What brought you to the U.S.? Why did you make Denver your home?
The US was my favorite place to be since I was 18. I dreamt of living there one fine day. Around 2004 I submitted lots of my work to “Call for Entries” to get my work out. One was in 2005 to the Center of Photography in Fort Collins and got into the show which Mark Sink curated. I flew out for the opening reception met Mark and the artists…all amazingly open, welcoming people. At that point I knew that Denver would be my choice. I fell in love with the people and the exciting electric creativity I felt boiling underneath the surface. While developing relationships with my new friends I made a plan and started collaborating on a project with Mark Sink. I came back in October 2005 to work on “Perfect Beauty” with Mark. During that time I met my husband Randy – it was love at first sight. One thing led to another and in December 2006 I moved to Denver permanently, it was a very magical time for me.
You opened Hinterland Art Space in 2008, what inspired you to start a gallery/art space? How did you come up with the name?
For a while back then I was thinking about being involved in a sort of a communal space. I didn’t think about a gallery specifically. When the Month of Photography came up in 2008 a friend called me and asked if knew of any galleries to show her work for that occasion. All the galleries I knew were booked up at that time. So, I spontaneously suggested that we could set up a gallery space and have a show here at our new warehouse location which we just started to rent and had moved into. Shortly after Randy and I started with the build-out Hinterland was born. The name developed out of a conversation with a close friend who was visiting from Europe. It seemed to be the perfect fit. The Hinterland —where there is the unknown —beyond what is visible —David Bowie once wrote a song about the Hinterland: “Red Sails” and the lyrics go like this:
Do you remember we another person
Green and black and red and so scared
Graffiti on the wall keep us all in tune
Bringing us all back home
Red sail action
Action boy seen living under neon
Struggle with a foreign tongue
Red sails make him strong
Action make him sail along
Life stands still and stares
The hinterland, the hinterland
We’re gonna sail to the hinterland
And it’s far far, far far far, far far far away
This song is exactly what Hinterland is about, discovering new things, some might be frightening but they are new, colorful, exotic and strange. We are artists, explorers of the soul, emotions, stormy seas and vast lands. But what we find and come home with are treasures beyond words.
Can you speak to your design career before moving into art full time?
To be a full-time artist was an inner decision first. I quit my job as a creative director and rented a studio space in Frankfurt which I renovated myself. I started to paint and found my passion more and more in mixed media concepts. As a freelance interactive designer I supported myself for several years until I transitioned into my new living territory in Denver the United States. Here I couldn’t legally work for several years. I designed my new life around my new urban scenario and relationship.
– Sabin Aell
How did you transition from a designer into a full time artist?
I worked on contracting jobs with Randy. I learned drywalling, I tiled, worked power tools, helped with flooring, electrical work etc. Randy and I rented our first warehouse together where I set up a studio area. I did a lot of photography and started on glass paintings. 2009 Bobbi Walker called me and took me on as an artist. From there on it was a continuous journey deeper and deeper into the art world.
Who/what influences your work?
I am inspired by the space in-between, where the seen dissolves into the unseen.The complexity of reality and how it is perceived intrigues me. “Reality” stacks in uncountable layers which unveil themselves according to the comfort level of each person differently. It confronts the psyche on a subliminal level. The Fabric of Reality – I always liked this term. Some theories hold that reality and consciousness are one and the same. Which suggests that the universe is all inside our head.
Materials and how they came to live, their patina inspires me. My live thrives on diversity. Mixing media, and shifting focus is my influence. I like to challenge myself with the use of different media and materials. I like to think different today than I did yesterday. I love colors, textures, imperfections, meaning behind things. The contrast is the thing. And of course all the people I meet on a day to day basis. All the people I dont know but I see their work and they blow my mind….they all influence me deeply.
What is the NEW HINTERLAND?
At our new home in Morrison we have a barn on the land. We want to remodel it and use 2/3s of it as the new gallery/event space. It will be a total remodel. The electric has to be replaced, plumbing has to be added, plus insulation, a new roof, the roof rafters have to be re-engineered and rebuild, etc. So it will be a while…I plan on doing a crowdfunding campaign this fall to raise some money for the rebuild. The more money we are able to raise the earlier we can reopen. I would like to add an artist in residency program. We also want to use the space where seminars or small events can happen. As we are having a lot of outdoor space I would like to add outdoor installation and sculpture.
What is next for you?
Next for me is having a home with a working bathroom and a useable kitchen before the winter hits. We are remodeling the little house we life in, we had to totally gut it. At this point we are basically camping and the BBQ is my closest friend. We practically moved from a 10.000 sqft warehouse space into a tiny weeny 600 sqft house— but a lot of land. Our past live is stored in shipping containers.
Randy and I love the land we are on, it is amazing to wake up to nature every day. First being in nature is the best for us, second staying close to our local community keeps us content and happy. To look at trees and the big blue open sky. Seeing deer and cows when we step out and hearing all the birds is magnificent. It has already totally transformed our life. The land will transform the projects we will work on, the art we will do and all the future events we will support at our new location. We are thrilled that the move is behind us and and that we can focus on our new surrounding. To be in nature is the best for us!