artist feature:: heiko müller


heiko müller enjoys to explore the borderline of crossover art. living in hamburg, germany, his style seems to always share a sense of spirituality that maintains a pure reflection beyond emotion. either with drawings of colored pencil on paper or paintings of oil on wood, heiko easily speaks to the darkest part of the human heart with comforting imagination.


a warm thankyou to heiko for taking the time to contribute to musicisart and for writing honestly about how music effects him as a person, and in return, how it silently blends into his art.

..please enjoy the following feature..


I have been asked a number of times… and I always feel slightly embarrassed to answer that music has little influence on my creativity. When I’m painting or drawing I tend to listen to audiobooks. The stories distract me from my pictures, enabling my subconscious to guide the process.  However, music is very important to me and there are a couple of pieces that inspire me to improve on myself all the time.

I like reading and one of my favourite authors is Haruki Murakami. In his novel “Kafka on the Shore” he mentions Ludwig van Beethoven’s Archduke Trio (Rubinstein, Heifetz, Feuermann Trio) over and over again, which made me curious. I don’t listen much to classical music but this piece is a miracle even to my untrained ears.

The cello makes an opening and is joined by the violin, which quickly jostles into the foreground. After a while the cello seems to accept that and stays in the back when suddenly the piano enters and apparently wants to push them both aside. After the first two got over the shock they start to accompany the piano and gather momentum for an evenly distributed climax. This game repeats itself in a number of variations, never losing the general playfulness.

I’m reminded of happily chattering aunts, playing children or arguing critics, retaining their respect, their good mood and a perfectly good shape at all times. This kind of music inspires me to work on a playful harmony of the various elements in my art.

In art school I almost exclusively listened to jazz, having been particularly fond of 60s avant-garde jazz: Archie Shepp, Eric Dophy, Andrew Hill and of course John Coltrane. I started collecting Coltrane albums and came across the very schmaltzy My One and Only Love on John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman.

At first I didn’t like this version at all. Johnny Hartman’s perfectly trained voice seems far too smooth and John Coltrane appears very eager to keep in the background. But for some reason I couldn’t get it out of my head anymore. I had to listen to it over and over again and it became one of my all time favourites. It’s a demonstration that an artist is allowed to try his hand at pure beauty without irony once in a while.

Possibly the strangest album in my entire collection is the one by John Coltrane’s wife Alice Coltrane: Lord of Lords. Alice Coltrane on her harp, accompanied by bass, drums and a string orchestra, creates a rather odd atmosphere, which reminds me of something between a Western epic with settlers on a long trek and Buddha’s enlightenment. Listen to Sri Rama Ohnedaruth and tell me your associations. I haven’t become tired of this in years.

Finally I’d like to come back to the present and commend a song which I discovered on MySpace by pure chance: Ish Marquez: Much Ado about Nada. Ish is an Anti Folk musician from San Francisco. His music is rough, energetic, very playful and has plenty of humour. I like to listen to his CD when I look at my work after painting. I get a kick out of the music and when I notice that the picture supports that, I’m fine. If not, I have to have another go. Wah-hoo!

art, words & playlist by heiko müller

About The Author


“One glimpse is all it takes to tell you that Music Is Art is something special. You can start by judging this blog by its cover—it’s one of the best-designed, most aesthetically aware music blogs around—but there’s much more to it than just a pretty template. For one, Danielle Maree, the “dreamer/designer” behind MIA, focuses not only on excellent music, but on art, photography and writing and how they all intersect and inform the music. By sharing the sounds and sights that inspire her, she’s inspiring a growing number of readers on a daily basis. By documenting artists’ creative processes, she’s, in the process, creating a pretty substantial, always-evolving work of art herself.” - Nerd Litter

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16 Responses

  1. Heiko hartman | Upstairsgaller

    […] music is art » Blog Archive » artist feature:: heiko müllerSep 17, 2007 … heiko müller enjoys to explore the borderline of crossover art. living in … Johnny Hartman’s perfectly trained voice seems far too smooth and … […]

  2. Thaolinh

    That’s wondeful i can finally get what I want. As Murakami sensei is my most favourite author and I am reading Kafka on the shore, I’ve tried my best to find the pieces of music he mentioned. It is rather hard work for me. Luckily I can find all here.

  3. musicisart

    so glad you all are enjoying the artist features. heiko’s work is so beautiful to me and im glad i was able to share him 🙂

  4. Gareth Farry

    The web is saturated with articles and blogs about the death of the music industry & what Madonna, Radiohead and the like in collusion with web 2.0 digital models and P2P sites are doing to the industry … “killing it”?
    But this IS the new industry … a place where the majority of content is created and consumed for free, where the creativity embodied on your musical content IS the value attributed to it.
    True creativity will become a form of money; so you may download my music for free, but that creativity still has value – value enough for me to extract a service from you or your peers in exchange. A system where money becomes less important than trade.
    A place where the merit in music conquers all. Or at least in the years to come it will.

    It is my absolute belief that “where music leads all else will follow” .. that is the breakdown of the commercial music industry to elements of trade, file sharing, swapping & purchase will one day encompass our whole online commercial structure.
    Merit and creative truth will rule, meaningless content (read “pop”) will simply become ignored meaninglessness, and it will struggle for any traction.

    The sharing and spread across digital platforms of all online services and products will occur, with value being judged by merit. This will occur whether we are talking about a music track, a new product or a simple day to day service.
    Advertisers will no longer be able to saturate our TV screens with useless products and thinly veiled lies about necessity – purchase value & immediacy will be decided by the purchaser.

    ok, …. deeper : the human mind is a spark of the almighty consciousness of the creator, imagination and creativity are the doors from which this consciousness emerges.
    As human minds develop further and become more fully tuned to the nature of spirit, by stopping thought, abandoning knowledge & trusting intuition, creativity also becomes more fully tuned to this truth. That is, music / knowledge / content / product is freed from the shackles of blind commercialism, prejudice or banality will simply cut through and gain traction by the simple fact of its creative merit.
    The deeper the self realization of a person and his/her creativity, the more he/she influences the whole universe by subtle creative vibrations.

    Silence is the potent carrier of the present tense. Every sound or action comes from silence & dies back into the ocean of silence.
    You choose by your actions how you may disrupt this silence – choose wisely.

    Death to the music industry, long live the industry of creativity.

  5. Heiko

    Yeah, Murakami is my favorite author since I read The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles, which still is my favorite. Dance Dance Dance is the second best in my view. Actually I read everything I could get from him.

  6. v

    i love murakami….the elephant vanishes ….short stories…..amazing. love how radiohead and murakami mention each other also, so their philosophies sort of conspire…its great

  7. Ami

    OMG! Haruki Murakami!! It’s not often I stumble into someone who also read his works. I love his books. Kafka on the Shore is definitely one of my favorites, though I think my most favorite work will be Hard-Boiled Wonderland and The End of the World. Love to chat with you on that 🙂

  8. cecile

    what artwork ! …in a way it makes me think to the other-side (dazrker)-of-“Totoro”- by-Myazaki (gosh, i never knew how do write his name correctly, argh …. ) i like it much 🙂