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Karsten Breidenbroich - MalKarsten

I just want to paint

Anfang MalKarsten

"Hi, you want to know something about "my Arab house" in the Kiefernstraße?

With pleasure :-). Can I call you back tonight?"

It was that easy to get in touch with Karsten Breidenbroich, the artist of the Kiefern 12. It then took a few days for the call to come about. In an open, relaxed conversation, Karsten not only told me about the "making off" of his house, but also a little about himself, his way of painting and the fact that he was born in Krefeld and lived there for many years before it pulled him to Düsseldorf on the other side of the Rhine.

If you want to know a little more about MalKarsten, who went out to paint the world colorfully, take a lookhere: 

You can find the history of the origins of the "Arab House" in the picture gallery. Simply click on the pictures.

Thanks also to the photographer Jürgen-Wintermantel-Menze, who accompanied Karsten in the design of "his" house in the Kiefernstrasse and allowed me to use his pictures for this report. A report that would not have come about without these pictures. 

Mehr MalKarsten

Karsten Breidenbroich, a multi-talent in multicolor

"My own opinion, colors and daylight - that's important to me." says MalKarsten in an IInterview of the NiederRhein EDITION ONLINE.

His smallest picture is 70 x 100 cm. "Someday I'll paint the whole world." In September 2016, he at least created an oversized image with the huge house facade at Kiefernstrasse 12. Karsten paints people and animals as well as abstract motifs.

I could read in various interviews that he was difficult to reach. He wants to be found. Constant presence and availability are not his thing. You wouldn't just find his works on the World Wide Web at the push of a button, he'd rather pack up his works and drive to the interested party.

Okay, that's what I thought. My real goal is to find out more about the artwork of the pine trees. Who painted what, why and when. Can't be that hard, I thought to myself. Almost every house has a sign with the name of the artist under the house number, I ask politely, maybe I'll be lucky. As mentioned above, with Karsten it was really easy. Unexpectedly comes often :-).

So I was not only able to put together the "Making Off" of Kiefernstraße 12, but also learned some personal things and just had an interesting and friendly conversation with a special person.

But who exactly is this MalKarsten, who you obviously like to meet in paint-splattered clothes?

Born in 1972 and raised in Krefeld, Karsten Breidenbroich already excelled creatively in elementary school. In the musical field he started with a xylophone and later ended up with the guitar, which he obviously still enjoys playing today. In the course of growing up, it became clear to him that he wanted to turn his artistic talent into a profession. He first studied business administration at the Düsseldorf University of Applied Sciences, then interior design, and after graduating he moved to Düsseldorf, where he worked with great enthusiasm in his learned profession as a freelance interior designer for 10 years.

But then about 11 years ago his father fell ill with cancer. He accompanied him through this difficult time, got into brooding himself and recognized how important it is to let people who are important to you feel this and not to wait until it might be too late. Around   at the same time, Karsten heard about Zombie Boy, a well-known Canadian performance artist and model, who also had to cope with a heavy blow of fate. Like his father, he suffered from cancer. After receiving the diagnosis, he would not only have modeled but gradually had his entire body tattooed. Six months later the cancer was gone. Impressive ...


It was around this time that Karsten made the decision to retire from his regular working life and turn to art. Thankfully, his father had since recovered. Zombie Boy sadly passed away after falling from his balcony in August 2018. Karsten regrets not being able to meet him in person, but Zombie Boy liked his pictures on Facebook, one apparently the day before his death. Karsten's face, tattooed with a skull and crossbones, served as a template for one of his gloomy images. Soul mates among artists...

Karsten Breidenbroich became MalKarsten,who obviously still wonders when he is approached in a Düsseldorf pub and asked for a photo together. MalKarsten is actually much better known than he realizes himself.

