Thomas Kahlau   art

Thomas Kahlau

1961 born in Potsdam
1976 accident with the consequence of being disabled
1978 first attempts of painting with the mouth
1980 painting-lessons by the artist Hans Wei?
1986 support in art by the painter and graphic Herbert Sander
1986-1992 scholarshiip of the Association of Mouth- and
Footpainters Worldwide (VDMFK)
1988/1989 documentary by Gitta Nickel "Den Wind auf der Haut
spuren" (feeling the wind on the skin)
1992 autobiography "Die Kraft in mir" (the power inside of me),
published by Aufbau Taschenbuch Verlag
since 1995 member of VDMFK
2000 medal lending "Bundesverdienstkreuz am Bande"

I was not born as an artist - who claims about himself the contrary? - Of course there was a little talent hidden as a genetical sequence sleeping in my DNA while I was laying in my cradle and the "lovely" relatives said rather normal things like "Gutschi - Gutschi, what a lovely baby..." while examining me. But what did an intelligent man say? That talent is necessary only to 10 percent, and the rest is hard work and training.
In my first life, the time before my accident, when I used to stand up on my own feet (and not wheels), I did not make use of my talent. It was just sleeping (may be to hold back it for later). I was tall and strong and was able to let the other students get to know that in some fights.
Moreover I was a quiet normal guy. I liked sport but did not spend my whole time with it. I refused to let my brain being overworked and enjoyed my puberty. Painting was so boring at that time and my teacher of art was old and knew that there were just some years until he would stop working. Maybe it was a kind of punishment for him to teach us. I believe he did not care about us just like we didn't care about his lessons. Additionally I have to admit, that without marks I never would have taken away my feet from the table. But from time to time I was painting. My "careless" teacher liked those paintings. Nowhere else it was so easy to get good marks in school. My artistic talent woke up from time to time.
But everything stopped when I was at the age of 15. This was the time when my second life began. Because of an accident I fractured my throat and an ice age began for the next decade. Since then I was not able to move my body - and because of this I lost the ability to use my brain - there was no longer any necessity for using it. I was falling in isolation and lived just because I was existing. Others used their brain for me. Yes, I had little efforts in this time (for instance I learned to do many things with my mouth, had lessons of painting and finished my apprenticeship as a translator of Japanese language. But I guess that this time was necessary to grow up and to realize many things.)
Painting was first just a kind of a therapy for doing something, just anything. Nothing satisfying and without emotions. But then my talent woke up slowly - finally - and together with the technical school, that gave me three teachers, my paintings achieved a new quality. I started to believe in the brushes and colors like in friends and trusted them. Now I had found a way to express my pain, my feelings, emotions and thoughts. The first time after this time I had the possibility to express myself. Painting became the most important part of my life. It was a kind of physical and mental food. Now and not earlier I could accept my unmovable body. In 1986 I applied for a scholarship at the Worldwide Union of Mouth - and Footpainting Artists. This powerful organization (now I am a member of it) gives me the social safety I need for expressing my talent. But I want to reach more. More quality in my paintings, more tolerance towards the paintings of people with disabilities, because those paintings are not more or less valuable than those of "normal" painters. There is just good or bad art.
Nothing else. I wanna establish myself in the scene of artists and I want to go on in order to keep my talent awake.
I hope that the way I'm going is endless, because a visuable aim is my engine to go on. The things I've got and achieved make me lazy. Many people helped me in an important way being important for me. The most important people were and are - of course - my parents. They were with me the whole time and helped me every day to continue with my life. And I'm sure they will help me until the end of their life. I thank them and owe them much. They gave me more I'm able to give back.
This way I thank everyone supporting me.

Thomas Kahlau, 1995

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