I was born in 1981 in Tyrol, Austria
I’ve completed art’s schools in Innsbruck and Kramsach
I’ve studied art’s-history and German philology in Innsbruck, focussing on medieval German language and culture
I earned my Magister’s degree in German philology in 2010
Since then I’ve worked on different projects
I am a writer (working on my debut, a fantasy-trilogy) and artist (painting, drawing etc.)
Where to begin? Well… My name is Michaela Oberthanner, I am from a village near Innsbruck, Tyrol, Austria. Almost all of my life I’ve been living here and the more I advance in age the more I can see that the beauty of my home and country is nothing I should easily take for granted. It’s true, I may not be the most dedicated mountaineer but I love to go hiking in summer/autumn and to wander about our beautiful countryside. It’s a very special feeling to look down from the top of a mountain to the valleys and landscapes below and see nothing but mountains in every direction ahead. It gives you a feeling of how big this world really is and, in fact, how small we are. To this mountains we are nothing but a glimpse in a moment in time. They’ve been here long before us, they will be there after our civilisation is long, long gone.
It’s here, in Tyrol, where I got my education. I went to board/main school in my home-village, attended a professional school for applied arts in Innsbruck and an advanced course in fine arts in Kramsach, Tyrol, Austria. Afterwards I wanted to study to become a teacher for literature and arts, but decided this wasn’t my cup of tea after one year of studying. If you don’t like it, leave it. The kids deserve an ambitious and dedicated teacher who loves his/her job, so he/she can provide them with the help and education they need! So I went back to Innsbruck to study German philology (with strong focus on mediaeval literature) and arts history. I graduaded my studies of German philology with the title of Magistra philosophiae in 2010. Afterwards I worked on and off for a city governement for about three years. Last year, in 2013, I decided that I have to take a risk and become an artist and writer full-time because it simply is what I really want to do and who I truly am. This is what my heart tells me to do. There’s no choice. I strongly believe there’s a reason why I got the talents I have and that’ll be some kind of treachery to act against it.
I love my home, I’ve been living here my whole life because it’s really beautiful and I am like a Hobbit, enjoying the simple things in life. But there’s also a Took inside of me, meaning I like to travel and I am magically drawn to adventures. I have a nomad soul and although it is good to have a „homebase“ I also want to see the world, interesting places and meet inspiring people. It’s no problem for me to travel for hours. In fact, I love it. For me, the journey to the different places is already part of the adventure. Driving in the Dolomites (f.e. passo rollo) or flying in an A380 far above our beautiful planet and see all this huge cities being nothing more than colourful dots at day or distant lights in the night. I’ve been on my greatest journey in March 2014: I flew to New Zealand and traveled through this beautiful, amazing and breathtaking country for a month. A whole month isn’t enough to see all of these magical places, but I’ll return one day. I’ll tell more about this journey in an additional post. I could imagine to live a life that requires traveling a lot, in fact, I’ll love it. Maybe I’ll get lucky and can do this as part of my job as writer/artist one day, who knows.
I was suspicious of social media and didn’t want to be part of it for a very long time. But that all changed as the Hobbitfancontest was announced. I knew I had to make a decision. Would I be part of the contest or would I just stay in the fan-underground and don’t show my face as I did all these years before? It doesn’t sound like much of an achievement to go on social media but for me it was. First I am shy and not exactly very sociable, although I really like to talk to and work with other people when the chemistry is right. Second I am a little paranoid regarding social media and gathering private information. That being said, I decided to join twitter and facebook for the mere purpose to enter the challenge. But what I got out of it is amazing. I didn’t win the challenge, of course, but I met a lot of interesting people. Other fans, mostly, but also people who are involved with these movies that mean so much to me.
