The art of the story
„The Sky Blue Room“
The story of
Daniel taps his index finger against a golf ball-sized bump above his temple: “I still don’t know what exactly happened there,” he says. The spot bears witness to a childhood that was spent in hospitals time and again.
Daniel was born in 1983 in a small town in Thuringia, where he grew up with his single mother. “I saw my father once for half an hour,” he says. Daniel was seven years old at the time. At an early age, the now 39-year-old Hinz&Künztler was diagnosed with epilepsy. In order to provide her son with good treatment, his mother moved around with him again and again until Daniel ended up at a special boarding school for sick children. However, “I spent more time in the hospital than at school.”
Due to the bulge on his head, which is still visible today, he underwent several operations. Repeatedly, he was in prolonged treatment because of his epilepsy. At least it was successful. The seizures stopped and Daniel was even able to stop taking his medication. After attending a special school for several years, he began a voluntary ecological year with a shepherd at the age of 16. He then attended a vocational school. “I didn’t make it through that one, though.”
Daniel continued to work in the shepherd’s shop, but at home, he could stand it less and less. He kept getting into physical altercations with his mother’s new boyfriend. One day he packed his things, left home, and joined a circus that was stopping in the area. He toured with them for several years – until, during dismantling, the improperly tensioned tent roof popped open and Daniel was slammed down. “I was spitting blood for two weeks,” he recalls – and could barely walk. The circus operators, however, would not have doctored him or let him go. So one night in Hamburg, Daniel took off in despair.
His path first led him to the train station mission, from there to the overnight shelter for homeless people “Haus Jona” and then to public housing. Daniel found an apartment, a job at a temporary employment agency – and a girlfriend. But when the relationship fell apart, Daniel fell into a crisis. “At some point, I couldn’t handle it anymore.” He left his apartment and his life on the streets began. The first night he spent on a park bench on Burgstraße, later he slept at entrances of stores around the main station and under the Kennedy Bridge.
At the beginning of 2013, he finally came to Hinz&Kunzt – but stayed on the street at first anyway. Until almost two years ago – after 12 years of homelessness – he met his current girlfriend, with whom he has since moved in. He is currently renovating the apartment. Door frames, windows, painting the walls. Whatever needs to be done. The activity does him good – and awakens his creativity: “My door, my window frame – I painted everything blue. My whole room is blue. Sky blue,” he says and grins.
More about Daniel:
Text: Jonas Füllner
Foto: Mauricio Bustamante