I met Helmut when I was 17. I moved to Vienna to study „Music in Media“ and oddly enough I was the first and only student after the university opened this new branch. Helmut was my main subject lecturer at that time but in hindsight I would describe him as my then-mentor because it was more then just giving lessons. We got along pretty well, we both complained about the school he was working at and I was studying at (haha), we talked about all sorts of stuff and we could go on for hours – it was fun.
At that time I thought the class with him was lacking production-theory-stuff, he never explained how something works because in his opinion you could find all of that on the internet if you want - and he was right.
He would rather spend the time talking about music from a philosphical point of view and I learned so much and STILL to this day I benefit from these conversations with him.
It‘s funny, after my graduation we rarely met because I had a lot of stuff to do and the same with him – sometimes we managed to drink a beer together but that was it. Last week we finally had a coffee again and he mentioned the „Angewandte Wien“ - I interrupted him and asked „Angewandte?“, he replied: „Yeah, I was painter once and studied there. I did pretty well, also sold a couple of paintings and had a deal with a cool gallery in sight.“ I was kind of speechless because I didn‘t know that. Even after talking for hours about stuff with him, he didn‘t ever mention once (as i can remember) he was making art as a young adult. I asked why he didn‘t paint when i was around, because i also never saw him doing it and he told me: „well, after a year or so I changed my main subject to glasings workshop because I was bored of ‚normal painting‘. The class took place in the first district and I was the only one there with my main lecturer - actually it‘s kind of a similar situation with you here - as I realise now Marco. I really liked this teacher and we talked a lot about art in general – even though we never painted together - which made sense because I would do it anyways afterwards when I got home. Sadly the guy passed away after two years due to a weird sickness and it hit me really hard. I stopped painting that day and had the idea of doing music from then on.“
(He played flute since he was a child but started saxophone the next day, praticed 6 hours a day for a couple of years and now he is one of the greatest musicians I know, it‘s so funny)
We finished drinking coffee and he offered to show me some of his left over paintings he still has hung up in his flat. So we went to his place and there were just a few pieces on the wall, all sorts of styles and beautiful color combinations - it really, really touched me. I stood there and couldn‘t believe that I have never ever even noticed the paintings on the wall and I must have been there at least a thousand times for lessons – I guess I wasn‘t that interested in art back then.
Earlier this day I packed one of the books I just made (24 sad faces) because I wanted to give it to him later. That‘s what I did and he was kind of overwhelmed that I also started to draw and there was this awkward moment of silence where we both had to process this weird situation (haha) It wasn‘t too long and we started talking about art for one hour, until we had to leave because we both had appointments.
Right before I left he gave me an envelope and said: „you can do what you want with it, it‘s the only photos I got of paintings I made that time in the 70s. Be careful but you can have them!“
So that‘s the point of this whole story, these are photos of paintings Helmut made 42 years ago: