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One lucky young lady, Nina Mayerhofer, has found a way to combine her two main passions in life; her love of drawing and her devotion as a YES fan.

The drawing part we can understand, but how did an 18 year old teenager, whose hometown is Burghausen in Bavaria, (near the border of Austria) become such a total YES fan, collecting anything and everything from a 40 year old progressive rock band?

ADD NINA'S CHANNEL (6 videos and a slideshow) to your page

In the beginning, there was YES

Actually, Nina’s obsession lies mainly with one member of the famous group; Mr. Rick Wakeman.

Nina has been drawing since she was two, and places her first exposure to the music when her mom would play Yes songs in the car on their way to kindergarten.

Tales from Topographic Oceans

Nina finally became a hard-core YES fan at the age of eleven, loving TfTO right from first listen. She heavily favours the classic lineup of Anderson, Howe, Squire, Wakeman and White – and indeed these are the characters that found their way into her artwork several years ago.

Nina describes her first band cartoons:

“They didn't look like YES... until I changed the eyes. At first, the eyes were a circle with a point. Then I tried a little bit of Japanese manga-looking eye. Later I changed the contours from small lines to thicker ones.

And now that's my style until today. And I'm not going to change it, even though I could draw much more complex stuff, because I love the way it looks."

"I always prefer drawing them (the members of YES) as young ones, I don't know why, maybe because most of my stories involving my ‘Yes boys’ are set in the timeline of the 70s.”

Journey to the Centre of the Earth

In 2006, Nina started work on a very ambitious project: a hand-drawn animated cartoon movie good enough to share with the public. Each picture was drawn on a single piece of paper (not like in a comic strip, every picture in a square) and the most difficult part was to colour everything virtually.

Nina chose as the theme, Rick Wakeman’s ‘Journey to the Centre of the Earth’ and developed her own storyline and corresponding speech bubbles (in English).

Nina puts tremendous passion into her projects with a highly self-critical eye, working late at night until the drawings and production work are perfect. Selecting the right music to accompany the various scenes is demanding as well, as it often takes an entire day just to make the music fit.

New World of Yes series

After completing her first animated movie, this young artist knew there was more love of YES still to be expressed, and that meant another project, ambitiously titled 'New World of Yes' series, recently launched on YouTube. This series features a full animated intro, which took one month to draw.

The Real Rick Wakeman

So how did a clever girl like Nina manage to get Wakey’s attention? Nina tells it this way:

“This was one of my greatest wishes ever, and makes for a long and wonderous story. First I met his (Rick Wakeman’s) son Ben on Youtube, I talked with him online and after some days he told me that Rick is his dad…

Wow, how embarrassing for me...because at first I thought he was just another fan and I had told how much I love Wakey... aaawww...”

Here comes the next part:

“Wakey's (Rick Wakeman) got a weekly radio show on Planet Rock, where you can send him emails and he reads them live on the air.

This was my chance, I tried it very often and one day, not so long ago, he read my mail.

He actually read out all of the URLs to my websites live on the air and said my paintings are absolutely brilliant. I had also sent him the links to my ‘Journey to the Centre of the Earth’ movie and he watched it after the show.”

Wakey, Wakey, and more Wakey

Yes, it seems that Nina is a huge Wakey fan...her room is full of posters, merchandising and other rare stuff of Rick and Yes. She says that she will always love their music, but wonders what will come next?

Her greatest wish since being a little girl is to become a famous cartoon artist and create her own animated cartoon movie or series on television someday.

Update: A Backstage Message

Some weeks ago when Rick Wakeman was playing in Canada a friend of Nina’s met Rick backstage and inquired if he knew ‘Nina’...to which Mr. Wakeman replied

“What, my ex-wife?”

“No, the young girl...”

“Aaahhh, the cartoon artist! Yes I know her, her work is brilliant”

Going for the One

Nina has yet to meet Rick in person, but was so encouraged when her friend told her the 'backstage story' that she started with her "World of Yes" series that very day and is already working on the second episode.

She also corresponds regularly with Billy Sherwood of Circa, and says that he's a great guy. She sent him a Circa painting which he loved. She writes Mr. Sherwood quite frequently and says:

”He's a big fan of my work and I am a big fan of his music”


Nina has got her feet in the right place. She knows what she like and does it with a passion.

The icing on the cake is getting recognition for your work and meeting your idols at the same time. Nina’s love of progressive music and art may soon lead to a provocative career in the entertainment industry, let’s hope!

Nina Mayerhofer on MySpace, YouTube, Flickr

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