When I met Nomad for the first time in Berlin it was one of those unbearably hot summer days. He proposed to go swimming in Wedding. “We could do the interview there.” he suggested and even though I had trouble keeping track of the sweat that poured from my forehead I wasn’t sure if I felt like skinny dipping during our first meet and greet. “I’m not shy!” he said, but I felt that I might be. When he suggested that I could just dangle my feet in the water, I thought that this might be a good idea after all.
Half an hour later I was waiting at the lake in Wedding and didn’t quite know what to expect. The internet told me that Nomad went through a lot during his time in Los Angeles and that his three big solo shows were all conceptualized around fractured personalities and emptiness…Pondering the possible dangers Nomad arrived with a friendly smile on top of his Snoopy shirt and a bag full of strawberries…I felt silly.
Curious as I am I started asking away about his adventures in the States and quickly forgot concentrating on my prepared interview questions. Most people like talking about the happiest times of their life, but Nomad is as unconventional as this interview situation was. He didn’t seem to mind basking in the difficult memories of his young manhood. He told me about how he went to LA after he finished school, how he traveled around, and slept in his car. He told me how he had no money to buy anything, and how he had to get by on free snacks and booze from art openings. With a gloomy smile we talked about the pros and cons of living in a tree hut, how he went a month without sleep, how he joined and escaped the Hare Krishna’s, and how he got lost in the desert on an LSD trip.
Now, Nomad lives in Berlin since about fifteen years and is ever since frantically expressing himself on the streets. Expressing himself so much in fact, that the bulky waste he likes to re-decorate made him the most collected artist in Europe; a fact that used to piss him off, when a gang of personal stalkers followed his every move. His pieces lasted only until the paint was dry enough to carry them home and the absurdity of his anonymous fame hit him double hard.In his work Nomad always tries to comment on what is going on in the surrounding area. His trademark is the long fluid line that constitutes his character Mr. Friendly, but his conceptual pieces on the streets and the bulky waste he wanted to give a last mission prior to their destruction, doesn’t work in galleries. What Nomad exhibits in sanctioned spaces he approaches as Art, because he doesn’t find street art in the fancy cage of a gallery interesting enough to even think about. He’s stubborn when it comes to the commodification of street art, always wandering through the urban playground called Berlin, to fight for his absolute freedom by proudly holding up the flag of vandalism. A freedom fighter in his own right.
Being a successful and internationally accomplished artist, who can call Ashton Kutcher one of his biggest fans, Nomad developed a new gallery concept that hit art enthusiasts like a rage.
It all happened last year, when Nomad and Harlan Levey went to LA together and Nomad -after waking up on a flea infested couch- spontaneously decided to get one of his drawings tattooed on his arm. It might seem a bit nuts,but is something we all get though not many manage to get it across like Nomad.
Early September Nomad presented, at the Nina Sagt Gallery, this moment as a concept where spontaneity and single moments become permanent markings. He invited a tattoo artist, prepared some drawings the guests could choose from and watched how people stood in line to get a simple piece of art marked on their bodies.
For 2011 Nomad wants to organize another event based on this concept in New York. Only this time the tattoo options will be created spontaneously during the event. this moment as a concept where spontaneity and single moments become permanent markings. We cannot go back. So we must keep pushing forward.
Stay tuned and we’ll keep you posted.
We cannot go back. So we must keep pushing forward.