Aeroclub d’Alsace au Polygone 1972
Terminal Charles de Gaulle 1974

Didier WOLFF
BIO / TIMELINE

I think all that started back in 1971, when I was a very little boy, when my father, who witnessed my passion for painting, painted one of the walls of my room in white.

His fortunate intuition allowed me to express myself on a giant panoramic format and to think big. The early passage from small world of A4 border suddenly gave way to vast territories (note that first I wanted to become Indian or trapper). I must add that I was specialized in Legos and especially weirs, with clumps of land and stones to make it tight, the result seemed splendid!

Drawing 50x 20cm 1976

My adoptive parents who have lived in Houston, I discovered at a very young age the exploits ofthe American astronauts through the 8mm movies that they had brought back to France. These films were dumb but so fascinating!

Cousteau’s “The World of Silence” is another ofthese changeless visual references, | also think of the films of Maurice and Katia Kraft, famous Alsatian volcanolog who described their work as ifthey were witnessing the creation of The World live.

Three other pillars filled my training: The reading of my grandfather’s National Geo- graphic and old Larousse dictionaries (2.8Kg each!), Dotted with engravings of a breathtaking finesse, I discovered the anatomy by leafing through the pages dedicated to eroticism, forgiveness, to sculpture through the ages.

Finally, my bedside book was “Best word book ever” by an extraordinary American illustrator Richard Scarry’s. Of course, there were Tintin’s, but Scarry’s work from America had something grandiose, it was huge and filled with hundreds of small watercolors depicting animals of all kinds that consisted of large frescoes depicting life. in every detail, (A drive in the country, In the city, Boats and ships, etc …) Every thing, every detail, as small as it was, was described with a word in English.

Sometimes I had a dazzling activity on Sunday mornings, when my father, a chemist like my mother, took me to his lab located on the fifth floor ofthe great tower of the CNRS in Strasbourg. Under his supervision I blew glass at 1400. °, sometimes trying to create small animals that broke most ofthe times. In this very lab he opened at my request bottles of mercury that flowed between my fingers, or mixed under my eyes mysterious liquids that were suddenly changing colors

Looking back, I must say, that boredom reigned during primary school where, focused on my desire to escape, I dreamed watching the planes through the window of the classroom. One of the few disciplines that enchanted me was geography because I could color maps and legends, approach the relief and elevations, look around the coast and memorize the shape of the Continents. I liked to say an altitude and a name on the snow-capped peaks and so my maps would be even more enjoyable to see, I was adding small boats or fish on the oceans, trees and animals on the forests. I was then in year 7 class and in love with my teacher, which occupied the remaining part of my thoughts …

1980. I often say that I studied at the National School of Decorative Arts in Strasbourg. It’s not wrong, but it turns out that I was ejected after a year. I hoped to freely create there, but I discovered a too academic system in which I felt too much cramped. I was probably too young too, 15 years old and too much oftemptations, distracting me to the point that I was drying classes and fled a passion that had suddenly turned into constraint. But the following year, after having matured a little, I retried the entrance examination and was accepted for the second time by this prestigious institution. Although, sincerely, the resolutions that I used to remotivate myself and curb the discouragement of my parents did not change anything: the same causes producing the same effects, after a few months I finally gave up definitely, having however spared everything that was accessible to me within this establishment.

Ziguinchor / Sénégal
Guinée Bissau
Cap Skiring / Casamance 1988
Désert Sud Marocain
Mauritanie Paris-Dakar-Paris en R25 GTS
Dolphin Research Center / Grassy Key / Florida 
Bamako 2006

Despite seemingly veryscattered centers of interest, painting and drawing have been omnipresent in my life. I have often considered these multiple tracks as so many straggling elements, however, today, the links ofattraction between all these magnets are perfectly legible and logically arranged in the scenario of my life. I did not just explore these tracks, I followed them fora long time, patiently, with energy and deter- mination. With instinctive methodology ofthe trapper I wanted to become. Looking at what entity could match the fingerprints I was pursuing. Most ofthe time, they led only to a kind ofroundabout animated by a kind ofperpetual movement, pendular and monotonous, ironing inexorably by the point of origin. The goal was above all to master the subject chosen and when it seemed to be the case, to live thanks to that. Meaning it was necessary to convince, to know how to sell. Very often at that point everything collapsed. The best result was to keep going for some time. I had to find My Way. I spend thirteen years in Paris, thirteen years of theater, film and writ exploring and recklessness. I was many times in Africa, I passed on a multitude of events looking to fill pages.

SELECTED KEY DATES

TIMELINE

1983-2008

Didier WOLFF avant Happy Design Studio

1983-1985

Ecole “Joséphine. B” de Bernard LAVILLIERS et Madona Bouglione au Casino de Paris et à l’Olympia. Cours de Philippe Chausson, François Devienne ,Yvette MONTIER, Annie GIRARDOT, Philippe LEOTARD et de Bob DECOUX.

1987

Author of “COUP DE CRAYON” play produced and performed at the
Théâtre Poche Montparnasse by the GRANIER-RAUTH company. (Olivier Granier et Christian Rauth)

1987

Encouragement grant from the Centre National des Lettres. Prize awarded by Maurice Schumann

1988

First and third prize from Fondation Charles OULMONT (Fondation de France) for the play “Coup de crayon”

1990

Radio City Music Hall / New York. Acted in : (1991-93) ” Jesus was his name ” by Robert HOSSEIN. (Performance in Palais des Sports in Paris, participated in the France tour, and an 8 months tour in the USA (New York, Baltimore, Washington, Chicago, Cincinnati, Denver, Albany, Nashvillle, Memphis, Cap Canaveral, Miami, San Antonio, Baton rouge, Oklahoma city, Milwaukee, Indianapolis,Austin, Cincinnati, Charlotte, Detroit, New Orleans, Philadelphia, San Diego, Des Moines, Dallas, Orlando, Santa Fe, Atlanta, Tallahassee) produced by RADIO CITY MUSIC HALL in New York.

