Visionary art
In 1992, an instructor made the suggestion to place oneself in some sort of extreme situation as a means of self-discovery. Axel Neumann made the radical decision to place himself in an environment of complete darkness, silence and isolation for a three weeks. During this experience, a world of images revealed themselves to him.

To this day, he continues to paint what he saw then.

Since he could not reproduce the dynamics of the luminous worlds seen during his retreat with any painting technique known to him at that time, he had to develop his own painting technique: this was how fountain pen painting came about. Since that experience, he can not only see colors, but hear them as well.

Nowadays this "experiment" might seem extrem. But in the antiquity this intensive kind of introspection was a regular practice. People used it to find answers to important, vital issues or to cure severe diseases. They called it incubation or „temple sleep“. At that time, people interpreted the ideas, visions and feelings which were evoked by the deep immersion into their own subconsciousness as the conversation with the gods.

Click here to read what Yulia Ustinova, archaeologist and expert for alternate states of consciousness in the ancient Greek culture from the university of Negev, states about Axels art.
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My friend Axel is an incredibly talented artist. His art fascinates me because it is the result of a borderline experience. If someone locks himself into darkness and silence ventures the legendary ride on a razor blade. Axel has risked a great deal and gained everything. Now his paintings are here and they are breathtaking.

As a person I am impressed by his enormous performance. To paint up to 18 hours at a stretch by day and this over years, is mental endurance at its best. For me Axel is an extreme artist who deserves highest respect.

Joey Kelly, extreme athlete and adventurer in the journal “Schreibkultur”, 4/2017

To paint with a fountain pen

Generally, the fountain pen is known as a writing instrument. Certainly, there are some artists who draw with the pen, yet to paint with it is something special. The artist calls his artwork “fountain pen paintings” not only because he paints them with the pen, but also because their unique aesthetics can only be created with the fountain pen.

Without a preliminary drawing, the artist joins countless strokes, none bigger than 1-2 mm, according to an own system. Fountain pen painting is a ritual of artistic precision and care, performed in meditative slowness. It takes months, sometimes years, to produce a large format. The motif’s surreal aesthetic is unique. They are pictures of dynamic worlds and fantastic shapes. They evoce mystical structures from nature.

Axel Neumann works with acrylic paint. The combination is technically nonsensical because the pigments would actually clog the fountain pen. How he still manages to merge the materials remains his secret. The colours go through a multi-stage mixing act before they are applied to the cardboard.

Download his complete vita: Artist Axel Neumann 2017.pdf

In the following TV report, he enlarges on what he experienced when he locked himself in his flat and how it changed his life (unfortunately the video is only in German – sorry for that).

This feature is a live recording of the German TV station NDR. It was broadcasted in August 2012 in preparation of an art show, which his lovely fellow actress Cosma Shiva Hagen – the daughter of the singer Nina Hagen – organized for him.
Length: approx. 16 Minutes
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Who would paint with ink and a fountain pen? There might be one or two illustrators who do that. But to abandon ink for acrylic paint is a genius idea, the result of which we can do nothing but admire.
This is how the journalist H.P. Lichtwald described the pioneering achievement of fountain pen painting.