I was first indroduced to Tolkien by my father when I was just a little child. „The Hobbit“ was one of the first stories he used to narrate when we, the whole family including him, my mum, my little sister and me, were going for a hike. He told the story in order to make us forget about the steep ascents and it worked out quite good. Especially for me. I was fascinated to hear about hobbits, dwarves and Smaug the dragon. I thought dragons were friendly because I only heard of Fuchur before, but this Smaug was something completly different. Me, the child, loved to draw him and his hoard. It reminded me of Dagobert Duck and his wealth beyond measure. But, of course, Smaug, in my mind, was so much better than just a greedy old duck. Later, but still a child, I read „The Lord Of The Rings“ and this mysterious world of Middle-earth I entered at a young age became suddenly broader and even deeper. I could clearly see the hobbits and their village, Tom Bombadil and Goldberry, the cursed forest, Gandalf and his pointy hat, the terrible black riders, the wisdom of Elrond, the beauty and magic of Galadriel and Celeborn, the corruption of Boromir and his redemption, Aragorn’s heroism, Gimli and Legolas‘ one-of-a-kind-friendship, the riders of Rohan and the proud city of Minas Tirith… and so much more. I have seen it all. This masterpiece, this book that marked the beginning of an new era of literature, a new genre: fantasy. I fell hard for Professor Tolkien‘s world and I fell hard for fantasy. It influenced who I became and the choices I made in my life. When I heard that Sir Peter Jackson was filming a LOTR-movie I had high hopes. And he didn’t disappoint. I remember sitting in the movie theater with my dad and feeling how my heart began to beat louder and faster as the intro of „The Fellowship Of The Ring“ began. I knew I was witnessing something great. A piece of art. But it was also the door into another world. Far away and close at the same moment. After seeing the movie I was forever changed. Sometimes I wonder if Sir Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens and their team know how much he influenced and changed the lives of so many of us for the better? I bet they do.
So the years’ve gone by and I spent my time rewatching those wonderful movies, rereading the books (this time in English) and drawing the characters. I went to University to study mediaeval literature because I always felt drawn to the dark ages and their sagas and languages (Old Norse f.e. was a blast). I was playing pen and paper-roleplaying-games since I was sixteen years old, but not frequently. Now at university, I found new friends which where „nerds“ themselves. They shared my passion for fantasy literature, games and music, so I joined their little group and we started to play Midgard, the oldest German P&P-RPG. I chose a warrioress and named her Skadi, like the Norse goddess. At this point I have to strongly underline that I am interested in Old Norse mythology but absolutely abhor the way the Nazis exploited it for their purposes. That needed to be said. Back to Midgard: It is a fantasy world that is situated in medieval times. You can choose your hero from different races (men, elves, dwarves, gnomes…) and classes (ranger, warrior, sorcerer, witcher, druid, priest, archer…). Your fate is depending on dices. Usually you have one 20-sided, two ten-sided and one six sided dice. Most of the time you need the D20, because the dungeonmaser will confront you very often with situations in which you have to pass a skill-check or else F.e.: My warrioress wants to attack this orc with her broadsword? Better dice high… If you dice a 20, very bad things will happen to your opponent, if you dice a 1 then… very bad things will happen to YOU! It’s a fun game, I’ll write more about it in an additional post, if you want or ask me in chat.
After a few years I heard that „The Hobbit“ will also become a movie. I was very excited, even more so as I heard that Sir Peter Jackson will direct it as well. First I was a little bit unsure, because I heard that there’ll be two movies. And it’s true, it’s a small book compared to „The Lord Of The Rings“, but also the story is more „compact“, meaning that a lot of things seem a little bit rushed or not completely told. So yes, I thought, this makes sense. And then things sped up for me. I remember watching all of the video-logs and it was truly incredible. I felt the same excitement I felt over a decade ago. I couldn’t wait. My last doubts were swept away as I saw how Sir Peter Jackson became, once again, a Hobbit himself. I know this is an bold accusation, and I hope he never reads this or may forgive me in the unlikely case he does, but yeah, I was ultimately convinced he would deliver as he looked more and more like a Hobbit as the logs went on. And what an amazing cast and team. It never seizes to amaze me how carefully and fitting the cast is chosen in both, TLOTR and The Hobbit. There’s never a miscast, every character is spot on. In some other movies I had the problem that one or more of the characters were so „false“, so out of place, that they spoilt my movie-experience. But not here. These fine actors lead us directly in the world of Middle-earth. They’re believable as whoever they are, dwarves, men, hobbits, orcs and beasts… And the world looks realistic, too, the nature, the buildings, the mountains, the light, the darkness, the woods and the stones… everything. I could go on forever, but I think you get my point. I love to discuss this movies, but I don’t want to bore you. I am happily chatting about it anytime I’m here.
At the moment (November 2014) I am working on a painting (oh, I hope I‘ll succeed and that it’ll look like the character it should look like in all his glory), two drawings (fanart as well), one or two modern art paintings and of course, my book. The thing is, I can’t really talk about it, because it’s super secret for now. But it’ll be very likely a trilogy (considering the time span IN the book) and it’ll be, naturally, a fantasy book. I’m pretty confident that the story is interesting and thrilling and that the protagonist has reasonable character-development. I am really proud of it, to be honest. It’s a story that hit me one night and I had to get up and start writing. And it never left me since. Sometimes I can see my maincharacter sitting in front of me, with a smug face, saying: „Well, you know, I would never do this. Think harder!“ And he’s right. I’d have to find another way to solve a problem or situation. Sometimes he’s really hard on me. But he is worth it.
