I’ve been interviewed about my artistic journey by Alpacawhal.
Puzzle1 // Growing up
Although I usually don’t think too much about the meaning, when I create an artwork, I will do my best to share a few thoughts about the different puzzle-pieces of my AsyncArt work “Mind Puzzle” and what they mean to me. Hope you enjoy!
This quote by French avant-garde Dada artist Francis Picabia has always been very important to me. Especially as I grew up in a Christian sect, where everything was extremely regulated and the world was divided into right and wrong, good and evil, chosen and damned.
From the description of the Puzzle layer you can see, that there is a face (probably a self-portrait) in a transparent box.
A head in a transparent box from which a plant with beautiful flowers grows. Next to it a foot that breaks out of the rigid structure. Where does it go?
It needed some art, namely the literature works by Hermann Hesse to plant a seed of doubt in my head. Something, that slowly started to grow and similar to a grassroots revolution gave me confidence to start to think outside the box of my cage of belief.
When I drew the original sketch of the Mind Puzzle, I had already left my parent’s home and the world of faith of my childhood and youth for two years and was hungry to discover the world. I was eager to find and follow my own path and a few beautiful thoughts should blossom in the process.
Please visit the AsyncArt website, if you’re interested in owning this layer.
Like every layer, it has the ability to change hue and display outlines only (as a reference to the original drawing).
Mind Puzzle2 // Who is Who?
It definitely makes sense to me, that the second part of the MindPuzzle deals with my relation to the opposite sex, which has been quite complicated during my youth.
While it was forbidden for religious reasons to have a relationship with girls (no sex before marriage), my instincts told me something completely different. So it was no wonder that sexual attraction became one of the main drives to detach myself from the world view of my parents.
So it happened that on the one hand I had a platonic love-hate relationship with a school friend for many years, but on the other hand I threw myself with full force into a relationship with a nymphomaniac, who was eventually to become my first wife at the age of 21.
I see myself as the figure in the middle of the two girls. Both are living in their own context. While the left one looks much more detailed and complicated, the setting has something of a holidays-beach scene. There are some sun-rays in a checkboxed heaven. To the very left there are two long legs walking in my direction. Bright yellow arrows are pointing in my direction, but are distracted by a beach ball and finally bounce off my shoulder.
The girl on the right side is supported by a male figure, which sends out a water-skiing lizard pulled by a speed-boat. Although I had no idea, what that means when I made the drawing, it’s interesting to know, what the lizard stands for:
In the Indian cultures, the lizard is regarded as light-bringer and messenger of father sun. It watches over the power of dreams and promises happiness and blessings.
In China lizards have a similar positive meaning as dragons. Thus the lizard teaches how to bring security, happiness, blessing and warmth into life permanently.
So I guess, it was the promise of luck and happiness, that my future self was trying to channel to me. The woman on the right offered everything, I was always looking for. So there was no time to loose.
Layer already sold
I’m super happy, that the Puzzle2 layer has already been acquired by another great artist, who gave me a lot of positive feedback, after I had published the “Mind Puzzle”.
Puzzle3 // The Knight of the Frog
The frog is a symbol of change and transformation, as his life-cycle starts in the water and goes through many different states until he’s finally grown up and able to jump around on land. You may notice, that the frog in my layer also transforms into some sort of friendly monster with teeth in the lower part of his face.
In the German tale “The Frog King” an ugly old frog turned into a king’s son. It teaches us, that the appearance of someone can deceive us about the true inner values of a person.
The cat is known for being a great hunter, using not only force but also a fine sense of timing at the moment of attack. It seems to follow its prey and can wait patiently and position itself until it catches it.
Figuratively speaking, this means that problems are handled with patience, self-confidence and a good sense of the timing of the actions.
Orange slices turning into a crossed house
This is similar to the proverbial phrase: “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade” – Lemons suggest sourness or difficulty in life; making lemonade is turning them into something positive or desirable. The crossed house puzzle is a simple challenge to draw a house without going over any of the lines twice.
“By the Late Middle Ages, the rank had become associated with the ideals of chivalry, a code of conduct for the perfect courtly Christian warrior. Often, a knight was a vassal who served as an elite fighter, a bodyguard or a mercenary for a lord, with payment in the form of land holdings.”
I see myself being the knight in this puzzle-piece. I lean very relaxed on the shield with the frog symbol. I’ve already gone through various transformations in my life and I don’t care, what people think about me.
