Manja McCade

Manja McCade

I was born in ’76, a tiny farming community in Gardelegen, then East Germany, Pretty typical family of the time, three generations in one house. As a young ‘farm’ girl my life was school, feeding animals, helping to prepare food for the table, constantly day dreaming of seeing Depeche Mode live one day, it’s difficult to explain but ‘then’ that really was ‘dreaming.’

I enjoyed school very much, art the most but I struggled with it, only my art teacher thought I had any ‘talent,’ no one else did, my school friends would laugh at my pictures most of the time because I didn’t paint horses and sky like everyone else could see them, I just painted what ‘I’ wanted to, I was a little rebellious looking back now, I suppose.

When I was 13 my art teacher (Mr. Ossminzki) put me forward for ‘the’ test, for a place at Kunsthochschule Halle Burg Giebichtenstein, no one was more surprised than me when they offered me a place there to study, but (Mr. Ossminzki) had reservations about me going, he worried I might end up actually painting horses, at the same time, ’89, the Wall came down, my world, as a young teenager exploded, what were once just silly dreams became real possibilities, I remember vividly still today my parents driving twenty miles to the nearest ‘big’ town, to buy bananas, probably not the ‘dreams’ you were thinking of?

I didn’t take my place at art school, the wall came down I put my brushes down, I was just a teenager, ‘planning’ to see Depeche Mode for the first time. I began to express my art in myself getting involved in the Gothic scene, everything black, again looking back maybe I think I was rebelling against the ‘colour’ that had entered my life so unexpectedly, everything was changing so fast, it was a wonderful time, I was just a teenager having fun, me, and Dave Gahan on my wall. After school I trained in law, moving on to work in Public Relations for Deutsche Telekom, where I studied English. I think it’s difficult to explain, but just having what most people expected to have, a normal life, was so special for any little girl or boy that grew up in the shadow of the wall. I didn’t paint for twenty years.

In 2009 I met the man that was to be my husband, an Englishman, an A&R man in the music industry, I was living then in Uelzen, the ‘big’ town near to the village I was born. I always dreamed of living in Leipzig, the ‘big’ city, my husband had a project come up in 2011 that brought us to Leipzig for a week. We fell in love with the city straight away, we moved here within weeks of that visit. We moved into this huge apartment right in the centre of the city, thinking about decorating my husband said ‘We need pictures on the walls!’ I said ‘I paint’ - he laughed, never seen me ‘near’ a brush. We bought some canvas and acrylic paint the next day and whilst my husband was hanging curtains I propped up the first canvas on a chair and painted my first picture for over twenty years, ‘Atlantis.’ I put a nail in the wall in our lounge and hung it up. When my husband saw the picture he was speechless, in a good way, he is the sweetest, but he is ‘brutally’ honest, I loved that he loved it but it was just a canvas with paint on to me, I’m not confident I will ‘ever’ step back from a canvas and be satisfied in what ‘I’ see. The next day I came home to find my husband had spent a small fortune at the art shop, the most expensive of everything they had, brushes, knives, every colour, with a canvas ready to go sitting on a beautiful easel. I began painting again, 'now' my life is wholly organised between inspiration to paint.