Another thing that is important to me is music. I don’t prefer a special genre of music as long as it touches me. Music, for me, is never something that is just a sideline. It affects me always in one way or another, it makes me happy, it makes me sad, it pushes me to move on. Therefore I can’t stand music in situations I can’t choose to make it stop, if I don’t like it. For example in a shopping mall. Especially at christmas time. They’re playing the same songs over and over and over and over. When that happens I have to get out of the shop as soon as possible or it’s going to drive me insane. Back to music I like. Music accompanied me my whole life since my dad used to listen to Ennio Morricone, Vivaldi and Ravel as I was a child. I loved that music. Ravel’s „Bolero“ usually was played on Sunday mornings. What a beautiful wake-up-call and I still hold it dear to my heart. Or Morricones „Ecstasy Of Gold“ , what an incredible masterpiece. As a child I used to listen to the radio till late at night. I recorded my favourite songs on my cassette-recorder my parents gave to me. I loved the radio show „Souled Gold“. I’d listen to Aretha Franklin, Shirley Bassey, B.B. King and others. Later,as a young teen, I bought my first CDs. Pink Floyd, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Frank Sinatra, Led Zeppelin and The Doors used to be my heroes. I also developed a strong fondness of harder tunes like Metallica and Sepultura. Sepultura’s „Chaos A.D.“ was my first „real“ Metal-CD. Then there were Dream Theater, Opeth, Emperor, Dominus, Amon Amarth and many, many more as I grew older. I own a pretty versatile record-collection and I am always interested in listening to something new. So, if you want to talk to me about music, feel free to do so anytime.
I think it’s enough for now, although there is so, so much more I am excited about(like gardening and cooking), but I’ve stolen enough of your time so far. Thank you for reading, kind stranger (or not-so-stranger), if there are any questions feel free to ask. I am looking forward to meet more interesting and inspiring people. Have a great life!
Books, literature – everything written that is somehow interesting to me (and there’s much…). I love Tolkien, Pratchett, Büchner, Mann, medieval literature, but also Suarez, King and Stephenson. As long as it captivates me, I’m happy.
Movies – I don’t have a special genre I prefer as long as it is consistent in itself. I love to see the work of a capable director and good actors. I don’t care if the movies I like are considered „trivial“. Same goes for literature.
My favourite movies may be the three Lord Of The Rings-movies by Sir Peter Jackson. I have seen them over and over, again and again and still find something „new“, a different thought, an other perspective. An other favourite of mine is Equilibrium. I adore Bale’s work.
Music – I like a lot of different music-genres, as long as the music offers a certain amount of depth. Music, for me, is never something that just runs alongside. It always transports feelings, emotions for me. I feel trapped in situations when there’s music I don’t like and have no chance to escape it. While painting I prefer music that fits the theme . I also love to sing.
Art – painting, drawing, sculpting, photographing, digital art… I’m very interested in the work of other artists, especially painters and actors.
I participated in two acting-classes because sometimes I need to do things I normally „fear“. I am not exactly a very sociable person, so I hoped it’ll help me being more self-confident and it really did and I really liked it.
Gaming – Witcher, Diablo, Dragonage, Skyrim, WoW, Monkey’s Island, Day Of The Tentacle, Edna and Harvey: The Break Out,…
Midgard – pen and paper-RPG. Currently I’m an elven ranger. She’s swift and deadly. Never fails a spotcheck („Yeah, sure. Whatever, pointy-ears!“ – my sister, a dwarven priest).
RPG is the reason why this site is named skadi-art.com. I was 16years old and read about Skadi, godess of winter and hunting. At that time we started our first RPG-group, so I decided to name my first character, a nordish warrioress, after her. It felt like a fitting name. The name stuck and became somehow my nickname, so I secured the name of my domain over ten years ago.
Cooking and baking – deep down in my heart I’m a Hobbit who loves to prepare and eat food. Last time I checked there where no dwarves in my buttery.
Gardening – I love to see things grow and use homegrown vegetables for cooking.
Traveling and sightseeing.
Sports: Hiking and biking. I like watching football (no, it’s not called soccer).
Twitter: @Mitheriel I have to admit that I’m rather sceptical of the concept of social media. But I also like to chat with people with similar interests. Feel free to add me.