Hello, my name is Julia Freund, I'm an illustrator living in Berlin and I write this blog.
If you want to know more about me, you can either opt for the short version, written for those who might not want to read the minutiae of my life, and a longer version, for those who like family sagas.
The short version (in 8 points):
1. My name is Julia Freund, I'm a freelance illustrator living in Berlin and if you are interested in my art, for whatever reason, write me an email. I guarantee it will make me very happy and that I'll reply as soon as possible.
2. I work freelance, creating illustrations for a variety of newspapers and magazines. I also teach second and third semester illustration at the Institute of Design in Berlin (Rule number one: Miss Freund is always right. Second rule: If first rule doesn't apply, see rule number one.)
3. I'm a family person. But, as it's uncool and doesn't go with the picture of a bohemian artist, I won't admit to it.
4. I have lived in the USA for one and a half, and in France for eleven years, so in addition to German I speak English and French fluently. In my dreams even my grandfather speaks French, which is sweetly boastful of him because he didn't even speak perfect German while he was alive.
5. I shrink from any kind of aggressiveness. If you hit me, I'm likely to excuse myself for it. So please find someone else to pick on.
6. I'm polite to a fault.
7. I like books and stories. In my work as an illustrator I always start with words, often telling myself a story about the subject I need to draw, and the image will come through those words.
8. I'm a sucker for any small kindness. If you buy me coffee I won't marry you right away, but I'll probably be thinking about it.
The long version:
I grew up the oldest of three children, and if you are a reader of lineanongrata, you will probably already know that my brother and sister are ever present and two of the most important people in my life.
We grew up in a very very small town in Westphalia, Germany, and the day my siblings fell into the silo that stored (rotting) clover, I was reading a book and couldn't join the fun. I did, however, put the book down when they came back in and were put under the shower immediately. The only time they stank worse was when they played in the fish-meal covered beans.
Stories and the telling thereof have always been very important in our family. Our mother has a book where she noted all the funny things we said when we were little. Which is something I would highly recommend to anyone with small children. We still laugh about these things thirty years later.
But not only our own stories were important. Dinner talk evolved around other people's children, jobs, the funny or sad things that happened to them, as much as it told about grandparents and great grandparents.
Both our parents are avid readers, so the house was filled with books (there is an interdiction to buy hardcovers these days because they take up too much space in the library), and the only non-reader we have is our brother. Who thinks that watching a movie with subtitles counts as reading.
We went to a High school in a slightly bigger but still small neighboring town. The school taught about 600 kids at any given time, and even though this sounds like a lot, it actually means we knew almost all of them. It also means every teacher knew us, usually by name, but at least by family-connections. So if you had done something stupid, there was no way of hiding it. Somewhere during those years I spent one year in Michigan, living with an American family, going to an American High School, learning English. The 'let's go, dawgs, let's. get. to. it. Let's go, dawgs, you. can. do it' that I learned while dating a football player will stay in my head forever, I very much fear.
Now that we are all in our late twenties and thirties, our newer friends are often astonished about how many of our close friends date back to our school years. They wonder if it doesn't get tiresome to live in such a close knit community.
Oh boy, no! The scandals and rumors never tire me! I am alway interested in knowing who's dating whom, who married and had the most horrible wedding ever, who has the cutest baby, who studies what, who lives where... It's gossiping, I admit, but it's also a way of keeping track of all the people we've grown up with. It reassures me to no end that people don't vanish and fall off the earth.
After graduating from High school I suddenly found myself in a position where everything was possible, I could study or learn whatever I wanted to... and I was completely overwhelmed and ever so clueless.
Finally, after being asked about the 'what now' again at yet another subdued family dinner, I answered that I intended to go to France to learn French.
Which I did. For the next eleven years.
I learned some basic French in Bordeaux, lived in Marseille while studying graphic design in Aix-en-Provence (e.c.v.) and Paris (Intuit/Lab), and finally became a freelance illustrator.
Need I mention the family was very happy I finally found something I wanted to study? They just might have imagined that I would become a graphic designer, having studied graphic design and all. But I opted out of working in a design agency and became an illustrator instead.
Illustrator means artist, and when I tell people 'Daniel is an engineer, Hanna is studying economics' everyone will nod approvingly. When we come to the 'I am an illustrator' part, the nods stop abruptly and gives way to a moment of confusion: 'Illustrator? You mean like with pens and pencils?' Followed by a look of 'the poor parents'. But that's ok. At least I now have a profession.
The lineanongrata blog started in 2007 because I wanted to participate in the weekly Illustration Friday illustration challenge. Over the last few years it has evolved, accompanying me through the two years I lived and worked on the family owned winery in the South of France and eventually back to Germany when I came to live in Berlin last fall.
Over the years I have written about a variety of things, the winery, cooking, making, sewing, illustrating, the family, my latest infatuation with the latest craft. To me, this blog is all about telling stories. And I was and continue to be astonished how many awesome people read these stories, how many of you I have met through this space and how many opportunities have come my way because of the blog.
Thank you all.