My language is art. An interview with Jacob von Sternberg

German artist, Jacob von Sternberg is the emblem of the creative sensibility. His art is the result of a genetic and spiritual predisposition through which he is able to show his intimate reality. Thanks to Jacob’s work we can explore the unlimited possibilities of expressivity and in the following interview is the artist to tell us about the importance of art in his whole life.

The artist Jacob von Sternberg in his studio

How would you define your relationship with art?


Art saved my life. Saved my life in countless ways. I don't want to say I am shy, but in a way I am. I learned to stand in front of people, learned to speak, but my language is art. The definition of most complex situations, the description of unbearable emotions, the expression of lifting moments filled with happiness, the miracles of life - all that I could hardly put into words but put into a painting. And then there is this knowledge I carry with me, what I learned as a young boy, what I was taught by life, sacred maybe secret knowledge, I would not dare to speak about or I feel it is to holy to even put into words. I love to encrypt much of this in my paintings. Secret not because there would be a ban, but maybe I just respect the life of a person so much that I would never teach a lesson or speak out without being asked. You know, crossing the fence. I mean crossing the very private fence of another person in telling something that could potentially change a life. Knowledge is irreversible. I could never interfere this way. All I can do is offering an inspiration, providing aspects, giving everything to the viewer, never interfere.




Tell us more about the connection with your art and your ordinary life...


Oh, wow, could write a book on that. Art is in the moment and my life is a vast collection of moments. My "success" (I would not consider it any, maybe some others would) in younger years and the trust, I had coming in from influential people at this time, made me feel that I needed to duck and cover. I had learned not enough about life and I was at the beginning of my research. Instead of focusing on my paintings I decided to concentrate on design. Maybe because it was more non-binding in a sense. That feeling changed later on dramatically.


Today I live art and it is not exhausting at all. Like a steady flow of energy, like a river of inspiration floating through me. Inspiration is just there, in the moment, every moment.


Let’s talk about your expressive research… What are your influences? What are your goals?


Photons are one group of particles that form our reality. Photons can even turn into a crystal-like structure, form matter under certain circumstances. We interpret or judge what we call reality.

Emotions manifest either consciously or subconsciously. Some people may spend even a lifetime, not understanding the depths of their emotions. Emotions persons experience are impacted by their behavior, the culture they come from, and previous traumatic experiences.


A situation that is fearful to one person might be not fearful to another person. A LGBTQ+ person might experience a particular situation as upsetting, hurtful, harmful - discriminating - others might not even notice this particular situation. We all might have to shape our sensibility, might have to empower our empathy.

Emotional experiences form our very personal reality in a very special way. Emotional energies modulate our collective reality much more intense.

Between energy and reality - between emotions and realities. Taking over the mandate of the unheard. Exploring fitting techniques or developing fitting techniques in a sensible way to make every case heard, but not taught. This way the viewer is invited to experience the mandate within her/his own personal reality, my art eventually becomes a part of the viewer. May it be human, animal, plant or any other feeling being - my goal is to make the unheard heard and thus empower our empathy. Compassion is the key to learn and grow, together!


My influences? Although I agree with Marcel Duchamp, who realized at the latter part of his life, that the art world is a very ego driven place, I still believe that a sensitive soul like me has a slight chance to survive.

"Don't cry, work" Meret Oppenheim - I love her wide spectrum and the depth of her art and last but not least her strength; Lee Strasburger - one of my closest friends, an artist, my family and a very close friend to Friedensreich Hundertwasser.


What is your opinion about the future of art?

I believe that art is at the crossroads like never before. One of the fundamentals of art is that it was and is a connector for people. The more art integrates new technology, virtual reality, augmented reality, the more the viewer needs to adjust to a new way of exploring art. I have always worked digital and analog, so for me there is no yes or no. It depends on what I would like to achieve. With the increasing options to sell art online successfully, we will see a much larger variety. More artists than ever before will have a chance to make a living. One question that is spinning in my head is, if more artists than ever before are influenced by certain other artists that publish online solely. Thus, we will maybe see an even faster trend or style dynamic evolving in the future.


However, I think that an original painting that resonates with the viewer, cannot be replaced by whatever future technology. Technology is an addition and a chance to widen the scope. Especially in this difficult time art is vital like never ever before. There will be a time when we all need to and want to understand all the traumatic experiences that happened to us in this difficult time and art will stay. To prove and to explain to future generations, to remind us all of the countless unheard fates, but also to bear witness how much we did care for the destiny of the lives of others.