The cat gives me ability to stay calm, observe and then act when the time is right.
Even if I face difficulties , I use my crativity and cleverness to solve the puzzle and build my very own construct.
During the time of the creation of the original drawing, I had already put my studies (computer science and art) on hold and started my alternative service to care for severely disabled people.
At this time my world view exploded, I was incredibly creative and finally lived with my later first wife. I had a dormitory room, enough money and a meaningful occupation that left me enough time for myself.
Layer already sold
Puzzle4 // The Dancer
Music was my first love and besides listening to it all the time and preparing to become a DJ, I was also going to clubs and danced my ass off on the dance-floor several times a week. It was a perfect way to express my emotions and transform the energy of the sound into movement.
Although the dancer in this puzzle-piece isn’t actually dancing, her dress and the nearby mandolin clearly tells me, that it is a dancer just before the music starts. Eventually she’s made a short break, but the bird in front of her, who’s grabbing her neck, wants to make her dance.
Above quote by German dancer and choreographer Pina Bausch, who was an internationally recognized icon of Modern Dance and founder of “Tanztheater Wuppertal” company in a neighboring town of the place where I grew up, puts it in a nutshell.
I always wanted to learn to play an instrument, but my father was against it. I still was able to get myself a saxophone and a cheap guitar and played them in my very own (dadaistic) style. Most noticeable I have interpreted two poems by Dadaist Richard Huelsenbeck, which you can still find on soundcloud.
Not sure, if everybody sees it that way, but for me it could be a falcon. Like other birds, the falcon stands for the Higher Self and the connection with the spiritual world. The falcon’s alignment with solar energy brings fiery power to the equation. Falcon asks: What is your passion?
He makes you aware of your own potential, represents victory as well as overcoming (but not without having a strategy). He can also carry the message of mindfulness. If you get too close to a situation, step back and rise above it!
Do you see the deer behind the mandolin? It has the ability to move quickly and to trust his instincts to get out of the trickiest situations. It also means being highly sensitive and having a strong intuition.
It has mastered the art of approaching things with determination and gentleness.
There is a small fish between the dancer and the mandolin. It’s a symbol of fertility and in China the fish is a symbol for luck, wealth and good harvest.
Sometimes it also refers to the inspiring and nourishing function of the unconscious.
Well, so much into this. My love for music and dancing had helped me to keep moving, find my passion, meet people, that shared the love and to create art.
I even met my second wife on the dance-floor and we’ve been married for almost 10 years now. I later was able to work as a DJ for a short time, which was on my todo list for this life.
Hopefully you can relate to one or the other part of this puzzle-piece.
Although already sold, you can always place a bid. Check it out here!
Puzzle5 // Skeleton, Eyes and a Fish
A figure looking down. Its body is shaped like a shield and you can see the skeleton. Next to it another figure with a small face and a semi-transparent body.
The longer I look at this puzzle-piece, the more I have the impression that it could also show a tandem on which the two figures are sitting one behind the other.
The rider’s body is shaped like a shield and the fact that you can see the skeleton could mean that he has stripped to the bone to protect his fellow rider. The latter ducks in the rider’s slipstream and his body is about to almost dissolve.
Underneath a glowing halo of rays, which could also be a pupil or a wheel.
It could actually be the front tire of the tandem or a magic pill, while the eye of the fish might also be the back tire of the bicycle.
On the right side a kind of predatory fish with a large glowing eye.
More on this in the backstory.
During the Gulf War, my girlfriend had a horror trip after she had been involved in the peace movement for weeks (without sleeping much). Suddenly she saw demons everywhere and thought the world was coming to an end. As a result, we even took a short trip into my religious past, because my parents’ religion was also convinced that the end of the world was near.
In the end we told ourselves that we wanted to stay together, no matter if the world would end or not. And this thought had given us so much support that we finally decided to get married. I was only 21 and my girlfriend was 19, but we had a very cool hippie-wedding with our best friends.
Riding the same bicycle means, that from now on we would follow the same path, even if it meant dealing with our fears and demons. The fish is also a Christian symbol and the fact that it is a predatory fish in the puzzle-piece reflects all the more the fears that were instilled in us by religious influences and world events. But we wanted to protect and help each other, no matter where the journey would take us.
You can place a bid on the puzzle piece at the AsyncArt website.
