’Active Art’ is the company name I created and used before I started working full-time on my own artwork. Much of my Active Art is ‘active’ in the sense that it has a political message or an educational aim.
Background to ‘Active Art’
I studied fine art and graphic design in Germany and England and worked mainly as a freelance illustrator and graphic designer for more than 35 years in Europe and Africa. I lived for 14 years in Southern Africa and have travelled widely through Europe, America, South America, Asia, the Middle East, India and Africa. Living in Africa ignited my interest in working with community groups for health, development and education. During my ten years in Botswana, I started and managed a silkscreen-printing workshop for women, was a trainer and design adviser for small businesses and taught art at a squatter camp school and at a secondary school. I also started the first art school for children in Botswana.
After moving to the UK I facilitated a number of visual aids workshops around the world but mainly in African countries and mostly as a member of Health Images, a charity organisation which assists health and development groups in low-income countries to learn how to make and use participatory visual materials for communication about locally important issues. I also worked throughout the UK providing workshops for agencies involved in such areas as race-relations, community work and conflict resolution.
I have also illustrated more than 80 educational books, 14 children’s books and various educational comic strips for well-known publishers, such as McMillan, Heinemann, Longmans, Oxford Univesity Press. I designed about 50 book covers as well as many leaflets, logos, postage stamps, greeting cards and T-shirt designs for book publishers, charities and NGO’s and my own ‘Active Art’ company.
In addition, I have designed thousands of simple line drawings for a great number of development organisations such as the ‘International Aids Alliance’ in the UK and the ‘Columbia University’ in New York. 1200 of these drawings are now published in my book ‘Where there is no Artist’. These drawings can be used copyright free. The book also gives an introduction on how to make and use different kinds of participatory visual aids.
Below are some pages from ‘Where there is no Artist’.
Since 2010 I have concentrated solely on my own artwork, sculptures and paintings, only doing the occasional art demonstrations, workshops and art appraisals.