How to lay a golden egg

people often ask me how I create ideas for my paintings. The truth is, there's many different ways, and they all play together, until I come to a story and the actual visual picture. Often one leads to another, and each painting is a journey. So ideas come from many different roads, but where there's junctions and crossings between ideas, that's where they become more interesting.





  1. my favourite idea source, is what I call the gap. Or the void. It is the space, where you don't know or you don't understand. Something you don't know. This can be big things or very little things. I will give some examples: In China, you can see people walking backwards. Wondering why people would walk backwards (even in groups, chatting with each other) the answer is, that somehow they become younger and live longer. As if the mileometer would go down if you drive a car backwards. Going back in time. Sounds funny. So here, we have something I don't understand, and which makes me think. How would this work? How far do you have to walk backwards every day? How much could we slow down ageing, and why is not everyone doing it? Do we gain five minutes, if we walk five minutes backwards, or a whole day? If I need to walk backwards for 5 minutes to gain 5 minutes, that would be pointless, right? So I am building a bridge between what is apparently true or known, and the unknown. Children are so good in making up solutions for what they don't under stand. The mind doesn't like gaps. So it fills them up. Or it builds a bridge. In my painting “goodbye gardener” there's a boat with feet. In primary school, a friend of mine believed all ships and boats cross the ocean by walking on the seabed. The gardener in the painting is watering lotus flowers which they grow under water, it seems like a useless waste of time. Like in “Alice's adventures in wonderland” when the gardeners paint the white roses red. When I was working in an office, I often thought of this scene in Alice.

    Other questions or sources are riddles, myths and fiction. The birthday paradox, what happened to flight MH370 or what will happen tomorrow?


  2. Dreams. Dreams are a great source for paintings. I dream very hard. If you don't remember your dreams, sleep more. I found also I dream more intense if it's too warm. This might not be the most recreational sleep, so make sure you get enough deep sleep, too. Once I read something about followers of Asclepius in ancient Greece went to a temple to sleep with snakes under their bed to induce a more dreamful sleep.



  3. Finding analogies to legends, fairy tales and mythology or even recent films and TV shows and songs. Who in your life would be the evil queen? Who would be the frog or Aphrodite, giving difficult tasks to Psyche, where is the black smoke monster? This is a great exercise when you are waiting for something or sitting on a bus.


  4. Yoga. Sometimes when your mind is stiff, it's good to move the body first. The mind will follow. Being upside down, twisting and moving your body into new directions helps to stretch your mind too. Just do it.


  5. Be curious. Recently I saw a painting with a dinghy and in the water were some tadpoles. The German word for tadpole is Kaulquappe, and I didn't know the word Kaul neither Quappe. So I asked the people I was with, for the words in their language. I think it's a funny word in most languages. It's a Rumpetroll in Norwegian, головастик (govolastik) in Russian or têtard in French. They all describe a tadpole in a slightly different way. In Russian I was told it means a person with a big head. In German it is a slimy and wobbly round lump. I like the person one, and going deeper into this, you can find analogy to homunculus. So now I am reading about beliefs about homunculus and alchemy. I don't know if it leads me to a new painting, but I believe it will.

Finally it's good to merge all these ideas and give them some time to breed. An then eventually you find yourself sitting on a golden egg.