Puzzle6 // The Bus of Bygone Love
The Double-Decker Bus
The wreck of a double-decker bus, surrounded by vines. On the lower half it is sprayed with graffiti and meanwhile even a creek has made its way through the discarded vehicle.
The bus actually reminds me of a London style double-decker bus. When you are travelling in such a bus, you’re able to move back&forward, left&right and up&down inside the vehicle. When you move to the upper deck, you have a good overview of the streets and the world looks a bit different. You can meet several different people inside the bus, or you can listen to music or read a book. Despite that, the bus will keep moving to the given destination. You still have the chance to leave the bus at any station, change to another bus or move on walking.
But at the center of the “Mind Puzzle” we have a broken bus, which has been taken out of service and is slowly disintegrating. It hasn’t got tires anymore and instead of moving around the city, the world has started to move around the bus.
There is a pike in the small stream that has made its way through the bus. The surrounding vines have the shape of a cat with her whiskers. The graffiti at the lower part of bus tell of long gone stories.
The bus is a symbol for the particular world view we are currently attached to. Like in a bubble we travel through the world with like-minded people and although we can slightly change our perspective within the world view, we still want to reach a certain goal together.
The broken Heart
Underneath it is an old neon sign in the shape of a heart that has fallen apart. Next to it many old colorful light bulbs.
The broken heart and the lightbulbs remind me of old discarded neon signs or amusement park lights. When you stop moving and fighting to keep love fresh, it freezes and collapses. Everything becomes only a fading memory that is reclaimed and overgrown by the living nature.
My first wife had met a teacher of transcendental meditation inside such a bus and while we started meditating our world-view and our reference group changed heavily. While we moved in a new direction, some of our old friends joined us, while others preferred to continue sitting high in their previous bus instead of joining us on the new journey.
We later moved to a commune and lived there in an old farmhouse right by the river. On the property there were also many rotten old buses, but that’s another story.
The question, this puzzle piece deals with, is if we realize when our vehicle and our companions, that are part of our journey, have lost the drive and their passion and love have dried up. Do we then have the courage to make the right decisions?
Layer already sold
Puzzle7 // The Double Bass Player
I’ve had some of the most exciting times in my personal #cryptoart history during the last few months.
I’ve not only sold all available puzzle-pieces and the master of “Mind Puzzle” (for a total of 7.5 Eth) , but I’ve also made a bunch of sales at Rarible.
It felt a bit like the time of harvesting after I’ve put so much time and energy in my art during the last year.
Much thanks to everybody, who encouraged and supported me by commenting, spotting, collecting and sharing!
You all helped me to make this my most successful #cryptoart work to date.
The Double Bass Player
This is actually a reference to a roommate in my living community, who studied playing the double-bass at the local music college. He generally was a nice guy and I was always fascinated by his instrument. I remember, that we’ve even played a few sessions, after he had listened to my dadaistic sounds (that I’ve already mentioned in Puzzle4 // The Dancer).
I also remember, that he was not only running around the flat with a bare ass at times, but also already had a half-bald head (which almost looks like a third eye in the drawing).
Although he was generally supporting me and even noticed my creative vein, my life was a touch too chaotic during that time. So all the good vibes suddenly disappeared, when I had met my girlfriend, who was not only creative, young and sexy, but also had the habit to tell people, what to do and what not.
The Girl with the Mask
From the description:
His right ear goes over into the head of a woman standing next to the bass player. It looks like she’s wearing a mask that reminds me of “Pussy Riot”. She is also holding up a kind of flag, sewn together from many small pieces.
My new girlfriend was kind of radical and started to tell the double-bass player and my other roommate, that they should stop eating meat and go vegan and things like that. She also had some kind of a Bipolar disorder and the flag, she’s holding, is a reference to this kind of complicated personality.
Personally I was so busy with my own life and with my new love, that I probably had forgotten to care enough for my room and my roommates.
It finally all went down the drain, when my roommates suddenly decided to kick me out. I didn’t even had a new flat or something and was forced to park my few things in the cellar of some friends.
Another friend invited me to live in his dorm room during his summer-travels and from there I was able to start my alternative service (with my own space), that I’ve mentioned in Puzzle3 // The Knight of the Frog.
Layer already sold
The current owner already received a bid of 1 Eth on the puzzle-piece (which is double the amount he picked it up for), but rejected.
I’m super eager to see, which journey all the puzzle pieces will take and where they will end up.
