‘From a very young age my preferred means of expression was drawing and it has been a continuing and undeniable thread throughout my life. I trained as a draughtsman in postwar Germany before retraining as a teacher. Only much later could I afford to risk a living as a full-time artist.
Technique is crucial in my painting and I chose to use acrylic because it is practical and binds together all the natural media used in my work. But I do miss the use of oils, since they provide a more organic and emotional dimension.
By using media to build up the canvas I create a very ‘super real’ 3D quality; colour is heightened, perspectives are distorted in a surrealist vision and much of the detail is stripped away. I like to achieve a cleaner experience without the clutter and the ‘mickey mouse’.
Landscape attracts me and I immediately think of cavities, crevices, craters, valleys, reefs, escarpments and wave barrels. However, the word horizon is probably the most common element that binds my work, followed by blue skies. The clarity of light in New Zealand has certainly influenced my work.
There are elements of what I call surrealism, super-realism and minimalism in all my paintings. I try to create a vision of the reality of the natural world and the interior landscapes of the mind. The vitality of the work lies in the tension of opposites – the heights and depths, the past and the future and the extremes and banalities of this life.’ – Jochen Schmidt
Born in 1947 in Germany I grew up with an innate love of painting and drawing and decided to train as an architectural draughtsman, an occupation that would give me financial security and hone my drawing skills.
A decade later I retrained as a teacher before travelling, in the seventies, through the Sahara, West and Central Africa.
In Kenya I began to paint on silk, focusing on the tropical nature of brightly coloured flowers, that led to the name Mashada, which means a spray of flowers in Kiswahili.