I came upon Lili and Jesko by accident, although like their purposed work, I sometimes wonder if fate sought me out. Really, I sometimes wonder if fate sought them out. As an artistic pair, they are specially matched. Charming, attractive, and graceful indeed, but with an unusual talent that seems supercharged when they are in close proximity with one another. I happened upon a picture of a room in their home- stunning and delicate- with hand painted canvas walls and magnificent molding framing a beautiful blue-skirted light fixture that hung from the ceiling; canvas hung against canvas- a perfect contrast against softly painted nautical scenes with sublime shades of color. I labeled it “the impossible” for most of us, knowing that the artists who crafted it must have had a brilliant and uncanny talent and vision. Later, and much to my surprise, I received a note from Lili and Jesko, asking if I was on facebook. We struck up a conversation- one that hasn’t ended and has led to an online friendship – and I’ve since learned about the full spectrum of their amazing work. To add compliment to accolade, they are sweet and unassuming, down-to-earth, and intent on creating positive social effects through their work.
The charming duo, a couple from Hamburg, Germany, have studied alongside masters. Together in Florence, Italy they studied decorative Italian painting techniques under Stefano Ficalbi. Lili spent several years working with the French sculptor Bruno Maillard and was a carpenter’s apprentice. She studied Industrial Design at Hochschule für Bildende Künste, Hamburg and has freelanced, using a multitute of techniques; as designer, portrait and decorative painter, object artist, functional object artist (furniture, lamps, paravents and frames), and wallpaper artist (Japanese rice paper). Jesko studied under painter Jorg Kalkreuter in Hamburg and has studied Graphic Design, Fine Arts and Painting. He too has freelanced and has specialized in mosaic art. He has a particular fondness for boats, the sea and nautical themes. It makes sense then that their abode, which also houses their studio, is a beautiful and soulfully decorated home; it is one which has received quite a bit of media attention, having appeared in several magazines including Elle Decor. I asked them if their design decisions were truly “mood and art” based, and further, if they ever had to sacrifice art for practicality. Jesko said their decisions were almost entirely based on mood and art, and “it was a pleasure for them to find practical solutions that just happened to work out artistically.”
Their professional training reads beautifully, but it is their prominent installations, diverse in chosen mediums, landscapes and atmospheres -that seem to have such grand effects on people. (oh-and no worries—we will explore their house further.) Lili and Jesko primarily consider themselves mood and atmosphere artists, often utilizing their object art and paintings to radically convert an environment. They take a space, such as an abandoned room, building or outdoor area and literally transform it into something new.
The idea at Baurs Park was to create the mood of a Burmese Temple, with the ambiance of ‘Old Asia’, AFTERS:
For the regular person, it goes something like this. Jesko and Lili decide to have a showing, or an exhibition of their latest paintings and object art. But an inherent part of their art is in the display. So instead of showing canvas after canvas neatly hung on bare wall, or pieces displayed behind velvet rope, they create the perfect “mood” environments to showcase them in. In a sense, they enhance the already enigmatic aspects of the work. Oftentimes, as Jesko said, they let the environment influence them, but other times, they have something specific in mind. Usually, it is a bit of both elements that determine the final tone of the installation. Sometimes they do it in old buildings. Other times they have open air environments. Many times, they use their own studio as an ever changing “art tea shop” to display their finery.
Note: The first several pictures here are an installation done in an abandoned section of an 100 year old hospital, now called the “WASSERTURMPALAIS”
Instead of guiding you further with commentary, I will allow a stream of pictures to lead the way- all come from their home, however, many of them are from their studio and exhibition rooms, called the “Bel Étage”. Many photos were taken during actual installations or “tea shop” exhibits, whereby invited guests “immerse themselves in the constantly changing synthesis of the arts.” Other photos were taken from their many featured magazine posts. Notice the dates–I am starting from many years ago and moving forward. You may notice changing aspects of rooms and moving paintings or pieces. Keep in mind that most of what you see in their homes is truly of their own fabrication or manipulation. It is really inspiring to watch how they work!
I would be remiss not to mention their extensive travels. After all- their inspirations- and glorious painting and themes often come from their traveling. Having said that, I will share a few pictures of the couple on their recent trip to Lamu Island in Kenya, where they graciously gifted schoolchildren and orphans with the gift of painting! How magical it must have been to watch them sail with their own hand painted canvas!!
Next on the agenda?? Taking the ACTION PAINTING PROJECT, which was introduced very successfully in Lamu, to India. They will be traveling with a group of very special people; including doctors who volunteer their time at a pediatric hospital operating on the cleft palates of children. Lili and Jesko will be working with several local schools, including one for handicapped children. They plan to do just what they did in Lamu, although it will be interesting to see what neat new expressions and experiences come about from the Indian school children. What an amazing job!!! As an artist- to spread the joy of art and painting with young children, allowing them to freely express themselves and open up to the joy that creative expression can bring.
Brilliant, Colorful, Talented and Kind! I Can’t Wait to Watch
What and Who You Two Transform in the Future!!!!
you’ve already got me! XOXO, Adrienne
Please note that all of Nalovi/Willert images are protected works of art. Please consult with them before sharing.
You can find more of Lili and Jesko on their webpage at: http://www.nalovi-willert.de
And also on facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lili-Nalovi-Jesko-Willert