I’m an artist and I’ve known that I was going to be an artist from a very young age. The trajectory of my career has been, primarily, a straight line. However, every slight curve in the road has only made me a more complete person, providing me with insights and abilities beyond painting.

I was born in Kiel, a town in northern Germany, and my European childhood opened my eyes to all things artistic — a pivotal visit to Paris for an Edouard Manet retrospective serves as a fine example of my youthful inspirations. I was determined to be a self-taught painter. I traversed Europe, visited museums and studied the masters.

Soon, my artistic dreams were buoyed by my business sensibilities. While producing my own artwork, I began a career as a curator, organizing large multi-media shows and art exhibits. I succeeded in the business world. Eventually, I would be managing 100 employees at Traumfabrik, a large cultural center. On average, 2,000 people visited the Traumfabrik on a Saturday night — and I was in charge of the entire operation.

Returning to my artistic pursuits, I moved to San Francisco in 1992 — with one bag of belongings and little knowledge of the English language. I embraced the challenges. I painted. And as I grew to appreciate my new surroundings, my artistic vision developed. I was soon being commissioned for portraits and my career was burgeoning.

I moved to Tiburon in Marin County and continued to flourish. I found myself earning a name in the arts community, which was rewarded by having one of my paintings chosen to grace the cover of Marin Magazine. Another of my works was a finalist in the same competition.

Wanting to embrace the community, I founded and organized the “Art in the Courtyard” event, a fundraiser inviting and uniting 10 Belvedere, Tiburon and Strawberry artists. The local event brought together the entire community for a successful arts-driven fundraiser benefiting the local library and raised over $1,000. I also produced a solo pop-up art exhibit in October of 2016 that drew hundreds of residents and visitors to Tiburon.

Today, I am proud to be a self-taught professional artist.

— Ingrid C. Lockowandt