Stories about the people who helped make us who we are.

The story behind the project.

If not for my childhood trumpet teacher, Edward Treutel, every single thing in my life would be completely different. Who I know. What I know. What I’ve done. How I think. Who I am.

Between age 5 and 17, he had, by far, the biggest positive influence on me. More than my parents. More than my school teachers. More than my friends.

He died in 1997. But I didn’t truly realize how much he’d meant to me until long afterward. So I never had a chance to tell him. It’s a daily lament.

I wanted to create a way for folks to share the stories of the people who made them who they are. Without cost. And without ads. Welcome to If Not For.


Christoph in his studio, in the Mitte district of Berlin, after our interview.

Links from the podcast.

Heinz Edelmann, Christoph’s teacher at the State Academy of Fine Arts in Stuttgart (Wikipedia) — :57

Christoph Niemann’s brother, Benedikt (website) — 1:31

Modern Art (Wikipedia); Constructivism (Wikipedia); Pop Art (Wikipedia); Hockney (Wikipedia) compared to Bonnard (Wikipedia) — 7:53

Art in Star Wars (Ralph McQuarrie book) and Lord of the Rings (Gary Russell book) — 8:48

Christoph’s wife, Lisa Zeitz (Instagram) — 11:11

Nicholas Blechman (website) — 11:16

Nicholas’ father, R. O. Blechman (website) — 12:28

Nicholas Blechman/​Christoph Niemann, Conversations (website) — 13:00

The MET (website) — 18:40

David Remnick (Wikipedia) — 19:00

Exquisite corpse (Wikipedia) — 19:19

Heinz Edelmann (Wikipedia) — 20:34

Mort Drucker (Wikipedia) — 25:39

Frank Frazetta (Wikipedia) — 25:43

Tomi Ungerer (Wikipedia) — 27:41

Albert Uderzo (Wikipedia) — 28:03

Mad Magazine (website) — 28:21

Don Martin (Wikipedia) — 28:34

Mort Drucker (Wikipedia) — 29:11

Christoph Niemann’s brother, Benedikt (website) — 30:50

Jeno Barcsay, Anatomie für Künstler (Amazon) — 32:21

Paul Sahre (website); Christoph Niemann, Abstract City (website) — 34:15

Netflix documentary series, Abstract: The Art of Design (video) — 38:28

Stefan Sagmeister (AIGA profile) — 39:59

Tina Roth Eisenberg (website bio), Tattly (website), Christoph’s Tattlys (website) — 42:57

Jon Huang (New York Times articles), Petting Zoo (app) — 51:58

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