I was born in Maine to German parents living in America under the Marshall plan. In 1973, my family moved to Iran, which we fled during the revolution in 1979. Back in Germany, I studied painting at the University of Arts in Berlin from 1986-1989. I dropped out and travelled the world as a street musician and performance artist. In 1991, I picked up my brushes again and started organizing art shows wherever I travelled. 1995 I moved to New York. In 2000, I opened a restaurant to showcase my work in Brooklyn. In 2005, I started to narrow down my color spectrum to teal, white, black and rust. In 2009 I reintroduced collage and this element created a real conversation that keeps evolving.
Artist Statement: PAINT, RUST, COLLAGE, GLAZE
I start the painting with a narrow color spectrum: teal, black white and a grey iron oxide. This spectrum shifts the moment I oxidize the finished work: the grey turns into rich orange brown tones I have no control of and spill into the other colors, pushing the blue towards green and staining the white as well as the black. This blue/green spectrum is where I am slightly color blind too: the aqua/teal is right on that blue/green cusp I am “impaired” or as I feel “empowered” with an unusual perspective and as I later found out close to the spectrum by which some severely color blind people see.
Once rusted I collage or better “retro-collage” the work by bringing bits and pieces of the original image pushed in colors. It is daunting to cover up one’s own hard earned strokes, but the conversation between the collage and the painting is too irresistible to stop. Then I glaze lightly with oil to bring back the overall contrast of lights and shadows.
My paintings are a “quilted” Americana: though figurative, I discreetly bring in abstract shapes without interrupting the figurative work – taking place with patches of collage. From a distance they may reminisce of “crazy quilts” or Gee’s Bend quilts, close up though they are clearly figurative.