A PASSION FOR WALLS
I began painting murals in Berlin in 1992, shortly after I arrived there. Purely for fun, I copied classical and modern figures from books, comics and magazines onto the walls of the places I lived. The first was an Asterix and Obelix scene, life-sized, as they beat up some silly Romans on the wood-chip wallpaper of my living room at Lychener Strasse 50. This lead me to decorating other people's homes, and then bars, restaurants, facades and so on. I taught myself to paint anything a client might wish for. But most rewarding, regardless of style or technique, was having a free hand to design and paint what I myself might wish for; with the client's approval of course. Over 20 years later, I am just as passionate. The only thing that has changed is that I refuse to paint on wood-chip wallpaper. My advice to anyone wishing to decorate rooms which has almost any kind of wallpaper on the walls, is to strip it off! Start right away. Yes, it's a lot of work, dirty and possibly smelly for a little while. But I can help you even with that. Because going back through the layers to find what's underneath is one of the things I enjoy most. A journey back in time, of discovery (I often won't attempt to design a thing until I've seen the walls in the flesh), of deconstruction and then recreation. The result is worth working for. Unique and beautiful walls which will change that room for a long time to come - and touch the lives within it.
Restaurant Goa (foyer) in Mitte, Berlin, circa 1997
Work on Restaurant Goa, positioned on a prominent corner opposite the Tacheles art house, at the height of the Berlin boom. Throughout the restaurant and bar I scratched away plaster and sanded away at every square inch of the newly reconstructed walls, adding earth pigments, especially gold ochre, coloured and clear oils, finally going over surfaces with bees wax. This was followed by a lot of fine sanding and polishing. There is nothing like the feel of a naturally weathered - or as close as it gets - oiled or waxed wall. Warmth and history shine through. Gold leaf was added to ornaments, metallic effects added to counters, woodwork was sanded and stained freely, almost randomly. The result is casual and rustic, but also luxurious. In this case at no great cost to the owners, who could only benefit as their customers praised the quality, quirkiness and originality of another hit location.