We often hear the stories of people facing worst crisis of their life and the very crisis bringing best turning point in their life. Personally, I have had no dreams or plan to become an artist at all. I used art to heal myself from the trauma that I was facing in personal life. But that very life threating crisis led me to hear the heart ́s true calling and turned me into an artist. I have met few people in my life who emerged out of their own life-threatening crisis and ended up changing their life for the best.
Recently I encountered one of such persons who is a shy and quite natured, but who beat the crisis of his life and carved himself as a fine abstract expressionist painter. Let me, here, introduce you - Tobias Ziegler (43), a native of Gelnhausen and a resident of Koblenz (Germany).
Like me, Tobias too had no dreams of becoming an artist as he considered himself not an artistic talent. However, he channelled his creativity by learning to play guitar in his teens. As he was learning and playing guitar dreams of becoming a musician (not painter) and be a part of a music band persistently came to his mind. However, the very dream remained as his hobby that he could only enjoy with his friends or family.
But at the age of 23 Tobias suddenly took-up painting without any purpose. He felt it was just natural to paint as he already plays guitar. Same time he developed an interest not to just listen to music or look at paintings, rather become a creator himself. And painting came in handy as it was easy to create unlike music. At that time internet wasn't what it is today, so he tried to read and understand every art book he came across. So, he tried studying Picasso, Matisse, Van Gogh, the German expressionistic movement, and so on. He started to study their paintings and style by recreating them. It was his way of teaching himself art and art history.
As the time passed by Tobias started painting more and more. In the beginning he was pretty clueless which way to go? What direction to take? However, consistent practice and discipline helped him, eventually, to develope his own style of painting where he has arrived today.
From other hand Tobias liked partying and have fun every day. That very aspect of his personal life led to drinking habit. At the age of 30 life gradually started moving downside. He started facing frequent depression and the worst is he developed health threatening serious addiction. As a result, he lost focus on life as well as on art, and lived few dark years of his life.
However, in 2019 he managed to overcome his addiction after going through few repeated cycles of therapies and relapses. When he came back home from rehabilitation, his best friend reminded him of bringing alive the artist inside him. And to do so she advised him to take up the brushes again. First, he resisted. But when she strongly insisted on her vision for him, he gave up his resistance and started painting again.
From that day on, Tobias worked consistently and passionately, more than ever before. He had to go through lot in life and those experiences were deep within eventually started finding their way and wings into his own creative world. Quickly he discovered hard edge painting is for him and it was clear that this was the way he would go which he does even today.
Sometimes he thought, to be an artist is something to do with genetics. His both grandparents and two of uncles were painters. That made him realise it is natural for him to express something artistical. In the past he was pretty intimidated by the word ‘Artist’. He used to wonder how dare he can call himself an artist. But today he made peace with himself and enjoys wholeheartedly being an artist.
Tobias, normally, paints with no preconceived notions or ideas in mind. Instead, he follows spontaneity and intuitiveness. Instead of thinking and deliberating with himself he simply follows his feelings and expresses his abstract moments of being here and now.
What fascinates Tobias is Physics. He is attracted to the power of gravity which also inspires him. “Most of the time we don't think about it, but it keeps everything together and keeps the universe going the way it does. All our paintings are based on our experience with 1 g gravity,” he explains about his source of inspiration to create. At the same time, he finds it even spiritual and philosophical to express through paintings. Therefore, he likes to create abstract works so that he is not expected to follow the subject matter where he will be constrained to express.
Historically artists, philosophers and religious masters etc used geometric patterns to express their inner visions. Tobias found his ways through geometric shapes and forms that are part of physics. He consistently expressed himself with simple shapes and created wonderfully composed paintings with simple composition that one can meditate with and explore the mystery or mysticism. When I watched them with beginner’s mind, I felt they touched my inner child. That was the power Tobias's painting had on me.
In fact, it was the best decision he ever made in life to take up the brush and paint after the deepest crisis time of life and evolve out of it as refined new being. A new creative being who is free and healthy!
(Copyright 2021, Deviprasad C Rao. Author is an Artist, Curator, Writer & Artist Facilitator. Founder of Devamitra Artists Collective based in Zurich, Switzerland. He can be reached through his website www.deviprasad.com)