My Chalk Artist History
I am born in a little city near Düsseldorf, called Rheinhausen. My education was very multifarious, first I finished successfully the High School, afterwards I studied at a trading school, later I made degrees as a gardener and Yoga-Teacher, and worked in several jobs. Always I was accompanied by art, my father was my first teacher, and afterwards a famous artists in our area, called Anton Scharf. So after a long Odyssee I was finally so lucky to get the chance to make my passion to my profession. With streetpainting I made my first contact at our streetpainting festival in a town called Geldern. First I took part for fun, but then very fast I won several prices and meanwhile I am part of the masterclass. My motivation was rising, because I won several other competitions, for example Bodenwerder and Neustadt, Italy. I started with classical 2d paintings, but nowadays most of the time I have to realize 3d paintings, because they are mostly requested. I work alone or together with my partner Gregor Wosik, who has a faible for XXl 3d paintings, so we both were part of several world records,
starting 2009 in Rijssen, with 750 m² and ending in Venice with 2000 m². In 2017 we made 1 600 m² as a part of the festival in Wilhemshaven, without planning before.
I love to streepaint for several reasons, first reason is, I just love to paint, but on the other hand I love the nature and stay outside, and this two preferences are perfectly combined in streetpainting. Meanwhile I had several events in the woods, so those for me are the greatest highlights.
Second reason is, to be a streetartist gives me a lot of freedom, and space for adventure and new experiences. The new developement, that streetartists often are booked by shopping center was not my intention for life. However, sometimes you have to swallow the bitter pill –because these jobs are paied well, and the money can gives you the freedom, to do what you want , and to paint what you want afterwards.
Plus the shopping center have a little advantage, the independence of the weather and the smooth surface gives you more chance to paint a detailed and beautiful picture.
The third reason is, when I am painting on the street, I get most of the time a lot of positive feedback of the audience, what pushes you, to give your best. If I am painting alone in my studio, --seeing the sun shining outside and hear the birds singing, it is a lot more difficult to motivate myself. And when I finish the picture, may be nobody will ever see it. Only when I take the effort and organize an exhibition, make adverisement and invite people. So it is much more easy on the street, I have my exhibition at once. Even people who usually would not visit galleries, are running in my pictures. It is such a good compliment, when you get a „whow“ not only from elderly, well educated persons, but also for example, from a gang of bubbeling
This is a forth good reason: At this point I have to interpolate, that streetartist are often appointed as „no real artists“ by „real artists“---the defenition for real artists is, people , who studied art at the university. So, for me it is no problem , to entitle myself only „Artisan“ . --- But , notice, when I am for example painting a beautiful Jesus in front of the Cathedral in Cologne, I have very soon a crowd around me, discussing about religion. There you can see Moslems, Jews, Christian people staying toghether and discussing about religion and other themes in a friendly way. I had refugees talking to right wing people, I had an old woman with tears in her eyes, because of the touching Jesus picture, and a young Iranian boy hugging her for comfort. These examples go on and on . And I heard the rumour, this is supposed to be the aim of Art: to inspire people to think, to talk to each other, to find new ideas.
Chalk Art is a bond between all the generations and all human races. They just need eyes to see and a heart to feel.
And this is even topped by 3d paintings: For interactive part people get so involved, that you see no difference in behaviour between old and young, or member of any country. (ok, the asian people are more fast with the camera) Everybody forgets his background and tries to pose in a good position on my picture.
So, my career is on a good way , nowadays, but not only , because I am able to paint in a way , people like ---that I could do always. In former times, I heard very often, specially elderly people , coming to my picture, with the sentence: „And who is ever going to clean this scrawl??“ Often very aggressive, and I hade to cope with the police and the regulatory authority. Edgar Müller was the first intiator in Germany , who tried to change this situation , to show, that we are no alcoholics begging on the street, but good, well educated artists. Edgar was the first chalk artist in Germany, who made himself a homepage in internet, and helped other people, for example me, to cope with the difficulties of the computer world, and he also created my homepage. So step by step we could improve our image. I remember my first paid job, I got in Arcen, also with the help of Edgar Müller.
Also Edgar Müller, Roland Josutties , Manfred Stader and Lisa Schöler in Germany started to explore the new trend , created from Kurt Wenner in Italy and Julian Beever in England ---the chalk painting in anamorphic form. This later called „3d streetpainting“ made a very big step in our profession. It became very modern, and suddenly we were no longer poor pavement artists, but famous „streetartists“—which is still very trendy.
We are no longer asked, please, can you paint a picture on the street , but for example „ please, can you add a floor-graphic on our location?“ –in Germany (!) –because the english words sound more high-class in Germany.
Another push our art got with the invention of facebook ---love it or hate it, for our profession it was like gold. Not only, that we were able to show our art to many more people , -so facebook is a great advertisement platform – but may be even more important, it allows us to keep contact to all our friends immediately. You can learn from the other artists, and the developement of quality of our paintings is very fast now. Plus streetartists around the world see each other not only on festivals, but can keep in steady contact through facebook. Our bond is very strong, so we see ourselves as a „streetpainting family“ . In the family are artists from many, many countries from Australia, Europe , Asia , South and North America. Moslems, Christian people and Jewish. From Dubai, Marocco , Ukraine , Russian, Japan. Our newest member is a Syrian refugee. It helps, to speak english, but the chalk art is an international language.
So, the last years I was very busy, and got many work for brandings, festivals, social stuff. Alone , or together with Gregor Wosik, or sometimes in bigger, flexible groups. I am very happy, that we have a break in winter time, because I defenately need this break. My wish for the future is, that I get offered more murals, because I even prefere mural painting, but we cannot find many walls.
More information you can find on my homepage, www.strassenmaler-workshops.de, or my facebook Artistpage,