Although I have loved and cared for animals my entire life, it was only when I was breastfeeding my newborn son that I really made the connection between the delicious cheese on my pizza to the grieving cow and calf it was stolen from. Still, I kept eating it. Old habits die hard and I really did love pizza. And yellow cheese. And omelets. At some point I finally realized that no taste in the world was worth the unbelievable cruelty in which animals are treated in the food industry, and that this exploitation goes far beyond food.


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I started to read about it and learned that the human body can live perfectly well on a balanced plant based diet, certainly in first world countries. Since I couldn’t find any moral excuses for living the way I did, I became a vegan. I then realized that many of my paintings and drawings were vegan before I was, asking questions about various forms of relationships between people and animals, some based on violence and exploitation, others on compassion and love.

A few years ago an art critic, when writing about my recent solo show, wondered whether these paintings were art in the service of veganism. At the time I was a bit offended by this remark but today I would’ve had no problem with this interpretation. Ethics and aesthetics in art don’t necessarily contradict and there are numerous examples for this in art history and literature. Questioning common conceptions and beliefs is part of what art does. And should do. If viewing my work would make someone wonder what the elephant they rode on their trip to Thailand went through, and would make them ask questions about their responsibility as a customer, it would make me very happy.

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It Could Never Happen Here

2010, oil on treated wood, 200×200 cm.

Gantenbein

2010, oil on treated wood, 18×28 cm.

The Bird

2012, pencil on paper, 21×30 cm.

Astroland II

The nature of the relationship between these men and their rabbit pets is vague: the rabbits seem tense and it is not clear whether these men are the rabbits’ devoted caretakers or quite the opposite: their prison guards.
Astroland II, 2010, oil on canvas, 100×135 cm.

Astroland I

2010, oil on canvas, 135×100 cm.

The Loved Ones

The loved ones are really the ones no one loves. We do not care who they were, what they felt or how they ended up in glass jars. The only Justification for their existence is the purpose they serve for us, be it teaching aids or artifacts, They are not “someone”, they are “something”.

Bird In Hand

2013, pencil on paper, 20×30 cm.

Handful

2014, pencil on paper, 25×25 cm.

The Birthday Of The Infanta I

2010, oil on treated wood, 50×30 cm.

The Birthday Of The Infanta II

2010, oil on treated wood, 50×30 cm.

The Birthday Of The Infanta III

The Birthday of the Infanta series is named after a short story by Oscar Wilde and based on old soviet circus photographs. The animal here is stripped from its dignity and its basic right to be what it is, an animal, living the life nature intended for it. Instead it is forced to preform unnatural acts, serving as a prop, an object for human entertainment, ridiculous and sad.

The Beast

This young girl is me and this empty eyed bear is dead and stuffed. He was hunted down for tourists like me to hug and take my photo with. It took me years to realize that a hug can be an empty gesture.

The Dog

The dog, 2012 pencil on paper 32×25 cm.