February 26, 2019
There is always a special bond between siblings. While it is not that usual for brother and sister to be talented in the same field, these two have it all over their guts. Jonas and Pixie live their creative lives in Germany separately, but still - they are somewhat alike in their beliefs, life attitude and artistic style. Their dreamy, fantasy artworks show their strong connection as much as every word you will read in the interview below.
Why did you become artists?
Jonas: I can’t remember consciously choosing to become an artist. It is almost as though art chose me. I once read a quote by an artist (I think it was Picasso) that said something along the lines of: „Art is stronger than me, it makes me do its bidding.“ I can only attest to that. The urge to create and let my inner feelings and thoughts become a reality has always been powerful. Had I chosen not to give in to that, I might have become miserable. I am glad I followed my instinct and decided to pursue art full time when I was 20.
What inspires you to create?
Pixie: First of all, I am inspired by nature, our earth, the cosmos. I firmly believe in Mother Nature and her incredible beauty and power! Even as a child I read mainly animal books or watched documentation! I cannot understand that some people can hardly recognize beauty in it and us humans are well on the way to destroy this gem. That makes me very sad! The more I try to reflect through my pictures exactly this sacred aura which surrounds the animals.
Jonas: Most of my art is inspired by emotions, thoughts and spiritual concepts that come to me throughout the day. I am especially fascinated by the interconnectedness of light and dark.
I am sure movies and literature also influence you.
Jonas: Definitely! I am a big fan of fantasy books and movies, such as the Harry Potter series (any of my Instagram-followers can attest to that :D) or the Lord of the Rings. I also love dystopian SciFi, such as the Hunger Games.
I actually love writing stories myself. Publishing my books and making it possible for readers to dive into the worlds I have created, is another dream I am trying to pursue. While art can deliver emotion in a quick, direct manner, stories have the potential of taking someone into a whole imaginative world and conveying complex themes and messages.
Pixie, do you look for the answers in the stars? Because I can see that many of your artworks are devoted to the Zodiac signs.
Pixie: I think I do not look for answers in the stars, but I like to be impressed by them, the Galaxy, this incomprehensible vastness. There are hardly any more exceptional colors and textures that you can see in the evening sky and our galactic expanses! That's very inspiring.
What is the message you want to give with your artworks? In both cases, they are full of symbols and metaphors.
Jonas: I love the theme of guardians, heavenly beings watching over us. I strongly believe in God, and I guess that - through my art - I am trying to express what His presence feels like to me. I choose animals to be the subject of most of my pieces, because (as weird as that sounds) I feel like it is easier for us to relate to them on an emotional level than it is to relate to depictions of humans. Unconsciously, we tend to judge people by their looks; their skin colour, proportions, gender, etc. and that can prevent us from focusing on the essential. It is different with animals. Everyone loves puppies, wolves or lions. They have that inherent appeal of being holy, majestic, heaven-sent beings. We just cannot not love them. I give to my animals slightly human traits such as deep, emotional eyes, and it almost makes the viewer feel as though they are looking into a mirror. It makes them realize that they are divine beings. Although I believe in God and my art definitely has a spiritual touch, I hope my art can speak to anyone - whether they believe in something or nothing at all.
What is your relationship like? I assume you must have a significant influence on your lives and art, as I find similarities in what you both create.
Pixie: I have a perfect relationship with my siblings, an extraordinary one to my little brother because art has connected us very well as little children! We painted a lot together in our children's rooms and challenged each other. Of course, we also inspired each other, but I'm glad that each of us has found a unique style. Even today we meet often and work together on many projects!
So, since you, your brother (and your sister?) are artistic souls, I think you were raised in a creative family?
Pixie: I would say that creativity has always played a massive role in our family. But my mother was clearly the supportive force. She has always provided us with materials such as paper, pens, colorful cardboard and much more what you need to be able to live creatively. But I think she never thought that three of her six children would later work as independent artists. The first three of us work as artists, two are studying, and our youngest brother is still at school. It's exciting to see which paths the last three will take.
Pixie, I have read that you have had some difficult time in your life. How did creating influence your recovery?
Pixie: Art has saved my life! That sounds very dramatic, but when you think about where my artistic journey started then you understand what I mean by that. 100% of my paintings were actually within an art therapy in a psychiatric clinic. I was diagnosed with Borderline as a young woman, and I was struggling with depression and stress disorder. At some point, I had to get help, and the way led me to this clinic, where I met an art therapist. She reminded me of the love of painting, and from that moment on there has hardly been a day where I have not painted or continued to study art. Painting is my personal way, my valve channeling my feelings and putting them on paper! It was so important to go this way. Also mentally it helped me a lot! I feel very stable now, even though there were still some hurdles in my life.
There have been some hard times in my life. I do not want to go into detail what happened, but in 2018, I think I had my biggest challenge. I was diagnosed with a rare form of lymphoma cancer at the age of 27 and had to undergo severe chemotherapy. Not that I was in pain, lost my hair, or the countless appointments in the hospital/doctors were the worst, but the fear of not being able to see my daughter grow up and accompanying her in her motherhood life was the worst thing for me! In this time and still today, drawing distracts me a lot not overthinking about what could happen. I have to say that I have completed the therapy! Of course, I have to wait for the next few years. On the whole, however, make such times more powerful than weaker, even if I can do without a repetition gratefully!
Jonas, where are you right now on your education path? You are very young and still very professional, this is not so common these days.
