Öme are weird, funny creatures.
They do what they want and have a load of fun while
The word "Öme" comes from a European cartoon strip.
As teenagers we used to say : "Hey, look at that Öme."
And what we meant to say was that you should have a look at that Öme.
Which would roughly translate to : Hey, look at that Öme.
I didn't have a name for those figures and after a lot
of soul searching I had to choose something.
Probably it went something like this :
"Hey, those are great paintings. What do you call those
Uhhmm, Öme? Yeah, those are Öme.
The "Umlaut" was carefully chosen for it's German touch
since it seemed that every art dealer in town wanted to stress that point.
You know, me being German and stuff.
I can't remember when I started drawing Öme or
more importantly even why I did.
The earliest documentation I have is from mid 1988 when I was with my
wife on our honeymoon in Pokara, Nepal.
But then those Öme where quite evolved and I'm certain that I have
started much earlier drawing Öme.
I do remember some back ground thoughts behind the paintings.
Let me share them with you.
Öme were my first figurative large paintings.
I probably was scared to draw realistically on big canvasses back then.
Many of the results were achieved by experimenting with different techniques.
Often the technique would determine the theme rather than the idea.
The first set of Öme was based on experimenting
with mixing abstract and figurative forms done in different layers.
I would start off with a series of loose and apparently
random brush strokes.
The next layer would have more refined almost graphic elements.
Then I would paint the outline of the Öme on top of it.
Not black yet. Most of the time in light brown.
I would then try to blend those three layers into one being careful that
every square inch in itself would look good.
Next I would apply transparent white "shading" to highlight the shape
of the Öme.
In step 5, the most difficult one, I would in a Chinese calligraphy style,
paint the black brush strokes that make up the Öme.
No second tries.
Each stroke had to be perfect.
On the sixth layer I would create patterns in the background so that the
Öme would stand out.
I would not paint the background over but carefully blend it in with existing
All done I would carefully take the canvas, gently crumble it up, delicately
throw it away and start all over again.
And I would do it right the next time.
You see that's why I love to paint.
I remembered all this stuff just by looking at those paintings.
There is not much else I remember from that time.
We had some serious partying to do.
Later I would lose that layer stuff allowing the shape
and bodily expression of the Öme to become the issue.
And I would continue to experiment with various color combinations and
visual effects. That was what my next show was all about.
Those two series overlap shamelessly.
Grandmother" the last work of Öme almost belonging to Face
Value and the first of that series: "Mmmmmhh
beer" could be still considered an Öme by some liberal minded
However there are some experts seriously doubting that theory.
I can't remember what happened with most of the paintings.
A few were sold, one I cut into small pieces for some deep, artistic reasons
and many got lost when I moved for a while to Germany in 1994.
Öme was shown 1988 in The Heritage Art Center sponsored
by the Goethe Institut. (see
This series and its documentation is dedicated to Odette
Alcantara who made the show possible and gave me the encouragement I needed.