that abstract art would be the worst and cheapest fraud that existed. Over and over again I enjoy Michelangelo’s and Leonardo da Vinci’s highly creative minds and their dedication to their passions. Through them I understood that creativity is infinite.
  • 11. What are some of your non-art related hobbies or interests?
    What are 2-3 non-art related hobbies or interests? Raising my daughter, my son and husband J, hot yoga, bodybuilding, healthy and delicious cooking and baking, biking, alternative medicine., psychology, spirituality.
  • 12. If you are not a full time artist, describe your non-art work, and how you feel it relates to your art?"
    I am just now transitioning to a full time artist, but I want to explain how all my other responsibilities and activities relate to art. While I do body building for example, I observe and memorize body positions that attract me during the breaks in between two exercises, for future paintings. I play around with them and mix them with architecture. But this is not all. When it is my turn to move the weights, I practice to focus exclusively on the movement and feeling of the muscles needed for that specific exercise. This is almost like using a mantra during meditation. Every other thought that comes up will be gently deleted, I go back to focusing on the muscles I exercise and every “cheating” muscle will be relaxed in the moment I realize its unwanted action. I focus on staying focused on the movement of just certain muscles for the specific exercise and on relaxing all other muscles at the same time. This might sound complex but it is simple. Bodybuilding as well as hot yoga is to me like a warm up or training for painting, because that described process is exactly part of what I do when I paint, only that painting is more complex. I focus and relax at the same time and I love how this art feels like and the fact that it allows me to get access to a source where I find the visions I need in order to express what I want express! While exercising my body, I get always really good ideas and pictures that pop in my mind. Often solutions for certain problems pop in mind. In addition to the mental exercise benefits of my physical activities, there Is the health benefit which plays an utmost important role to me. I am convinced that the healthier I am the better the quality of my work. Working as a nurse gave me the possibility to observe and study people in extreme situations all the time. I learned to communicate better and how to connect with people. My urge to better the situation of each of my patients made me very inventive. I grew and learned about change. As a mother, wife and manager of my family I do the exact same thing, I observe, I learn from myself, from positive and from negative examples, I invent to improve situations, relationships, the inner balance of a person. To be at my best it became essential to remove myself from judgment and to be flexible and open to change as often as possible. My work as a nurse, mother and wife formed in me my mission as an artist, it made me come very close very fast to what is most important to me. Inspiration is everywhere. Music and peoples voices for example inspire me and make me see colors and shapes. The thoughts, the solution ( trick ) and following emotion coming from resolving a relationship obstacle for example ( this is change! ), makes me see colors, two and three dimensional geometric forms and shapes that I want to paint. This is why everything I do is art related and how art is that thing that gives a sense to everything I do.
  • 13. 17. As an artist, what is your mission?"
    My mission is to be in service. I attempt to offer something enriching, useful and important. I want to contribute to both, to embellish and enrich people’s lives and living spaces with my work. I invite to a memorable and useful experience and open one’s horizon. I feel to be a messenger who delivers with each series a different experience. Viewing my recent work is an encounter with oneself, a voyage into an altered world leading each individual viewer to experience themselves and enable change. This is what my plexiglass frames represents: they are a material metaphor for the continuous change around us and as well for the constant changes in our physical, emotional, mental and spiritual bodies. The frame reflects parts of the surrounding and, depending on the observers position, even the viewer itself. It reflects some areas of the painting and you can look through the frame and see parts of the painting. It depends on the viewers position how the painting plus frame appears to her/ him, how it effects her/ him. If she/he changes her/his point of view while looking at the frame by just one inch, the frame itself and the painting surrounded by it, will look different and with this its effect on the viewer will change. Through my paintings with their frames I want to show how we are, in every single moment of our life in the full power of how to look at situations, how we can change our point of view, therefore our thoughts and with that our emotions what might result in an entirely different outcome of our lives in the end. For this series I encourage to bypass the ego, our every day conscious, the endlessly thinking and judging mind, - while gazing at my work. Which is not an easy task. This is why I invite to join in for a little game during the show in a gallery or at home. My pieces are interactive and there are easy instructions available to everyone who is curious to participate. Observe what happens, let it happen, experience…you might change! ;) ( Explanation: during a show in a gallery there will be cards with instructions available and handed out for curious viewers who want to participate in a little activity/game. When the pieces are sold separately there is a plexi glas card with the instructions on it , magnetically attached on the back of each painting that is easy to get out and place back again behind it. This way the owner is able to repeat this game/ activity and invite family and friends to do it as well. )
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