Ask them Daddies
A chat with visual artist “Kami”
We are happy to introduce our newest team member, Karline Lisk. An actress, Berlin style icon and an all-around cool lady, she will be contributing a monthly feature, “Ask them Daddies”, where she interviews creative dads from Berlin and beyond, asking them her most burning questions about fatherhood...always the same 20 questions asked of different dads. Now, over to Karline!
For the first “Ask them Daddies" I talked with the visual artist known as Kami. He is an art director and designer and makes his own amazing art work. The first time I saw one of his pieces I absolutely fell in love with it, and I imagine it hanging on my own living room wall one of these days. He describes his art as, “a playground of Y2K-visuals spiked with childhood memories, pop-culture, rap and Asian good luck symbolism pimped with shiny neon lights.“ Kami is also a super cool dad and the first to answer our 20 questions.
How many children do you have and what are their ages?
Two. Klemens Nay is 3-years old and Kami Stefanie is 9 months.
What was the last toy you bought for your kids?
Busted. Technically I haven't bought any toys yet for Kami - she is busy with her brother’s stuff. However we looked into a doll as a Christmas gift because my wife saw some nice ones on a blog. Klemens and I have started to paint and draw super heroes using The Super Book for Super Heroes that I bought him a while back.
What are your three favorite songs you love to listen to with your kids?
The little one likes pretty much everything at the moment. Her big brother, however, already has a diverse taste in music that is quite old fashioned. I’d say he especially likes Old McDonald, especially the verse with the cow. There’s also a Spanish song he keeps mumbling that he brought home from KITA and an old Thai song about ducks.
I try to press some of my taste onto him, however this only works if the youtube clips contain police cars, firefighter trucks and/or any kind of construction vehicles.
What’s your favorite item in your kid’s room?
I like the Brio tracks the most - probably 50% of the tracks are the ones from my own childhood.
What was your favorite toy as a child?
I’m told I was very much into Lego and Lego Duplo.
How would you sum up your kids’ personality?
The baby is very flirty with strangers and giggles at everyone. Her older brother is a fruit-fanatic and would take a bath in apfelsaft-schorle if he could.
What is something you didn’t expect about being a parent?
As parents and partners we reached a point when we realized we had to kiss our old lives goodbye. The spontaneous city trips, late dinners, Sunday afternoon naps…we had to let go of all of that. Having kids can bring out the worst in yourself (and your partner) due to lack of sleep, the increasing dependency on your partner, the need for planning everything in advance…. all of this has suddenly become a very big issue and you have to deal with it because kids need an adult in their life and that’s you.
Is there a cliche about dads that annoys you?
I guess that it bothers me that my wife does more around the daily routine and I just do things here and there, but I’m the one collecting the “he’s such a good dad” comments
What values do you hope to pass on to your children?
Our kids are blessed coming from a background with four different languages spoken to them on a day-to-day basis. They come from a Thai-German home, attend a Spanish KITA where they would rather hug than shake hands. Everything will evolve out of this.
Do you have a favorite travel destination?
Not so much a favorite destination, but we love going places with direct access to nature. Sicily was nice with clean and accessible ‘city' beaches, great pasta and restaurants where kids are very welcome and the food comes quickly. We love Thailand with all of it's tiny food-stalls and water and sand everywhere. But taking the train into the Black Forest where kids can climb trees is also great. Most important is to pack light, bring a pocket knife, a blanket, stay flexible and talk to locals.
What has been your greatest struggle as a parent?
Becoming an adult myself.
How has being a dad changed you?
It’s made me tougher, in business anyway. It’s rather easy nowadays to say a friendly “No, thank you - not interested. Ciao. “
Where do you live and what’s your favorite spot to visit with the kids?
Berlin Mitte. We have a bunch of playgrounds in our area. They are all nice, especially Arkonaplatz on Fridays, where there is a weekly food market. We’ve made new friends here (you for instance, lol!) and parents often gather around the huge sandbox while kids play in the middle.
What’s your favorite book to read with the kids?
We’re not too much into fiction and imaginary stories. Books must contain images of trains, planes or automobiles - or someone using the toilet.
What is a perfect day with the kids?
It doesn’t need much, to be honest. Sunshine is usually all you need to go outside, along with a clear mind so you can take it easy with the kids (aka turn off your phone).
And a perfect day without the kids?
Hmm, mostly I like to get stupid things out of the way: taxes, invoices, adult things (not the kinky ones). For me, having these things done and off my mind are a perfect start to a perfect day with my kids and wife.
Do you think there is anything a mom can give her child that a dad can't? And vice versa?
I think partners choose each other based on the other’s personality and I guess these attributes somehow tumble down to our children. My wife has a playful approach so she can wash Klemens’ hair without tears, whereas I have to sort of attack him with a bucket of water to get the same job done. If you look closely, there are probably a million things in your daily routine which are unique between you and your kid that your partner will not be able to copy.I think this is great and gives you kind of a one-of-a-kind standing with your kid. Plus you can sometimes play good cop / bad cop if the kids behave wrong. Of course the exceptions are the ability to give birth and breastfeed-- you can be the dude with the greatest personality but will never ever achieve this.
How is the reality of being a dad different than how you imagined it would be? H
This is hard to answer because I had never given it much thought. I assumed that we could live our lives the same as before, forcing our routines onto the kids and make them do and act as we please. Of course that’s impossible and we quickly learned it the hard way by missing flights, having a rental car sprayed with vomit or designer clothes soaked in mud. Small things like, “wear some pants - it's cold outside boy”, can be a huge challenge and you need to calm down and not to take this stuff personally, cause you're a team player now.
Have your kids change your opinion on anything?
Hmm…well I’m a vegan now. There were just too many calves being stolen from their mother videos on my facebook feed that it started me thinking about the relationship between kids and parents...
What advice would you give to a father-to-be?
The best advice is not to take any advice :)
What one thing would you change about the world today to make it a better place for your children?
Greta for President!
Check out Kami on Instagram. He is currently showing his work in Beijing with upcoming exhibitions in LA and Porto. You can also see his work in Berlin Mitte at his studio on Brunnenstraße 25B.