BACKGROUND & EDUCATION
I grew up in an East Block country beyond the Berlin wall, where the presence of the secret service was as ubiquitous as wolfs
circling a herd of elk.
I grew up in summer meadows full of cricket song that would shimmer orange as they bent in the afternoon sun.
Thuringian villages were nestled into the valleys already steeped into shadows. The houses, how I loved them- made of dark
brown wooden beams and beige mud mixed with straw. Some were shingled with dark blue slate native to only that area.
Everything was breathing. There were spiders in the corners, and dandelion weeds; wooden ladders hung on house walls
ready to be leaned against an apple or plum tree in the garden. Furtive cats on trails of moles and mice. People speaking in
dialect. Soft, round mountains protecting it all.
In the forest, on the warm carpet of pine needles, sun patches would flitter, mosquitoes would dance. There, one could find
quartz crystals in top-secret places, or catch tadpoles in soggy ponds.
I grew up among people with minds so small that failing to put up curtains on your window could be cause for them to stop
greeting you on the street. Imagine then, to be the only one searching for contact with foreigners, learning English and Russian
and Hungarian and French; imagine having an interest in countries beyond "The Wall".
I grew up among people so much rooted in the old that the way they told Grimm's fairy tales to me as a child I thought these
tales were all real, all took place behind our house.
There was no way one could grow up where I did and not be filled with yearning, and with beauty, no way as to not become
an artist's soul.
In olden times, the county of Thuringia had been poor, and they made toys from the wood of the forest. This was may be the
only "industry" there was.
When I was accepted into art school, I studied Toy Design.
Burg Giebichenstein University of Art and Design, in Halle. So called, "the Burg", the castle. The art school that was said to
continue the legacy of Bauhaus.
But before I could finish, I fell in love. I was full of yearning for the world.
West Germany bored me out of my brains.
I missed the smell of petrol from the Soviet tank caravans in East German streets. I missed the weeds in the cracks of the houses.
The cats wore collars and ate food out of cans. Even the full moon was clean.
I hitchhiked on my own. When before, there had been Sochi and Yerevan and Sofia and Budapest, now there was Paris and
London and Holland and Greece. I now had a passport, and the world was mine.
I studied Visual Communication, at Comprehensive University of Kassel, and every day I hitchhiked to school.
And then I came to New York. I had to. There was no way that someone like me would not end up in New York.
I knew it, when I first came here: I was home.
Parsons School of Design. BFA in illustration. My childhood dream.
Since then, I'm an illustrator. An illustrator of faces, and ornaments, and world cultures.
And The Wall came down.
And my dreams kept expanding.
When I traveled to the island of Sado-ga-shima in Japan I found, between lines of drying kelp, houses that were built in just
the way I knew: of wooden beams, and in between mud mixed with straw. There were frogs croaking in the fresh-green rice
fields of spring, and Shinto shrines with heavy eaves among pink cherry trees. The air still chilly. Muddy children's rubber boots
in front of the entrance of one house.
And once again I knew: I'm home.
Will there ever be enough time to tell all the stories, to illustrate all the books I have in me?
In 2015, the river of life took yet another wild turn and brought me to the shores of a small, German town.
So I'm still full of yearning...