Interview and Image by Corinna Heumann
Andreas Rein is a painter. He was born in Cologne. After graduating from high school, he completed an apprenticeship as a mechanic. Then he studied Fine Arts with Prof. Dieter Kraemer at the Cologne Werkschulen. Art awards and scholarships followed. Besides international exhibitions, he accepted lectureships at the University of Wuppertal and the Summer Academy of the Alanus University in Alfter. His works of art can be found in public and in private collections. He lives in the Rhineland.
For him, the day begins at 5 a.m. by making breakfast for his now-wife. Teaching takes place during the day. Finally, around midnight, after working on his own art, the day draws to a close for him. Andreas is above all a family man. He was a single father to his four children, who have since grown up and have children of their own. Now he has a little more time on the weekends and spends it with his wife on his ship in Holland. Through ingenuity he transforms the historic yacht from the 1930s into a stroke of naval genius with a love of detail.
Not a minute in Andrea’s life passes unused. To be sure one could not let an idea, a workflow or a creative moment also of his students pass unnoticed or even not taken care of! In addition Andreas cultivates a sense of discrimination that every moment some form grows perfect in hand or face; some tone on the hills or the sea is choicer than the rest; some mood of passion or insight or intellectual excitement is irresistibly real and attractive for us, – for that moment only. (William Pater)
What drives you, Andreas?
Dissatisfaction, for 40 years, in painting for 50 years. Dissatisfaction with the picture I just painted. I used to make a lot of sketches to approach the whole issue.
Seeing, thinking and thinking with your hands – how do your creative processes work?
What you can’t express linguistically, you can paint. That’s about other things. If I were a writer, I would write. When I go to the studio, I turn on the radio, WDR 2 early in the morning at 6. I tried classical music once. But with WDR 2 you can listen now and then, mostly not at all, and so it becomes an automatic painting process. It works best with commercials. In between, I set the alarm on my cell phone so that I don’t forget the students who are coming. I painted, then printed for a while, and always kept on building boats.
I was off capacity. The last boat I built is called ‘Corona’ because I built it during lockdown. I designed everything myself, cut the wood to size, bent it, wood from Hamburg, solid mahogany. You have to use solid mahogany plywood. I pulled it out of containers everywhere and collected it. You can’t get it anymore today. I gold leafed the lettering on the stern.
Artists are people who are not interested in friendships unless they enjoy an advantage. An exchange with egomaniacs is impossible, only taking up my life time. I prefer to work. Otherwise I am politically engaged in the local community association in matters of the village. I am concerned about the image of the village. Rhöndorf is something special. We are all local patriots here. Party politics play no role at all here.
Do you have a vision of utopia?
My vision is where my family is. I’m not tied down to one place. I am rooted here, but if I had to leave, I would do it with my family. My family would do it with me, too.
How do you understand the idea that you feel yourself most strongly when you are impressed or touched by aesthetic objects or people?
Many people don’t have access to style, beauty, a sense of intrinsic value. It’s like a second skin next to the physical skin that you make your own, part of you. About 95% of people surround themselves with junk: houses, furniture, clothes, cars. Approximately every 7 years in Germany, home furnishings are disposed of and redesigned. This is also a tremendous waste of resources. The way most contemporaries dress, live, eat… that’s how they are, almost dangerous. It is an interaction. One mirrors oneself and becomes likewise. Our life serves almost exclusively the purpose of consumption. We have become consumers, no longer customers. You can see that in advertising.
I have a happy life here in Germany and am very grateful for it. I am free to do and say what I want. I was and am privileged to spend a happy time with my children. Many people in the world do not have that.