painting sea under

Too young to die – too old to rock’n roll + scam alert

paintings, bookmarks, NFT

No, don’t worry, it won’t be a self-portrayal and it’s not the title of my autobiography, and no advertising for Jethro Tull either – the older semesters must have mentally screamed out immediately: “Vice versa, man! It must be: Too old to rock’n roll, too young to die”. [1]

What it’s really about is 2 stacks of unfinished work. How that? Ideally, I start a painting and finish it in one session. But often the paint has to dry first and by then I’ve already started another painting and I’m somewhere on a long journey or I just don’t know how to go on or I’m just too tired to continue working.

Then the next day when I look at the unfinished work I’m in a different mood or whatever. I used to just throw a lot away. Now it’s going to be piled up and mentally I call this pile “too young to die“.

At some point, I try to continue, and again nothing may come of it, worse than it is almost painted to death. But something still excites me and I hope to someday be able to do the few vital life-saving surgeries – and then the work comes on the pile: “too old to rock’n roll”. That easy 😊
Today I would like to show 2 samples that not only survived this long journey but are now among my favorites.

painting #1

I’ve reworked it 3 times and the last 2 times it was just a few brush strokes that changed the direction of travel and saved the image from perishing.

painting sea under

painting #2

Is a typical example of tormenting, thinking about giving up… Anyone who grows houseplants knows the phenomenon: a plant, and it doesn’t even have to be your favorite plant, is dying. Leaves turn brown, dry up… In and of itself, the problem would be easy to solve: throw it away and buy a new flower pot. But no, now the Samaritan’s heart begins to beat violently and the poor plant must be saved from perishing. This is my “…rock ‘n roll” stack.

painting by friedrich zettl out of water

painting #3

The life in this picture seems to have been saved in principle, but the necessary life-sustaining interventions are still missing. I have a few possible solutions in mind but am having a hard time deciding. [2] So back to the pile “…rock’n roll

work in progress into the light

Scam alert

For my artist colleagues here: In less than 1 year 3 different people tried to cheat me in connection with my art. Since I’ve been selling online (antiques, collectibles) for 25 years now, I basically know all the tricks and yet I almost fell for it in the first case. Similar trick/situation the 2nd time – both would make a funny story. I may be “too old for rock ‘n roll”, but I’m not “thick as a brick”, to say it with Jethro Tull again 🙂

Why I’m taking up the topic here is that the new scam is different and other colleagues may also become targets. I received an offer this week, someone wanted to buy 2 of my paintings as NFT (non-fungible token). [3] He offered $3000 a job. No problem. I would have to mint them. Basically no problem, but it’s not really cheap to mint NFT. He named me a site where I could mint my 2 NFT and he would then immediately buy it. Communication has stalled since I requested a purchase guarantee.

and a little extra for bookmark lovers

After uploading my youtube video on bookmarks, I got the urge to try some new ones. Here is a selection of the latest. With this series, I tried to become lighter, airier, or like a warm summer breeze. The constructivist aspect was brought more to the fore and the “palette” kept narrower. Of course, one may wonder how a half-grown man would play with flowers so doggedly, but I learn more from it than one might think.

New update at bookmarks

and a little extra extra

I received the flyer for my Chongqing exhibition. One thing is for sure: this flyer won’t win the academy award 🙂 Well, let’s see. The opening of the exhibition is right now, as I am preparing this article.


[1] Jethro Tull is a British rock band formed in 1967. Initially playing blues rock and jazz fusion, the band soon incorporated elements of English folkhard rock, and classical music, forging a signature progressive rock sound.

[2] Basically, I see 3 possibilities. 1) The simplest is to set accents with black, which gives them strength and life of the warm tone. 2) to create an additional level with the contrasting color violet through to wine red. 3) Staying in the warm tones and working out the communication of the pictorial elements.

[3] As I mentioned earlier, I don’t think much of NFT in terms of its function as a store of value. A year ago, some achieved millions at auction. Interest has already waned and the big auction houses are starting to avoid the subject.

related: a couple of new works


57 responses to “Too young to die – too old to rock’n roll + scam alert”

  1. valenciartist avatar

    Must say that I did enjoy the paintings you shared, quite interesting and admirable indeed. Lovely work. I too was scammed, but saw right through it before it came to fruition. I think the bottom line is to have the client/collector deposit directly into your bank account and nothing further. Thank you for the tips! All the best!

    1. Zettl Friedrich avatar

      I thank you! These guys are actually very stupid. If you can get them into a dialogue, you can see very quickly that they have no idea about the art world.

      1. valenciartist avatar

        That is true, the thing is never fall for the I sent you 5.000 and your price is 3.000 so deposit the 2.000 in my account. These guys even sent me fake money orders to the United States!

      2. Zettl Friedrich avatar

        Oh, I know that too! The guy with these NFTs: He’s welcome to buy both originals for $5000 and mint the NFT himself. Then he has the originals AND the NFT. Kind of stupid….But I also heard similar from someone else who was contacted about NFT, so I wrote it here.