1992

Finalist in the Michel d’ORNANO prize given to the best new script writer of the year (American film festival in Deauville)

1993

When I discovered this book in a Washington bookstore, it sparkled right away in my mind: I ran immediately to the Senate with the hope of being able to get it signed by John Glenn. I made my way with extreme ease to his tiny, humble office, where curiously, no astronautical memorabilia was on display. His secretary suggested I leave the book on the table and come back the next day. As I had to leave town 48 hours later, the timing sounded providential, so I crossed my fingers. I had high hopes of meeting him on my second visit, but this was not to be. This book, born of a trip into space, has never left me since.

1995

– French Red Cross (1995-1996) : Radio operator, first aid, first aid in tropical areas. – Natural History National Museum: continuous learning in general venom studies. – Radio operator license – B.N.P.S. National License in First Aid Backup at the Centre de Secours Montmartre (Paris fire fighters)

1996

– Certificate of Tropical first aid

1997

Q.R.R. : Radio operation license (aeronautic and naval option)

1998

Cape Town : One year in South Africa

The Key of Africa ®

Three-dimensional trademark registered with the National Institute of Industrial Property
A design serving the most disadvantaged

The Key of Africa ® Barbara Hendricks
The Key of Africa ® Robert Hossein
The Key of Africa ® Office of the President Nelson Mandela
The Key of Africa ® Ismaïla / Touré Kunda
The Key of Africa ® Alpha Blondy
The Key of Africa ® With Tiken Jah Fakoly / Bamako 2008

Clue N° 1. In 1997, British Airways decided to change its image, hiring for that Newell & Sorell agency. About fifty projects of artists representing their culture or their nation were selected: (an Eskimos, an Indian, an Aborigine etc … In my eyes, this principle was breathtaking and I envied these artists whose works were exhibited on the aircraft tails ofthefamous company, the very idea that these works fly excited meto the highest point .. Without waiting and without being invited, I started a period of intense production resulted in presenting thirty drawings to this English agency. My projects were unclassified, I returned empty-handed.

Clue N° 2. I passed my basic pilot license for single engine planes at Flying club of Alsace, where Saint Exupéry himself learned to fly. I dreamed above all to fly over Africa and its deserts, I imagined to bring help, carry pharmaceuticals… I also dreamed of flying a multicolored seaplane, to land on a lake, to turn offtheengine and to take out a fishing rod.

Aéroclub d’Alsace 1998
Brevet et licence de base de pilote d'(V.F.R) sur TB9 à l’Aéroclub d’Alsace,
vols sur Cessna 172 et sur sur Waco (U.S.A)

Clue N ° 3. For years, as a constant reminder, I rediscovered at the bottom ofmy projects I had imagined for British Airways. Back then industry was in constant pro- duction ofwhite objects and uniform, again and again: Coffee makers, bathtubs, cars, sinks, tiling and also planes! The spark came in 2009. I taught plastic arts and gardening to unusual children with behavioral disorders, such as autism, trisomy or dyspraxia. Their very personal ways ofexpressing their raw thoughts, without any filter, their positioning related to their ideals literally imposed me to gi place. I had to find a way to create aircraft livery designs! We only live once and It was impossible to imagine myself at 92 looking back and saying: You should have done it! As an evidence, I decided to sell my apartment in Paris to finance the start of this activity. The activity which was totally unknown, I decided to be free, without middlemen or authorizations, trusting only my own intuition. My idea was not to decorate the tail ofplanes as British Airways had done, but to customize entire planes and why not private jets or fighter planes, but how? First, I learned at length to master 3D, rediscovering my creations from new angles and this only increased my desire to see this dream become reality.

.. Persuaded that the Middle East would be culturally sensitive to my concepts (3D), I spontaneously wrote a hundred or so emails to aeronautics professionals randomly found on specialized sites, explaining my approach and proposing to meet them. I had no answer, despite that I went to Dubai, to see, to feel. Also because I know that Prov- idence takes over when someone is tenacious and the goal is indelible. After a week spent there, we had to face the facts: I was tanned, but nothing happened. While I was planning my earlier return, Providence took me to the FBC, the French Business Council in Dubai. I entered spontaneously. The reception was extraordinary. I spent most ofthe afternoon with Fabienne Lucas, the director ofthis structure, specializing in the establishment of French companies in the UAE. She convinced me that I had arrived atthe right place at the right time. I got the green light, my intuition was con- firmed, somehow validated. What a joy!

It is in this context that I created my company: Happy Design Studio. In the meantime, I registered for the Dubai Air Show, a reference air show and I managed to convince a Toulon, PMV aeronautical engineering company, to become my partner in this adventure. Thanks to this official support, I was no longer alone but supported by a partner of choice and completely reassured me that my artistic vision was now based on the expertise of aerospace industry’ recognized professionals. I signed my first contract for the customization of a Zeppelin: “Spirit oftheEmirates”! Thus, the Middle East has become ina very par- ticular way, a land of fondness, linked to the start ofthis extraordinary activity

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