How it all began

I started welding when I was living in my truck, in a trailer village in Hanover.

It all began when I needed a support for a swing in my truck. I got so excited with welding that I didn't want to stop, so next thing I welded a frame for the net where I kept my clothes, with figures attached to it.

My first figures were still very rough. But with time I got more into it. The figures became more refined, with more detail. When I was a child, I made a lot of papier-maché figures, and in a way, welding is a continuation of that, with another technique.

Sculptures became a creative means of expressing my ideas and imagination. Welding felt liberating, too, in comparison to the work as a precision mechanic that I did as a trainee from 1990 till 1994, where there are rules and prescriptions for everything. I always had to follow the drafts strictly, I couldn't figure out anything by myself except by which methods and steps I would reach the expected result. When I make a sculpture, I start out with just a vague idea of what it will be. The figures grow with time. I get inspired by the material, by its shapes and surfaces. It's a different approach altogether.

By joining old material, I create something new. In precision mechanics, I removed material from a slug by means of milling and turning. But what fascinates me is to bring objects that have their own histories and former functions, into a new context. To tell a new story.

I find my material in junkyards, factories (metal sheets where they punched out things), and in the street. I love to spend an afternoon rummaging through a junkyard where there's lots of bizarre stuff to be discovered.

In a small workshop I have a gas shielded welder, an electric welder, a grinder, and of course a lot of material. I prefer gas shielded welding because it's better for thin sheets. The electric welder is lighter, it's good for working on site (e.g. at exhibitions).

My smallest sculpture is a bat, it fits in a hand. The biggest one is a sitting figure, it's about three meters high. I made it disassemblable because I'd need a crane to transport it in one piece.