Life of An Artist &
Thought I'd try to give a short bio-sketch of my life, my art and music
as I see it. I have decided for artistic and personal purposes to use an
abbreviation of my real name -- Mettenbrink -- not because I'm not fond
of the unique Dutch-German origins of it but partially since my father has
the same first name but not the middle one. I do so to express my unique
I was born in Kearney, NE the first and
only son but with two lovely sisters, Sally & Valerie. My mother Ardis,
was a schoolteacher of mostly Kindergarten and First Grade for over 30 years
of her fairly short life (1929-90), and my Grandmother in my beginning years
helped run a Zoo (with exotic "pet" animals like two monkeys in her house
part-time & even an alligator in the basement!) with her husband Carl
in Culbertson, Nebraska -- the “Kugler Hill-Top Zoo” which existed until
about 1961, and was my first adult-kid's song written in honor of Ora Kugler
shortly before her death in 1986, at age 94.
Although I wrote my first real song about
age 13, (“It Happens In the Springtime”), after my early college years,
I put aside my songwriting to pursue a career as an artist and later a printer,
yet kept my love of music and piano (took lessons -- about 7 yrs). After
living briefly in both Florida and California, I married a Lincoln woman and
probably the happiest moment of that troubled time was a wonderful trip to
Germany and France where I met my cousins, (which I plan to see again this
year on the farm where my Great-Grandfather was born); stayed with my sister
and brother-in-law and saw the fantastic Louvre Art Museum in Paris. After
my separation in 1983, I moved to Omaha, NE
where I work for a printing company & write, record & play my songs in
various coffeehouses & one Acoustic Music Bar-Mick's over the last 10+
Getting in touch with my “Inner Child”
and working through some childhood & early adult traumas and emotions
has been hard but lately a largely successfiil struggle with the help of
friends, my High Power(s) and especially my Art and Music. Songwriting has
been especially important to me -- not to see how many I can write (over
200 song titles so far) but to give inner expression to my feelings and environment.
Friends -- many local folk musicians and
artists -- including my good ones operating this website on the Omaha Nation
Res., have inspired me and helped me along the way. Learning to play the
guitar in my early-mid-forties and find the courage to play for kids and
adults at Earth Day and in a few local coffeehouses like the Omaha History
Center and McFoster's has helped me alot. Recently getting involved with
Marionette puppets (German-American Society) and writing a song and painting
scenes for plays there recently has benefited myself as well as others.
I still enjoy sketching, and learning new
things on our computer and e-mail. Thanks so much to all those who have and
will touch my life and let me be part of theirs as I sincerely endeavor to
be the best person that I can be for myself, my family, friends and mankind!
Like my hero Beethoven said (hard to deal with as he was), “Life is short
but Art Immortal” -- what we do for others is as well!
Highlights of My Life
|June 12, 1951
||born Kearney, NE.
Grade, won Miller & Paine
art award, State Elementary Contest
for crayon drawing of "Omaha, NE" -- memory
sketch of first visit to this city! Lincoln
graduated from Kearney High School.
Bachelor's Degree with Art
Major-Kearney State College (UNK)
Associate Commercial Arts-Graphic
Design Degree, Southeast Community College, Milford, NE.
assistant Web Press Operator, and
printer for local company.
Married Lee in Omaha, NE.
recorded & released first children's
cassette -- “Libby The Pet Raccoon & Favorite Songs” -- 26 original ones,
cover art by Margery Coffey.
"Seek A Better World" of 18 of my memorial & tribute songs copies not
Active in German-American Society, (Sangerchor
& puppet groups),
Omaha Folk Song Society,
Society For Creative Anachronisms,
Sons Of Union Veterans & other organizations.
Help support the Omaha Symphony concerts
& local folk artists.
Main hobbies besides Art & Music-(songwriting,
performing) are travel (USA &
Europe -- Germany especially,) historical research,
photography and Native-American, other minority & environmental causes.
Work in progress soon in memory of Arlen Lazaroff on my
environmental & Native tribute & mystical or ancestral theme
-- "Songs of the Native
some tribute songs of others included -- aka Malcom X.
I am available for small groups and kid's
parties to perform or can write songs for that special loved
one in your life for reasonable fee.