Welcome to another Paper Traders Member Spotlight.
This month we are shining the light on:
How did you find Paper Traders?
I had met the three sisters who founded this group in another Yahoo group. We had traded ATCs there, and they liked mine, so they invited me when they founded this group.
How long have you been a member?
I joined in November 2005, so I'm here for almost 8 years.
Where do you live?
I live in Münster, Germany. It's a middle sized town (300.000 inhabitants) between Hamburg and Cologne in the North-West of Germany, near the Dutch border. I came to Münster to study at the university when I was 19, and now I'm stuck here for 30 years ;-) Well, it's a really nice place to live.
How have your surroundings affected your art?
They probably give me the opportunity to create: I need inspirational input from museums, libraries, concerts, theatre, a zoo, cinemas and so on, and as a university town, Münster has all these, but is also a quiet place with more bikes than cars.
Please share a little about your own art experience.
I've always been creative. As a child, I drew and learned as many art techniques as I could find in books. As a teenager, I wrote stories and poems and knitted all my self-designed sweaters. While studying in Münster, I had a job in a shop for buttons, yarns, and beads for 1 1/2 years where I learned some beadworking techniques and could help our customers with their knitting problems. In 1999 I started stamping and never stopped doing it - I just combined it with more and more mixed-media techniques over the years. A few years ago I also started learning Photoshop and am still learning every day - digital collages have become a clean alternative to my usual messy artwork. I can do it on my desk in my living room while I have to sit at my kitchen table when it gets messy ...
What are some of your favorite techniques or genres?
I love doing collages of any kind - including stamping, sewing, digital collages or assemblages. I just like to put stuff together that looks like it needs a new life.
What inspires you?
Music and books, and of course other artists' work. Most of my pieces start with a few words that are going around in my brain, others just come together because there are leftovers from finished projects on my table that build up their own story while I collage them, and in the end you'll probably find words on that piece again ...
Who are some famous artists whose work you admire and what especially appeals to you about this?
While I only admire some artists like Dürer, van Eyck, and Rogier van der Weyden, but can't learn anything from these heroes, there are others whose art has been more similar to what I'm doing - just MUCH better. That's why I love Max Ernst's artwork though I'm not a big fan of surrealism. But he has started with DADA art which has been the beginning of mail art, then he invented some great art techniques like frottage and grattage, and he made the most fabulous collages from old book illustrations that I've ever seen. Of course he's been a great painter and sculptor, too, but I prefer his paper work and especially his cut and paste art.
Describe your work area... Do you have your own studio or craft room?
I live in a very small one room flat, and as I have to sleep in my living room, I have to create at my kitchen table. As I also like to cook, my kitchen is always a mess, and the only good thing is that I don't have guests often ... when I have guests, it takes several hours to put away my messy stuff so that my guests dare to eat what comes out of my messy kitchen. I'd love to have more space, but I can't afford a bigger flat. I already spend one half of my income to pay the one I have.
What tips or tricks have you found to help carve out a niche for your supplies and art?
Well, I wouldn't call it a trick: I just put my art stuff everywhere and don't have guests anymore ;-) And instead of cleaning, I often sit down and rather make a mess.
Please share a little about your family and pets...
Apart from the family I was born in, I don't have a family and no pets either. I've had several long-time partners but am a single now for many years.
If you'd like, please share a little about your childhood, where you grew up, and when your creativity began.
I was born in Cologne, a much bigger city than Münster (1.000.000 inhabitants). I had two sisters and a brother, all much older than me. When I was 9 years old, we moved to Bremen (600.000 inhabitants) where I finished school before I moved to Münster at the age of 19. My father (who died when I was 21) liked drawing and was quite gifted, but it wasn't before he lost his night sleep because of lung cancer that he started painting with watercolours. During his last years, he sat there all night in our living room with a daylight lamp, painting to forget his pain. I've been the happy receiver of his watercolour box and still use it.
Do you have any other hobbies or interests?
More often than doing art, you'll find me reading what is called "a good book". In fact I never leave my home without a book, and there isn't one day that I'm not reading. When I don't read novels or poetry, I choose books about art or history. I also like to knit but don't do it as intensely as when I was 17; nowadays I mostly knit socks which gives me the feeling that watching TV isn't that useless because I can knit while watching a film or series. I also like playing games of any kind, from computer or card or board games to having fun with my pub quiz team.