Let’s get to know Niels Oeltjen, one of our Poketo for Target artists. Niels “Nails” Oeltjen was born in Germany, and is now based in Australia. He has shown in numerous solo and group shows in Australia and overseas. His work is informed by his early experimentations with graffiti, and as an active member of the local art community, he is constantly involved with projects in publishing, exhibitions, apparel, and murals.
Below is a letter from Niels to Poketo, describing his perfect day. Read on, and check out these beautiful photographs by Scottie Neoh and Niels.
Dear Angie and Ted,
How are you guys? It’s been too long. We went to our friends Scottie and Natalia’s place in the Tallarook Ranges last week and I wanted to tell you about it to tempt you to come visit us again. The place is a sanctuary for us and when we are there we never want to leave.
Tallarook is just over an hour’s drive from our place so we started early. The drive along the M31 is dull but after an hour you turn off onto a road that meanders between twisted gum trees and crushing granite boulders. A bit uphill the view opens up and you can see bush and rocky hills for miles. There was an Echidna rambling along the road so we got out of the car to introduce him to Arlo (he’s almost one now!).
Scottie and Natalia’s long driveway was covered with hundreds of the season’s newly hatched butterflies, and they took off with a paper flutter in front of the car. It was pretty surreal. Then when Carly rolled down the window that dusty sweet smell of the bush blew into the car. I could pick out the distinct odour of the rusty soil, warm eucalyptus leaves, and the dry pollen of the wild grasses. As we parked we were greeted by River (the Border Collie) wagging her tail like mad.
Natalia came out with a pot of tea and I felt immediately relaxed. We shared it at their outdoor table set among big grey trees. While the girls took Arlo for a walk I went with Scottie up to the barn they built last year (or maybe the year before?). They have set it up so they each have a studio with lots of light and big tables, and the fragrance of wool, leather, and wood hangs in the air.
We lingered for a bit comparing junkshop finds and discussing art etcetera. It’s always the same with us — there’s never enough time to talk about all the things we want to talk about. After, we got out the spray paint and had a relaxed session painting the water tank behind the studio. Every once in a while we were interrupted by a screeching Cockatoo or a Kookaburra in the canopy.
We were expecting our friends Milo, Polly, Hiro and Kelly for lunch so we sparked up the grill. They brought some fresh organic salads, and we all enjoyed the bbq and the warm afternoon sun.
For the boys the afternoon was spent painting the water tank while the girls had tea on the grass nearby, which eventually became dinner. As the light started fading we all scrambled up to one of the big boulders to watch the sun slowly withdraw its light from the paddocks and then drop behind the hills before winking out. Back at the shack the wood fire was going and we settled in for a card game and a couple of bottles of wine.
Does that sound tempting? Anyway, hope to see you both back in Oz real soon.
Niels, we wish we were there with you. Thank you for sharing this with us, and for adding your vibrant sensibilities to the Poketo for Target collection! Readers, be sure to check out Niels’ gorgeous tote bag design here.
More from Niels Oeltjen here.