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Hans-Bernd Zimmermann
Brooklyn, NY
Website: http://

ARTIST STATEMENT: I come to drawing and painting after a long journey in public service, mainly for the social betterment, empowerment and physical improvement of disenfrachised communities in New York City. My art work therefore is still relatively young. As an astute observer of politics in our society and during my public service career I found myself often amazed by the prevalence of ignorance, man's potential for deception and evil on the one hand, and his capacity for spirituality, beauty, resilience and compassion on the other. Against this background of contradictions and experiences I look at my own life, including its shortcomings and demons while trying to explore what the process of learning and aging is teaching me. I escape into nature to commune with myself in order to find harmony and then realize that survival is an ongoing fight there too, except it seems less contrived as it is apparently out of consciousness. There I often succeed in getting in touch with the fact that distance , both in time and space, heals and nurtures and reestablishes my sense of being and balance as well as of the miracles of life. I have lived exclusively in western civilizations but have reached out for inspiration and guidance into the thinking, mythologies and beliefs of other cultures. I am informed by travel, politics, books, music, film, personal relationships and strive to settle in the depth of my own self as a source of strength. In my paintings and drawings, be they portraits, landscapes or allegorical images I try to express what I see and feel about people, society and nature in furtherance of my understanding of life and its cycle as well as my own growth and spirituality.

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I was born the second of two sons of a farmer during WWII in the Hanseatic City of Koenigsberg, the capital of pre-war Germany's eastern most province -East Prussia on the Baltic Sea. After the air raids of Koenigsberg in 1944 and with the approaching Red Army the family fled on a circuitous route to what then became West Germany, while another part of the family was stranded in the GDR, which was East Germany until the Berlin wall came down in 1989. Koenigsberg was renamed Kaliningrad in 1946 and is the main city in the Kaliningrad Oblast of Russia today.

After five years of life on a manor in the countryside near the Harz Mountains region south of Hannover where many other desperate refuge families ended up, lacking food and survival opportunities in the war ravaged cities, the family moved north to Emden in East Friesia across a river from the Netherlands. This small port city was largely leveled by air raids too. Ruins and abandoned air raid shelters became the playground of my childhood. Because of unsettled circumstances the family had to move back and forth among the towns of that region until I graduated from high school in 1962. During these years I sought artistic expression in the visual arts, theater and puppet-play, with our troupe even winning the national championship. During my teens I responded eagerly to my quest for adventure by traveling through western and southern Europe by bicycle, train, bus, hitch-hiking many times, mostly alone.

After graduation from high school I finished an internship as a dry-dockyard worker and studied in Darmstadt, Cologne, Berlin in Germany as well as Paris/France and New York City, finishing with a Master's Degree in Sociology/Political Science from the Free University in Berlin. In 1973 I completed a second Master's Degree in Urban Planning from Hunter College in New York City. Subsequently I worked for ten years in a Mayoral agency as an urban planner on issues of Manhattan's two central business districts. Thereafter I assumed for eighteen years middle management positions in the planning and development field mainly for the government of The Bronx during that borough's most challenging times. That experience led to many invitations to televised panel discussions and lectures at conferences on best practices of community rebuilding in major cities of Austria, Poland and Germany.

I retried in 2002 and began to rededicate time to my interest in the arts. At first I painted country furniture in the German tradition and, as time moved on, I switched to representational drawings and paintings. I took a few courses in painting at the New School University of New York and today continue drawing classes from live models with an accomplished artist in Manhattan.

I have exhibited work in mostly group shows and galleries throughout the NYC region from upstate New York to New Jersey, Long Island, Manhattan and Brooklyn. As a medium I am using oil on canvas for landscapes, mythological themes and political commentary, and charcoal and pastel for live drawings and portraits.

647 Fulton Street
Brooklyn, NY 11217


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