Jumper and hands are covered in flecks of paint. Christopher Lehmpfuhl hunkers down between basaltic rock and ash and uses his fingers to paint the outline of his surroundings on the canvas. The Berlin artist even dares to go to the edge of a volcanic crater for his paintings. For example, to Iceland, where the vast expanse of the countryside fascinates him and has been an inspiration for his painting. Always at Christopher's side: his 4x4 Sprinter. Without his van, Christopher would not be able to reach many of the places he loves to paint. He drives down bumpy roads, navigates slopes and crosses small streams. Sometimes he drives up to 1,000 km a day. Thanks to the powerful 194 horsepower transporter, this kind of trip is easy.
The materials that Christopher uses to paint with are kept in his Sprinter. The van takes him a long way, but not everywhere. Some places can only be reached by the 45-year-old on foot. Not such an easy task - considering a canvas can weigh up to 50 kg. That's because of the heavy oil paints that Christopher applies thickly layer by layer to the canvas. This is how he creates the dynamics in his paintings and the motifs appear even more real. Because Christopher directly experiences the places he paints he creates an intense connection to his work. For example, when painting a winter scene: "When it's very cold it feels almost like I'm painting with ice cream," he says. If it gets too cold to paint outside, Christopher moves his studio into the heated Sprinter.
When it's very cold it feels almost like I'm painting with ice cream.
Even though Christopher usually paints in the countryside, the size of his paintings is restricted. As he transports them safely secured in his Sprinter, the canvases can be a maximum of 2.50 m x 1.80 m - basically the size of the Sprinter's loading area. But canvas is not the only surface that comes into contact with paint: Christopher frequently still has paint on his hands when he opens the doors of the van. That's why Christopher's Sprinter has also become a kind of work of art itself. Just where Christopher - who has won several art awards - will be heading next is not decided yet. But wherever it is, he knows he can rely on his Sprinter.
Photos: Florian Selig