(© Gunter Klötzer)
Painter and Jewelry Designer
Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, NYC
Born and raised in Freiburg/Breisgau
Portrait: July 25th, 2003
What made you move to the US?
I find the diversity fascinating. New York, a small island. People from all over the world come together here and live together—or at least coexist peacefully. And the jazz.
How would you describe your relationship with your family?
I have a very close and loving relationship with my family and some friends who’ve become like family. Freiburg/Breisgau - New York (© Gunter Klötzer)
How important are factors like work, residence, relationships, and family to you?
Family, personal relationships, and friendship mean a lot to me. Just knowing those people are there for me makes me feel warm inside, secure, and self-confident. My work—among other things—bene-fits from this confidence. My apartment is my space for reflection.
What do you see as typically German?
To use a blanket statement, precision is German, improvisation American. But obviously there’s way more than that...!
What do you associate with the term Heimat?
Heimat means my roots, childhood, family, things you’re intimately familiar with, and friends. The feeling of being an old dog that wags its tail on returning to sniff out the territory it’s marked but always finds new nooks and crannies as well.
Do you consider yourself German?
I see myself as a European mongrel.
What do you appreciate most about American society, and what don’t you like about it?
I appreciate the "everything is possible" attitude but can’t help being skeptical about whether this applies to everyone even now.
What were your expectations when you first came to the US?
Expectation is a term I try to banish from my vocabulary. New York City inspires me with its opportunities and diverse people, its highs and lows, and all the improvisation.
Do you identify with the US and the place where you live?
I identify with myself.
What defines the American Dream for you? Are you pursuing an American Dream of your own?
The American Dream!? My goal is to reach out to people with what I’m doing.
In New York I find a broad range of people.
What does being in touch with other Germans in the US mean to you?
Being in touch with my fellow Germans in America doesn’t mean any more to me than being in touch with people from other countries. I do, however, enjoy conversing in my mother tongue. On the whole, I feel affinities with people because of their character rather than their specific background.
Do you often commute between Germany and the US?
Once or twice every year, for four to six weeks each time.
What major changes have you noticed since 9/11?
The tightened security measures are still highly visible. Just after 9/11, blinkered patriotism was the order of the day. What I’ve actually never seen is what the press here kept reporting: a kinder and gentler way of treating each other.
What do you see as American influence on Germany?
I deplore the American influence on Germany I see. Instead of choosing America as a role model in terms of being more easygoing and casual, what Germany imitates is American consumerism.
Would you consider going back to Germany for good? If so, why?
Maybe. Right now, I’m here.