Jonas: Growing up in a creative family, I have been drawing my whole life. When I turned 14, I started doing digital art, which quickly became my favorite medium. Putting my art on the Internet (mainly on DeviantArt at that time) was only for fun, but when I turned 16, I realized that people actually liked my fantasy style. I am entirely self-taught, mainly learning by doing and by watching lots of tutorials on Youtube, so I was surprised that people thought my art was kind enough to follow me along. When I was 18, I had gathered quite a fanbase on my social media accounts and even sold a few first pieces to customers.
After finishing high school, I decided to go on a two-years mission trip for my church, which was a crucial time of self-discovery and spiritual growing. Upon returning home, I battled the difficult question of what career path I wanted to pursue. Many people told me I should study law or medicine and that following my dream, which was becoming a full-time artist, was crazy. „It’s not possible to sustain a family as an artist“ was one of the sentences I got told very often. But I chose not to listen. I knew that not trying at all was much worse than trying and failing. Choosing to be paralyzed by fear and taking the „safe road“ didn’t seem like an option. So I leaped faith and registered as a freelance artist in my country, Germany.
At first, I often doubted that decision, because the start was rough and life threw many obstacles my way. But in time my art gained traction on the Internet, and people started connecting to the messages I put out. I think the spiritual dimension I had added to my fantasy art after my 2-years-journey really struck a chord with many people. Within a year I was able to sustain myself as an artist fully. These days, almost four years later, new business opportunities and clients come my way , and I even have to decline many great offers, because I don’t have enough time. I don’t take that for granted and am really grateful for being able to live my dream. It’s still hard work, and there are days of doubt and fear, but all in all, I couldn’t have dreamed of anything like it.
On a funny note, I was rejected by an art school I applied to in Berlin, for „nor being talented enough." Glad I didn’t listen to them… ;)
Your biggest success by far is...
Jonas: Business-wise it must have been when Ravensburger, a global market leader for puzzles and tabletop games, decided they wanted to work with me. I have released three puzzles/games with them so far, and two more are planned. Another big success last year was, that I was finally able to battle art thieves from China, who had stolen my art and had made millions with it. Through contacts (and a lot of luck!) I was able to clean many selling-platforms from counterfeit products and set up license agreements with a few chosen factories. On a more personal level, any customer who tells me, that my art has helped them through a tough time or that it made someone else happy, is a huge success to me.
Pixie: My biggest worldly success is working with Ravensburger, several clothing labels and my own well-running clothing line. But my greatest success is my healthy and great daughter I love about everything! And that I found my two dogs!
How did you come up with the idea to promote your art on social media?
Jonas: As a „millennial“ (I don’t really like that word, but that’s what they call us I guess) sharing my art online came to me naturally. Many artists are afraid of uploading their art to the Internet. I understand that especially given the fact that my art has been stolen a lot in the past. But on the other hand, without the Internet, I wouldn’t be able to do art professionally. To a great extent, the Internet has disempowered constitutions that used to rule the market for creatives. Back in the days, painters, musicians or writers had to rely entirely on galleries, record labels, and publishers if they wanted to sustain themselves with their passion. Now everyone, who is talented and (more importantly) determined enough, can make it. The Internet definitely has its downsides, but for me the incredible freedom and opportunity it gives outweigh the risks by far.
Pixie: Social media is an excellent opportunity for people like us who have been self-taught in one direction to gain a foothold financially and successfully. Without Facebook and Deviantart, later of course also Instagram, I would not have found out at that time that there are people who would hang my pictures on the wall. That was the beginning of success, and I am glad that these possibilities exist today!
Do you have any tips for artists on starting to run their social media?
Jonas: Stay true to who you are and be persistent. It is so easy to compare oneself to more successful artists out there and feel like a failure. I see many artists fall into the trap of copying other artist's styles because they think it’s what is popular and what people want to see. If artist X already exists, there is no need for another artist X. Be yourself. People love seeing unique outlooks on the world. Try to find your inner voice, your unique message or style, and stick to it. If you persist and develop your skill set as an artist, you will be seen. Likeminded people will connect to your work and will share it with their friends. Also, engage with your audience. Be authentic. Ask questions and reply to messages and comments. You'll not only turn followers into dedicated fans but make great friends along the way.
Pixie: Find your own style, paint as much as you can to improve yourself and be authentic in your art! Do not be demotivated if you do not get known or seen so quickly. It really means perseverance, which is rewarded in most cases! Who is really good, that will be seen on the World wide web! This is an unwritten law, and I believe in it! But you can not give up too soon!
How do you like promoting your art on websites like Displate?
Pixie: I find Displate is a great site and I am very happy to be part of the big family now as well. I believe in success and think that we will have a beautiful future together! The idea of high-quality art prints on metal convinced me!
What are your plans and dreams as artists?
Jonas: As mentioned earlier, I’d love to create whole worlds and universes people love to dive into for entertainment, relaxation or inspiration. To see a movie on the big screen one day with my creations being the inspiration for it would be the most rewarding thing. I am currently writing two books and have already found a publisher willing to release the German version. I am looking for English publishers and translators because I’d love to make my novels available to all of my fans. I also just hope that I can continue to live my dream and inspire people to live theirs.
Living our dreams is worth trying. Because in the end, the only sure way to fail is never to try.
And if you need some help to create a success story of your own, consider joining our family :)
Illustration of two lions, a father and a cub. Part of my Yin and Yang animal series "Symbols of Life".
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