”I’m not a sentimental person by any stretch of the imagination. But I am sentimental about Max & Me. I started daeuArt Gallery because of Max & Me, 35 years after I started making art.
Several years ago, I was told that I was Max Ophuls, a brilliant film director, in my past life. Listening to my friend describing Max’s life to me on the phone that day made all kinds of emotions bubble up, and I am not an emotional person either — at all.
Daeu Angert. Max&Me. Diary Collection. 2019. Mixed medium on canvas. 72in x 48in (182.88cm x 121.92cm)
My oldest memory is framing long shots following a woman walking on a cobblestone sidewalk in high heels to avoid getting her heel stuck in between the stones. For some reason, the Universe has always pushed me towards filmmaking, in one way or another. When I started making art, I felt that the paintings should move. I was never satisfied that they were static. That’s why I liked film.
What brought tears to my eyes was when she said that Max died of a broken heart. His efforts were not received, she said. It’s true; Max is one of the best directors of all time but not nearly known as his contemporaries.
During that call, I felt compelled and called to make things right for Max and let everyone know how great he and his work were.
I do believe in reincarnation, but there is no way to know for sure. I took this new revelation as an inspiration and a springboard to new creative adventures.
For a long time, I contemplated making a documentary. I came up with my story structure for branded films that are neither infomercials nor brand stories, and I was looking for stories to tell. I was looking to do it for other people. A great friend of mine, an actress, producer, and director herself, who was also on the same call with us, encouraged me on many occasions to make films about myself. Tell your story — she’d say. I wasn’t ready then. But now, the lightbulb came on. I had a story.
Max & Me.
I started to research Max’s life and found many similarities between us. We are both Jewish. We were both discouraged by our families to pursue art – acting for him, directing for me. We both changed our names, left our birth countries in a backdrop of war, and eventually landed in Los Angeles… That endeared him to me even more.
Fast forward a couple of years…
My family and I moved to a new house, with big empty walls.
I grabbed a couple of canvases and paint and decided to paint Max & Me, an art companion to a documentary, Max & Me.
This time, I didn’t follow my process. Usually, I would think things through, make studies and drawings, sometimes even 3D models to wrap my head around it, and by the time I grab a canvas, the painting is already real in my mind. I don’t know if it’s because I didn’t follow this process or what, but I struggled with it considerably. It was all black. It was all white. It was all blue. Back to black. Back to white…I couldn’t feel it.
Finally, I sat down on the garage floor next to my parked car in front of the painting leaned against the workbench in my frustration. I just sat there in silence, and at some point, I remember saying to the painting — tell me what you want to be…The next thing I know — it was done, as if by magic. Black & White. Graphic. Literal. Abstract. With a touch of cobalt blue showing. Just a touch.
I hung it in my office.
daeuArt Origin Story
Another year goes by.
Holiday time. I don’t particularly like the holidays, so I was feeling blah. As a general rule, when one feels blah, one must redecorate one’s office. Clear the clutter. Organize. Start fresh. Right?
That’s what I did, and in doing so, I moved Max & Me from my office into a dining room. It looked great there. The moment I was hanging the painting, balancing myself on the step stool to reach, my hubby and brother in law walked into the house from a round of golf. My hubby looked at Max & Me on the wall and, in passing, said, “Why don’t you make this one of the things that you do?”
I said, “What?” trying to keep my balance on the stool.
Painting – he said – you’re pretty good.
I never considered making money from my art. I would give my paintings away to people if they liked them enough. As a kid, I gave one to my school bus driver before making it home.
Plus, my hubby never said anything like that to me before. Usually, just like any well-meaning family member talking to a polymath, he’d say, “Why can’t you pick one of the things to be your thing?” Kiss of death to a polymath.
Then my brother in law agreed; I think you should do it.
My daughter agreed; you should do it, mom, she said.
They outnumbered me, but they didn’t have to twist my arm.
I went to an art supplies store that day, bought some stuff, made some paintings, and sold them on my own —the quickest monetization of an idea I ever had.
And here we are… 35 years after I made my first painting in the daeuArt Gallery on interwebs. Welcome!
I also never considered naming my paintings or talking about them to anyone, let alone publically. Most of my art is autobiographical — a diary, if you will — just too personal. Sharing it is a stretch for sure and uncomfortable.
What I know for sure is that every painting has a story and a story to tell, and I’m here to share them with you…
Starting with my favorite, Max & Me.