Cracks in the Wall

Photo Brandenburg Gate

With North and South Korea in the news currently, I have been thinking about my own experiences of living in a divided country – Germany. Below is an article I wrote for the Big Issue Australia in 2014.

On 9 November 1989, 25 years ago this month, the Berlin Wall fell. Michel Streich remembers

I was eating a bowl of muesli in the dimly lit kitchen of my parents’ house in Steinhagen, our West German village. The radio news came on – five a.m., 10th of November. Since the previous night, East Germans had been streaming into West Berlin. There was a party atmosphere at the border checkpoints. A communist government spokesman had made a confused – and most likely incorrect – statement that travel restrictions had been lifted, and thousands were on the move. I was baffled, and a little scared. I went upstairs, brushed my teeth, then put on my combat boots and olive green uniform jacket. I left the house quietly, careful not to wake my parents, and made the hour-long drive to my army barracks.

I was doing fifteen months of compulsory military service, straight after high school. I was a Panzergrenadier, a foot soldier in an infantry battalion supported by tanks, and we had been trained to fight an enemy coming from East Germany.

While I drove over empty country roads, I thought about our scenarios Continue reading “Cracks in the Wall”

Born Freelance

What is the life of an illustrator like? An article I wrote for BLUME magazine, published May 2017.

It is well known that illustrators get out of bed around the time people with proper jobs are having their lunch breaks. Idly sipping the first coffee of the day, the illustrator leafs through the newspaper, watches birds clowning outside the breakfast room window, and daydreams. Three or four coffees later, the illustrator is suddenly struck by inspiration, jumps up from the chaise lounge, rushes – still wearing pyjamas – to the large antique oak desk and works furiously for a couple of hours, creating watercolour paintings Continue reading “Born Freelance”

Everglades signage

Everglades in Leura is a National Trust property built in the 1930s. The historic house is set in rambling gardens designed by renowned landscape designer Paul Sorensen.

I was asked to come up with drawings to use on signage for children’s activities. The illustrations feature wood ducks, which are a native type of duck that lives in the main part of the garden, using the old swimming pool and foraging on the lawns. The signs are placed near an outdoor stage, on a large terraced lawn and next to a little creek that runs through the property.

Continue reading “Everglades signage”