Friday, March 06, 2009

Some time during my late teens (mid-1980s) - as I was developing the idea of an "artistic personae" (come on, lots of people do it!..) I decided to adopt a simple signature symbol.

Above all, it had to be something I could use for signing my drawings, but the type of "artsy" handwritten signature used by greats like Walt Disney, Andy Warhol or Picasso seemed a bit too pretentious to me.

Given my keen interest in WWII, and my love for the band Joy Division, I looked to the sinister world of the Nazi concentration camps for inspiration (this was where Joy Division had found their name - allegedly used for the Auschwitz brothel...)

So, I came up with this;

A black triangle...

It was simple and easy to draw, and I thought it looked cool too.

I had discovered that in the concentration camps, prisoners were identified not by their name, gender, or even race, but by the nature of the crime which had put them there...

A system of coloured triangles had been created which the prisoners had to wear stitched to the breast of their uniforms. Each colour represented a specific type of "crime group" and the only exception to this rule were the Jewish prisoners who wore the Star of David - two yellow triangles intersected...


if you were in a concentration camp and wore a black triangle, you were:

an asocial element


-Conscription resisters
-The habitually "work-shy"
-Vagrants and beggars
-Roma/ Gypsies (later given a brown triangle)
-The mentally retarded
-The mentally ill
-Aristocrats (...)

These characters were apparently not too popular in a nationalist, socialist "people's state" so they were locked up behind a gate with that famous sign on top saying "Arbeit Macht Frei" (work makes you free)

I liked the obvious (to me..), parallels between the Nazi camps and my own experiences of living in a (post) socialist-protestant welfare state deadlocked by recession and mass-unemployment, and I've been using the black triangle signature ever since.

(Horst Wessel Lied played with a flute and bongos, then drum roll)

Retro babe"...Ach so!..powder blue triangle - exotic dancers..."
Panzer Pzkpfw I, Ausf A
A pre-WWII photo. I have no explanation for the flag mounted on the Panzer I, maybe it was used for war games or manoeuvres.

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