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TEMBO TRACES
November, 2021
The dream of exploring endless paths, off the busy roads, traveling to unknown countries, and
discovering foreign cultures is a dream that many dreams of. But for Julian Vogel and Sina Gerke
this dream has become reality. With their KRUG EXPEDITION Truck, the two yogis are hitting the
road as often as they can to explore and go on new adventures.
Julian is not only a traveler and yogi but also an artist, artisan & peace activist. As a street artist, the
born and raised German native of Nuremberg mainly paints walls and buildings - of course always
within the legal framework. For his diploma thesis, he combined his passion for art and travel in his
project World Peace Walls. In the process, he painted a dozen surfaces in significant places during
his travels around the globe in order to "spread a message of peace." So, it stands to reason that
Julian also gave his own expedition truck a custom paint job.

Julian’s partner Sina is always on tour with him, and so is their amazingly cute dog, Wilma. Since
her teenage years, yoga has been one of the great passions of Sina, who is also of the founders of
Nuremberg based yoga studio Holy Wow Yoga. This passion has already led her to many different
countries, which she not only traveled to improve their techniques but also to teach, learn and
practice.
We invited these two incredibly interesting people for an interview to learn a bit more about them,
their passion, and their experiences with Tembo, their KRUG EXPEDITION self-build module on
an EXCAP chassis.
— Julian, please tell us about yourself. And did you always know that you want to be an artist?
— Creativity has always been a part of my path. It began when I was six as I tried to recreate my favorite comic book heroes. When I was 13 years old, I started spray painting, which caused me (and a few others) a little bit of trouble, but gave my creative output a new and thrilling direction.

After high school and finishing my apprenticeship as carpenter, I visited several art schools to hone my creative craft. In 2004 I started studying communication design.

While I was at University, I founded the „Peace Wall Project“. The concept was to paint murals around the world to spread the message of peace and at times collaborating with local artists.

After gaining my degree, I started a creative agency for visual design, but after a few years, I missed the smell of paint, getting to move my body, and working with my hands. So I made the decision to become a full-time artist, painting murals, canvases, and vehicles of any size.
— That sounds really inspiring. Where do all the wonderful ideas come from?
— There is not that ONE source of inspiration. My ideas come from various sources, I am inspired by nature, society and different cultures, architecture, or design.
— You also gave your own expedition truck a very individual touch. Please give us a brief description of the process of how you painted the exterior of ‘Tembo’.
— The key was, that the motif works. No matter whether you are far away or close to it. But the closer
you get, the more details are visible. The motif is designed to melt into a natural environment. It
was also important to me that the colors are warm, friendly and optimistic.
— What was the best thing about painting your truck?
J: To create a moving work of art.

Watch some behind the scenes moments and Tembo in action:
— Please share a few more things about your background as a street artist and how this has influenced your life.
J: I’ve been spray painting for more than 25 years now. It is a lot of experience combined with curiosity as well as questioning the status quo. I was always a bit of an outsider in the scene as I preferred to paint buddhas instead of „style“ writing (spray pieces that are done with intricate letters). Being on the outside helped me to develop my own style of mural-art and technique.
— What impact had the changes of 2020 on your life?
J: I was fortunate enough to still have a lot of work throughout 2020, and as my work is often outdoors or done by myself, my professional life wasn’t really affected. On a personal level, my desire for freedom and closeness to nature in connection with a little anti-consumerism has become even stronger.
— In the past, your work brought you to many different places around the world. Please tell us more about the projects, motivations behind them, where they took place, and some highlights over the years.
J: It all began in 2007 when I traveled to Iraq and I was overcome with the desire to leave something behind. This spontaneous urge took the form of a mural on the walls of one of Saddam Hussein’s former Palaces in Northern Iraq, or my first “World Peace Wall.” Since then, I’ve painted many more.
— In the past, your work brought you to many different places around the world. Please tell us more about the projects, motivations behind them, where they took place, and some highlights over the years.
J: It all began in 2007 when I traveled to Iraq and I was overcome with the desire to leave something behind. This spontaneous urge took the form of a mural on the walls of one of Saddam Hussein’s former Palaces in Northern Iraq, or my first “World Peace Wall.” Since then, I’ve painted many more.

The idea is to use the local language for my murals as well as cultural symbols and elements to connect fully with the observer. If somebody thinks about peace, they will act more peacefully.

I try to change perspectives, thoughts, and attitudes with a silent revolution, through a painted message. Everything happening around us originates in our minds. What we think is our reality. Our thoughts become words, our words become actions, actions become habits and habits form our outlook and personality.

Since ancient times people have been influenced by this principle. Church paintings, propaganda, and advertising campaigns all require attention and channel thoughts into one direction. Peace can only be achieved by our attitude. The more human beings are at peace with themselves, the more they surrender fighting against themselves and the flow of life, the more they create a world of tolerance and love around them.
I hope that the „World Peace Walls“ in prominent places of the world give an impulse to start a dialogue about peace – a message that, similarly to a spiritual mantra, is repeated over and over again and therefore slowly manifests itself in reality.
—Usually you spend more time on the road, how do you currently spend your days at home?
J: I have an atelier/workshop at home where I love to hang out and paint or do some woodwork. And like everyone else, I’ve spent a good bit of time behind the computer as well.
—What is on top of your travel bucket list, anywhere in the world?
J: Everywhere! But of course, there are some highlights, like surrounding Africa, the Silk Road, or the Pan-American Highway.

Thank you, Julian - and now, meet Sina and learn a bit more about another third of the Tembo crew!
—Sina, please tell us a bit more about your role in designing the exterior and interior of your truck, or cabin.
S: I am mainly Julian’s sparring partner when it comes to brainstorming visuals and visions as well as the spoilsports when it comes to his crazy ideas!
— You have a dog - Wilma. Does she enjoy traveling with you in the truck and do you have any tips for other dog owners who are about to embark on their next trip with dog & truck?
S: Fortunately, Wilma is a super easy dog in general and also when it comes to driving. She loves looking out of the window and chill. She is happy as long as she is who the pack.
— What is being your truck’s name, Tembo?
S: Tembo means Elephant in Swahili. We have been to Kenia and really loved the country as well as the sound of the language. In the beginning, the truck was planned to be painted in gray as a base color. Now it is a yellow Elephant!
— How has the pandemic affected your lifestyle, have you had to adapt in any way (e.g. in terms of travel)?
S: As last year was mainly focused on converting and expanding the vehicle and setting the course for the future it was not really influencing or destroying any plans made. But of course, we are hoping now that traveling becomes easier. On a professional level, as a yoga studio owner, the pandemic has hit us hard, but as creatives, we found ways to live and work with it as well as making the best out of it.
— What is your dream destination that you would like to travel to with your truck and why?
S: There are many places I would love to travel to and through, many roads to take, and the more you research, the more fascinating places you find. Lots of them I haven’t even thought of going before.

But the continent of Africa is fascinating to me a lot and I really want to travel through west Africa. Because of the Spirit, the Vibe, the music, the people, the food... everything!
Come along the journey of Julian, Sina and their four-legged companion, Wilma, and follow them on Instagram @tembo_traces
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