Last weekend I traveled so far north that I was almost in Denmark. My long time friend, Inga, had gotten married and had a baby. This was the threesome’s first visit to her hometown… and mine. Surrounded by the acid yellow of rapeseed fields and thatched roofs, we celebrated from early til late. I ended up on the couch.
When I awoke, no one else was up. That was perfect since it gave me a chance to really study my environment. The party had been in the garage. It was adorned with beer cans, pin-ups, Harley skulls, Native Americans and more. I hadn’t expected the collection to flow into the house.
But there I was, in the living room, in what an artist can only describe as an installation. I was excited and intrigued. No space was left untouched. Next to me a limited edition black powder-coated wrench set hung from horseshoe nails. Various knifes were stuck in the wall in a row as though a knife thrower had been there. The radiators were encased in forged metal. The metal door frame into the bathroom was red glitter auto paint. Even the kitchen cabinet handles were wrenches and studded with red rhinestones. WOW! I was pretty much spellbound.
Once I regained my faculties I had a talk with Inga’s dad, Peter, and his longtime girlfriend, Maike. I asked him if he was an artist. Maike immediately beamed and said, “Yes.” He said, “No. I’m just creative.” He’s been working as a boat builder since he was 14. His “installation” is his hobby. But it’s much more than a hobby. It’s an expression of passion, history, love, friendship and experiences.
It all started in second grade when Peter got some bubble gum with an Indian on it. From that moment he collected anything he could that made reference to Native Americans. He’s graduated from bubble gum to the real thing. He’s even been to the place in Dances With Wolves where the Chief runs his hands through the tall grass… and done the same. His favorite place in North America is the Great Plains, the land of the Sioux… and he pronounced it correctly. His eyes lit up as he told me about approaching the ongoing sculpture of Crazy Horse near Mt. Rushmore. He’s even attended a pow wow.
I was perplexed. How did Harley Davidson fit in with Native Americans? Before Inga was born, he had been into fast motorcycles, but all that stopped with fatherhood. That’s when he switched to the slower and safer Harley. And he likes it much more. He actually gets to see where he is and enjoy the surroundings. He has a beautiful bike with a sidecar.
He keeps this feeling alive far far away in his Füsing home. It truly is a magical space with something new at every glance. When it comes to gift time, he’s easy to buy for. If you can’t find anything for his collection, he is always up for a pair of 501s in size 32.
I’m smiling as I write this. Once you’ve been there, you can’t help but feel the energy generated; regardless of time and distance. Thanks Peter, Maike, Inga, Gordon and Eleni.