Tomas & his mum in 70s Rimini

Tomas Schelp was born in October 1974, the Chinese wrote the Year of the Tiger. The place of action is the medium-sized city of Bielefeld in western Germany. At the end of the 2nd grade, Tom will be transferred to a school for learning difficulties. His salvation is a report that proves that Tom has an above-average IQ. During the same period, his mother was repeatedly forced into a psychiatric hospital. Tom compensates for his parents' early divorce with tests of courage by locking himself in a windowless bathroom and taking extremely hot baths.

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There are no grandparents in the area who could bring stability. Tom is suddenly part of a patchwork family without a room of his own, where there is a fight for resources and love. Not everything is bad, Tom is introduced to a colorful spectrum of music from the 70s and 80s by his new older half-brothers. Tom is 13 years old and wants an SLR camera for Christmas, but gets a compact camera. The compact camera limits his vision, but the household is poor and an SLR camera is a long way off. The Boy Scout group leader, Stefan Gabler, recognizes 15-year-old Tom's talent and lends him his SLR equipment for an indefinite period. This is the key moment, a self-portrait in the bathroom is created with this camera.

 “deadly boredom”

Tom is now 17 years old and is leaving his father's house. He moves in with his tutor, who runs a dilapidated townhouse. The place is a magnet for crazy people with a conservative veneer in the chaos. Creativity is in the air, even if it is mainly influenced by the natural sciences. Fractals are the great art here. Tom passes his technical college entrance qualification with a re-examination. After a second attempt, he successfully completed the Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences entrance exam for photo design. Tom qualifies for the two-day examination process thanks to his strong portfolio and individual work on the topic of “deadly boredom”. Tom stages the material in a cemetery at night and in fog by positioning televisions on graves. Full of hope that he will soon be able to study, Tom receives a letter from the central allocation office for study places with 8 waiting semesters, a soap bubble bursts. Tom is now 20 years old and is entering the “gateway to the world,” as Hamburg is so beautifully called. In search of orders, he wanders around editorial offices in Hamburg. A female photo editor admires his curly hair and says to him: “You should meet Uschi Obermaier.” He replies “Who is that?”, the editor smiles and says: “Come by again in six months.” Tom continues to photograph his way through Hamburg.

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According to a late will, the father disinherits his son. A small compulsory share enables Tom to move to the Brixton district of London, with Angelika Matz and 10,000 DM in his luggage. The two of them aren't exactly native speakers, to put it humorously, and Tom knows that they're skating on thin ice. In a 12sqm flophouse with no telephone and a moldy shower, the probability of success lasting longer than six months tends to be zero. The pressure is extremely high, which drives him through the city. He  mets thousands of decision-makers from all industries: record labels, agents, band managers, fashion designers, design studios, advertising agencies, magazines and modeling agencies. London requires strength that thin Tom doesn't actually have. So his lunch is often just the contents of a lunch box, which he eats in the cool and quiet Entrance Hall of the National Museum.

„my lunchbreaks are full of culture“

Tomas & his Martini posters

The tide turns, a first small order for the customer SonyPlaystation becomes a 96-sheet poster. Then Chaz Bayfield strikes and hires Tom for Martini. At the same time, Tom's mother is in town. So that she doesn't have to worry about him anymore, Tom decides to show her his new life. He quickly takes his mother with him to the meeting for Martini at the HHCL agency. The Martini photos will soon be on posters all over the city. The rest is history and is told around campfires.

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