Surely you’ve recognized it long ago: My logo consists of a version of the San Francisco skyline painted in oil. But what does San Francisco have to do with me and my art? First of all, there is the biographical explanation: I lived in San Francisco from 1996-1999 and traveled there several times for shorter or longer periods before and after. Well … actually I lived in the East Bay in Oakland and taught German there as a lecturer and German House Director at Mills College . But for me, Oakland and San Francisco felt closely linked and comparable to my current situation: living far out in Cologne on the right bank of the Rhine combined with the shopping and leisure opportunities in the city center on the left bank of the Rhine.
For me, the city also has a symbolic meaning. On the one hand, it stands for the great adventure that I was always looking for as a young person and that I assumed to be far from home. It stands for the possibility of realizing a big dream, even if you have to leave a lot behind for it. It stands for the belief in your own path and the strength to go it. On the other hand, San Francisco also symbolizes an incredible variety and diversity of all facets of possible ways of life – ethnic, cultural, socio-cultural, sexual, religious, … – and above all their coexistence in peace and freedom. And here the circle closes: When I think of San Francisco, I think first and foremost of the people I saw, got to know and came to love there.
If I look at my previous catalog raisonné, there are actually already 33 (sometimes several times) painted people that I have seen in San Francisco, 6 of whom I know personally. I have already made a complete San Francisco series of 10 works twice: in 2011 and 2015. In addition, I have painted the skyline three times. A large part of my artistic motivation comes from my experience in San Francisco in the 90s. And for me personally, San Francisco is ultimately a symbol of peace in the world despite all the differences. This may seem romanticizing to some and the city may be very different today – but this thought gives me strength.
THE STORY BEHIND THE SUMMER ART LOGO
You have certainly noticed that my logo shows the skyline of San Francisco painted in oil. But where is the connection between San Francisco and my art? First, there is a simple explanation in my bio: I lived in San Francisco from 1996-1999 and I traveled there several times before and after those years for shorter or longer periods of time. Well… actually I lived on campus at Mills College in the East Bay in Oakland, where I was working as a lecturer for German and as German House director. But to me, Oakland and San Francisco just felt as parts of the same story. Nowadays I feel very much reminded of this situation as I live in the far east of the city of Cologne – “on the wrong side” of the river Rhine as people say here – but spend a lot of time downtown as well shopping or partying on the other side.
Apart from that, however, San Francisco has a symbolic meaning to me. On the one hand, it stands for the great adventure that I was seeking as a young adult and that I supposed to be located far away from home. It stands for the possibility to make a big dream come true even if you have to leave behind other beloved things or people. It stands for believing in your own way and trusting in your inner power to walk it. On the other hand, San Francisco is an incredible melting pot of diversity and all kinds of ways of living – ethnically, culturally, socioculturally, sexually, religiously, … And here the wheel turns full circle: when I think of San Francisco, above all , I think of all the people that I saw, met, and loved. And in my imagination,
Looking back at my so far completed body of work, you can actually find 33 portraits of people I saw in San Francisco, six of which I personally know. Some of them I have even painted twice. And twice already I completed a full series of San Francisco paintings. 2011 and 2015, each one comprising 10 artworks. Furthermore I have painted the San Francisco skyline 3 times. A large part of my artistic motivation originates from my experience in San Francisco in the 90s. To me, this city and its people, the liberty and peace loving co-existence of all these individuals despite all their differences, can also symbolically be seen as a role model for the global peace of the world. You may call me an unrealistic dreamer now and the city may be completely different today – but I find power and comfort in these thoughts.