Puzzle8 // The Web
An endlessly interwoven structure reminiscent of a spider’s web. There is a head wearing a hat caught in the middle.
I’m an early adaptor and so I was already dialing up mailboxes with my C64 and my Ascom acoustic coupler in the pre-internet days. Even when I started studying computer science in 1988, the internet was still in its infancy. It should take another 10 years and some massive marketing by AOL, until it was adopted by the masses.
But I knew from the very beginning, that it would be a revolution for humanity like the invention of cars, telephony and television had been before. But I had some friends, that were rather sceptical about the new technology. Their biggest fear was to loose real-life relationships while more and more people started to connect virtually.
On the left side you can see a long leg stretched out of the structure on which a small figure is standing.
While some people had the fear to get caught in the web (the hat stands for being conservative and looking out for squalls), others (like me) saw it as a huge leap for mankind to jump out of their limited world-view and connect with likeminded people around the world.
At the height of the foot you can see an “el” that could stand for both El Niño (unusual ocean currents) and El Dorado (a mythical city of gold).
El Niño (Spanish for “the boy, the child”, here: “the Christ child”) is the name given to the occurrence of unusual, non-cyclical, altered ocean currents in the oceanographic-meteorological system (El Niño-Southern Oscillation, ENSO) of the equatorial Pacific. […] The name is derived from the time of occurrence, namely at Christmas time. It originates from Peruvian fishermen, who feel the effect economically due to the absence of shoals of fish.
El Dorado is also sometimes used as a metaphor to represent an ultimate prize or “Holy Grail” that one might spend one’s life seeking. It could represent true love, heaven, happiness, or success.
The figure standing on the leg looks like a dancing girl for me, that raises her arms because she feels free and can start to express herself in every possible way.
It is facing another figure that looks as if it is being held by paper clips.
The other figure is held by paper clips, which stand for the old analog world. Still uncertain but amazed, she looks at the incredible new possibilities.
The puzzle piece has already found a collector, but you can always make the current owner an offer here.
Puzzle9 // Origin and Destination
It’s time to finish this series of background infos about my “Mind Puzzle” while it has been resold on the secondary market for 5 Eth already (after the initial sale of 3 Eth). I was happy to get to know the new collector a bit and I’ve been absolutely blown away by his enthusiasm regarding my art. I would really like to thank him for his appreciation! But now lets finish this series!
The head from which the whole puzzle seems to have emerged. It looks like the whole structure is resting on it.
I really see this face, which is located at the bottom center of the artwork, as a self-portrait. The whole “Mind Puzzle” seems to evolve from that.
Right next to it a dog or a cat with a long tail that turns around.
While the head usually stands for cognitive thinking, animals represent more like the natural aspect of subconsciousness and feelings. This might be a hint, that not everything in the “Mind Puzzle” actually comes from the mind. It’s more holistic and also includes feelings and dreams, I can express while creating art.
To the right of the head there is a one-eyed figure with its arms spread out. The jacket is printed with crosses, which both symbolize the end and can be interpreted as a series of plus signs.
I interpret this figure as my future self, that spreads his arms to welcome me. The cross can be a symbol for death as well as sign of salvation. It usually expresses the meeting point of different elements or spirits (like heaven-earth). Also as a plus symbol it has the meaning of adding something to your life by all the experiences you make.
There is a small path coming from the face’s eye and leading to this figure. You can also see some sort of a hill and the basic structure of a house to the left and some kind of jungle to the right.
It runs into a kind of jungle, thus completing the circle of the puzzle that began with a plant.
I like the idea, that we’re all running in circles or spirals, that we go back to the place, where we’ve come from (just with a different consciousness). Also some people believe in the idea of a paradise, which is described as a peaceful garden, while others believe humanity evolved from apes once living in the jungle.
Above it a kind of eye is hovering that can stand for both surveillance and enlightenment.
The watching eye is usually a symbol for enlightenment. But in the context of the Illuminati it’s a symbol of conspiracy and only a few insiders, who are controlling the masses. For some people the idea of an all-seeing god seems also be more attractive, than the increasing surveillance in a world dominated by economic interests.
However there might be somebody, who’s watching – at least you’re able to watch yourself being mirrored in this ever changing “Mind Puzzle”.
It has been a great pleasure to share the details of my artwork in this little series. Thanks a lot for reading this far and for your interest in my art!
See you around,