      3. valenciartist avatar

        It’s good to know, I am beginning to get quite interested in NFTs so I will research further. Thank you, and it is wise to inform. Have a great Saturday!

      4. Zettl Friedrich avatar

        Inform yourself well beforehand! NFT has become a hype and the information you get about it is correspondingly deceptive. Minting an NFT costs $2-300. The crux is in the sale.

      5. valenciartist avatar

        Yes it sure is, and thank you Zettl, I appreciate the information.

  2. mic avatar

    👌👌👌🖌️🎨🖼️ wow

    1. Zettl Friedrich avatar

      Thank you so much! Have a great weekend!

  3. wanderlustig avatar

    Bild #2 hat mich besonders angesprochen, sehr schön!

    1. Zettl Friedrich avatar

      Danke, das freut mich! Selber weiss ich ja nie, welche Bilder “besser” sind und welche nicht. Bei Ihren Photos geht es Ihnen wahrscheinlich aehnlich. In beiden Faellen spielen immer die Umstaenden, unter denen sie entstanden, mit eine Rolle.

  4. Michael Sammut avatar

    Very interesting and intriguing paintings. Exquisite bookmarks.

  5. Zettl Friedrich avatar

    Thank you so much for you encouraging words! Much appreciated!

  6. JMN avatar

    The paintings you comment on are luminous and engaging. What medium are they and on what surface? I love your phrase “painted to death.” It maps to my own tired phrase “overworked,” which itself I overwork! Thanks and regards.

    1. Zettl Friedrich avatar

      Thank you very much! I basically use inks. Different kinds of highest quality. The black parts are mosly Chinese ink which I grind myself. Yes, overworked is a problem and now I am trying to overcome this. I have set myself the task of simply not giving up because there is a solution for every problem. An interesting approach I think…

      1. JMN avatar

        Thank you for elaborating. I’m intrigued by your inks, especially the one you make yourself. It suggests a whole set of queries that I’ll not burden you with. I subscribe to your notion of not giving up easily on a project. All my beginnings and most of my endings are inauspicious. My affection for oils is that they let me cover up my endless mistakes. I don’t know if your inks are as forgiving, but neither do you require as much forgiveness as I do! Thanks and kind regards.

  7. luisa zambrotta avatar

    I love your paintings, and i thank you for the “extras” too 🙏❤️❤️❤️

    1. Zettl Friedrich avatar

      Thank you! You are very kind – as always! 🙏❤️❤️❤️ (But you see: I have to copy emojis as I even cannot ad them on my own. I could paint some next time 🙂

      1. luisa zambrotta avatar

        You’re more than welcome ❣️

  8. bersinink avatar

    I love your idea about the 2 stacks of unfinished work being called Too Young to Die and Too Old to RockNRoll! Now I know what to do with all the unfinished writing projects I have that are just staring at me. Your work is so beautiful, and you’re such a wealth of knowledge, thank you for sharing with us…I enjoy all of your work ❣

    1. Zettl Friedrich avatar

      Thank you so much for your encouraging words! I’m glad to hear that you don’t find my idea completely stupid. But since you have a similar problem, you can understand it: Where was this sheet of paper with you…, get angry….And one shouldn’t take everything too seriously anyway 🙂

  9. Martha Kennedy avatar

    The painting I’m working on now has been more than a year in process. It scared me. BUT…the Jethro Tull song that moves it along is “Skating Away.” It’s important (as you say in the comment above) not to take things too seriously.

    1. Zettl Friedrich avatar

      Thank you! Well: skating away, here? Mostly people of our age! Think it over again….

  10. Rosaliene Bacchus avatar

    Thanks for sharing your work process. In Painting #1, I dive into the deep as land meets the water. In Painting #2 the light penetrates the deep, but there’s something missing that I can’t explain. The warm tones of Painting #3 grabs my attention, animating me with its vibrancy, lightness, and balance.

    1. Zettl Friedrich avatar

      Thank you very much for your kind words ant the way you see them! I can see you totally understand my world 🙂

  11. annieasksyou avatar

    Delightful work and explanations once again. Relieved that the catchy title was metaphorical. It reminded me of a favorite expression a friend who’s considerably older than I am likes to use: “ I’m too old to die young!”

    1. Zettl Friedrich avatar

      Thank you very much! The expression of you friend is nice!

  12. swabby429 avatar

    I like the bookmarks, particularly the third one in the first row. Also, your struggles with unfinished works is relatable to some of my own creative efforts. Oftentimes a pause helps bring about a fresh viewpoint from which to continue.

    1. Zettl Friedrich avatar

      Thank you very much! Yes, taking breaks is a good thing! At the moment I’m in a very productive phase and what I see today as a good start is already yesterday’s news tomorrow 🙂 That’s why “…rock’n roll” stack – in case I run out of ideas at some point..

  13. Linda Grashoff avatar

    Painings #1 and #2—and even #3—have an underwater feeling that I just love.

