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Michael Moebius was born in 1968 in East Germany. Drawing cartoons as a hobby in his youth, his focus soon shifted to more pragmatic forms of illustration, later taking a career in engineering and construction. It was during this period that he came across the work of Alberto Vargas, which sparked Moebius’s love for figurative art, and changed the budding artist’s life forever.
Impassioned by painting, he enrolled at the Dresden Academy of Fine Arts, but was soon conscripted into the East German military as a tank driver, forcing him to put his new ambition on pause. After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, Moebius made the decision to move to the United States, where he would dedicate his life to painting.
His immense talent quickly became evident, and he was soon sought-after by collectors and publications alike. Moebius became a mainstay in major exhibitions throughout the United States, as well as the pages of Playboy, Vanity Fair and Vogue. Moebius still lives and works in America, and spends much of his time travelling the world to exhibit at high-end galleries and events, from the Opera Gallery in London to the Mouche Gallery, Beverly Hills.
Moebius is renowned for his hyper-realistic images of celebrities blowing bubblegum bubbles over their mouths. To create these portraits, he first sketches the image before painting it to completion, usually in monochrome or sepia. Though he primarily works with acrylic and illustration boards, the artist has more recently begun dabbling in larger pieces using oil on canvases. Moebius’s unique portrayal of internationally-recognisable subjects has become particularly popular with investors, depicting these cultural icons in an entirely new light.
One of the most fascinating aspects of Moebius’s art is the tension and incongruity between the communist and Western aspects of his influences. The more he was pressured to follow communist ideals in his youth, the more enchanted he became with Western popular culture, further strengthening his resolve to draw. Speaking about his upbringing, Moebius said: “Almost all of the items which we received from the west part of the world such as magazines, toys, soda cans were forbidden in East Berlin. As a child and growing up I would dearly hold onto the then-forbidden items… these really influenced me with their colors, designs and scents.”
Some of his main artistic influences include Italian Renaissance artist Titian and Baroque painter Caravaggio, as well as more contemporary figures like Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol and Alberto Vargas.