One of the first headlines that struck me, , was that his clients would include Sylvester Stallone, Mickey Rourke, and Cher. So of course I got curious. Karsten says that he exhibited his paintings at a bar in his area, where a fashion designer from Fashion Week noticed him. His pictures should line the catwalk and he should paint jackets backstage. The fashion designer of Sylvester Stallone, who launched his fashion label "Sly Inc" in 2012, Silvia Fritz, impressed Karsten's works. Without further ado, she sent a few photos to Sly, who immediately phoned Karsten, invited him to LA and introduced him to the artist scene there. A jacket with Sly's likeness on it was a welcome consideration. It was of course a fascinating encounter for MalKarsten, although he admits that his heart was pounding. The fact that he was in LA on his 45th birthday of all times makes the trip all the more exciting. Nina Hagen, who had her birthday on the same day, was also present when the jacket was handed over to Sylvester Stallone. At the fashion week there, Karsten was able to enjoy all artistic freedom. Under the wing of Sly, he explored the LA art scene and embellished a number of clothes with his art. Sly gave Cher a second painting job. Jackets for Kate Perry, Mickey Rourke and Rolf Möller followed. Since the acrylic colors used are waterproof and washable at 40°, nothing stands in the way of the further production of individual designer pieces, just an original "MalKarsten",   Not exactly cheap, but extraordinary, even for the normal citizens affordable. I especially love his paintings with the so vivid onesmonkey portraits. On Mother's Day 2021, Karsten visited the Krefeld Zoo to conduct studies on the nature of these interesting animals, as he frankly told me on the phone. I would be happy to come. Unfortunately, I was unable to accept this special invitation due to a private appointment, but this shows his openness towards his audience. 


...and what inspires such an exceptional artist as Karsten from Düsseldorf?


Life itself, he says. With him everything sounds so simple, so unpretentious and yet his works are fascinating in so many different ways. Moving from one place to another he finds enough inspiration, he explains. Sometimes, sometimes not, but not that bad. Working out an image and its meaning by means of an attached text is not his thing. "If I want to say something, then I speak, the language is quite clear for that."

This statement absolutely fascinates me, as it gives me the opportunity to focus more freely on a work of art. This is how MalKarsten became an insider tip not only in the US artist scene.


Karsten lives on the 3rd floor of an old building in downtown Düsseldorf. This house has a beautiful courtyard and hall, once intended for the master students of the art academy. Originally 4 floors were used artistically, currently there are 2 floors. In addition to Karsten Breidenbroich, a close former employee of the Düsseldorf artist Jörg Immendorf lives there, while the other apartments are occupied by fellow citizens who are not artistically active.


He paints his pictures in 3D, his feelings are intense. "Even covering a wooden frame with the canvas triggers a feeling of happiness in me. When I paint, I feel that I'm alive. At some point I'll paint the whole world."

He has already painted his way to America, he will manage the rest. His first trousers decorated with splashes of color may have been a coincidence, but this colorful design has now become his trademark.​


Ultimately, that's exactly what makes him happy, says Karsten. The painting and not the money. Well, his unique pieces of clothing certainly make the ruble roll, but ultimately it translates back into color and material, creating new art and new joy. If money were the most important thing for him, he would paint it, he explained in an interview with Petra Verhasselt for the NiederRhein Edition online last year. His partner Spoo, also an artist, advertising specialist and communication designer sums it up. The money earned is only an "intermediate medium", without which artistic work is not possible. After all, canvas and paint don't grow on trees. But the art that Karsten creates is imperishable, it is eternal. The appreciation that people have for his art is the most important factor for Karsten. He makes it clear that the established art market, for example, doesn't really matter to him. He paints, and that's good. He also paints for you and me, a wall, a t-shirt, talk to him, it will be a special experience worth every penny.


Spontaneously I can think of a saying that is attributed to Albert Einstein:

"Creativity is intelligence having fun." 

I have nothing more to add :-).


Krefeld, June 2021


1. Telephone interview Samara Blue 05/17/2021

2.Interview Blog&Art from February 17th, 2020

3. NiederRhein Edition Online 02/2019, Text: Petra Verhasselt

SamaraBlue - MyWayOfArt/

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