Faintly sepia tinted color photograph of artist Mignon Naegeli.

Mignon grew up in Lucerne, Switzerland.
At 16 she became an apprentice in a photography studio.

After almost failing graduation … she tried many professional adventures: A stint as a photojournalist. Years as darkroom black and white techniques specialist at a fashion photography studio. A few weeks as a sales clerk in a high-end mountain resort, as well as a multi-language Alpine tour guide. Assistant to a famous cook.

Eventually, she became an editorial researcher at World Wildlife Fund Switzerland, where she met the Wolfman. The couple moved with their cat Hector Samuel to Germany and finally settled in the United States.

Moving to her new homeland brought peace to the restless job seeker. Art became her obsession. Everything she’d done in her tumultuous life turned into pieces of art. First, she created strange objects that symbolized her past. Around 1990 Mignon realized that the knowledge of the métier, which had so much frightened her, could be used to her advantage. Discovering small-format cameras she never was familiar with, helped metamorphose her craftsmanship into sensibility and expressiveness. Guided by her nerdy “Wolfman,” she explored electronic cameras and computers that offered a magical opportunity to transform her images into different works.

Words have been a comfort throughout her life. After adopting a mixed breed dog 15 years ago, she named him Basquiat. Writing in German as a young woman she used the pseudonym Cat Smoketea.

Many years later, after becoming a U.S. citizen, her now English words are written and published electronically on her website, using the dog’s name Basquiat as her nome de plume.

April 2018