    1. Zettl Friedrich avatar

      Thank you so much! Yesterday I looked through your photos again and there are more that I like 🙂

  14. Ana Hernandez avatar

    Dear Friederich Zettl,

    I appreciate your entry “Too Young to Die…” It is a bit like the way I write: Iadvance one or two pages, put it away, return to see what was there in a different frame of mind. So I rewrite yesterday’s pages and advance to the next page or two with the process always repeating. Two steps forward, one step back. I wouldn’t call it rock and roll in my case but a waltze. A slow waltze.

  15. Zettl Friedrich avatar

    Thank you very much Ana Hernandez! Yes, a waltz would be good for me too. My triptych “Waltzing Corona” is currently hanging in my China exhibition 🙂 Seriously, your concept is of course a good one. Hopefully one or the other politician will read about your approach. 🙂

  16. Edith avatar

    Auch ich bin begeistert von den Bildern, vom Maler, der so etwas fertigbringt. Manche muten wie Unterwasserlandschaften an, sie wiegen sich im Auge hin und her wie Wellen…
    Ich hoffe, Sie sind mir nicht böse, wenn meine Fantasie mit mir durchgeht, lächel….
    Herzlichst, Edith

    1. Zettl Friedrich avatar

      Vielen herzlichen Dank! Nein, warum sollte ich böse sein? Erstens trifft Ihre Aussage ins Schwarze – und dann sind Bilder ja grundsätzlich dazu da, das man seine Phantasie spielen lassen kann. Zumindest in guten Bildern 🙂 🙂

      1. Edith avatar

        Dann ist alles gut!!!…. 🙂

  17. loujen haxm'Yor avatar

    Painting #3 gives my imagination the experience of an abstract koi pond. Nice!

    1. Zettl Friedrich avatar

      Thank you very much! Ha, I am presently working on paintings with koi in a pond. And this topic has been in my mind for a while. Hope I can present my koi pond painting soon.

  18. poetisatinta avatar

    Love the concept, and the art thanks for sharing 🙂

    1. Zettl Friedrich avatar

      Thank you so much! Have a great weekend!

  19. Carolyn Kaiser Harmon avatar

    Friederich — Who wouldn’t want to read a book with such an elegantly and painstakingly designed bookmark, such as your creations? I will go on to ask, Who wouldn’t want to know someone with a bookmark like that sticking out of their book? Thank you once again for the inspiration in all of your works and the time you take to explan. ❤️

    1. Zettl Friedrich avatar

      Thank you once again, Carolyn! Your words so kind keep me alive, more so, painting….:)

  20. avatar

    Friedrich, you packed a lot into this post-my first look at your art and prose. I can relate to Tull and that era quite comfortably. Your “Too Young to Die” pieces remind me of some of my writing…most later attempts end up deleted. Glad you kept going with the two you revealed…well done. The book markers are very pleasant to the eye. I wonder about the black characters…almost look oriental…would you enlighten me? thank you.

    1. Zettl Friedrich avatar

      Thank you for your kind words! Yes, I can imagine that every writer, painter, musician…..knows that 😀 About the black characters – they are my Chinese artist’s name. Why? I studied Sinology and studied at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing. Painted Chinese style for many years. So there is still a touch of Chinese art in my work.

  21. Michael Doran avatar

    Friedrich, I can relate to Tull, as well. I am glad you kept going back to the “Too Young to Die’ paintings as they turned out well. I like your book markers, too. I can’t discern the Chinese characters, but the must mean something important to you. Beautiful art !

    1. Zettl Friedrich avatar

      Thank you very much! Sorry for delay in replying – your comment went ti the spam folder. The Chinese characters mostly just are my name and date….Tey have some decorative value though.

  22. stockdalewolfe avatar

    Love your paintings… glad they didn’t die. The bookmarks are lovely, too.

    1. Zettl Friedrich avatar

      Thank you very much for your kind words 😊 Enjoy a great weekend!

  23. vileite avatar

    Very interesting!

    1. Zettl Fine Arts avatar

      Thank you very much!

  24. Harshi avatar

    I love panting 3 and all the book marks! <3

    Kind of you to alert fellow artists about scams.

  25. Zettl Fine Arts avatar

    Thank you very much! I am happy to hear you like my work. You are more than welcome!

  26. viewfromoverthehill avatar

    Like the work. Colourful. Nice.

    1. Zettl Fine Arts avatar

      Thanks a lot! I am glad you like them.

  27. stockdalewolfe avatar

    Love the colors in the paintings. The inks seem to my ignorant eye to be colors quite different from oil colors or watercolors. I find them dazzling to the eye.😍

    1. Zettl Fine Arts avatar

      Thank you very much! I mostly use ink (best quality) and Chinese ink and Japanese.

  28. saitama avatar

    My colleague shared your article with me and I found it very useful after reading it. Great article, it helped me a lot. I also hope to make a beautiful website like your blog, hope you can give me some advice, my website.

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