I grew up in a very small, isolated farming village in Switzerland. From a very young age my life was centered around working on our farm. At sixteen I moved into Bern, received a standard business education, and began working as a telephone operator and then as a wholesale buyer. At age twenty-five I travelled to the States. When I arrived in Berkeley I met a group of people who were very active in the East Bay arts community. For the first time an arts-related career seemed to be a possibility. Within a year of arriving in California I had secured an apprenticeship with a goldsmith and soon after began working as a full-time goldsmith and jeweler.
In 1987 I began to draw, and some time later I was given an old easel and a decrepit paint box still containing paint, brushes and mediums. This gift was the beginning of a transformed life, as if that very box were a magical vessel in which to travel. To this day it holds my curiosity, and with it I discover something new almost every day-I only have to open it!
I often change medium and scale in my work so as to retain a creative tension. I will move through a period of intense printing to months of painting. At times I put down those tools and use only stick and ink. Throughout all my work, whether I am working meticulously on a small-scale series of paintings and prints or with broad, quick gestural drawings, I am pulling from visions which I now realize were initially generated from life in a physically and mentally isolated landscape.
The first glimpse of a new piece enters my mind in moments of wandering thought and often begins as a simple, gestural sketch. The images evolve from these dreams into stage-like settings, part storyteller’s fairy tale, part real-time tale of daily survival. I focus on the forces beneath the surface-the dread, the frenzy, isolation, fear, separation, love, intimacy, hope, humor, whimsy. The setting down of these imaginations is both a sifting through and a building of a visual diction, setting one piece upon another as one would set down one word after another in a narrative. In this way the work becomes a vessel for transformation, a new way to begin.