Oliver Rennert was born in Stuttgart, Germany, in 1957 and grew up in Munich. Quite early on he began to first draw and later, paint. He also loved any type of model making, especially when aeroplanes or spacecraft were involved. At age 13 his illustrated entry won first prize in an essay contest sponsored by the Raiffeisen Bank, the topic being „Humankind’s Objectives in Space“. The prize consisted of a two-week round trip to the principal NASA sites in the USA, among them New York, Cape Canaveral and Houston. Thus, a childhood dream was fulfilled and a passion for the English language and travel was awakened.
Rennert attended Munich International School, and after graduation he was once more lured to the US. This time, however, he and a friend would spend six months crossing the continent by bicycle, adding a trip down the West Coast to Mexico for good measure. Doubtless, this was a hugely exciting time, both instructive and eventful.
Following compulsory military service in Germany, Rennert moved to London, where in 1987 he completed an Honours degree at Middlesex Polytechnic, which focussed mainly on studies of Painting, Design and Industrial History. As part of the course he spent six months as an exchange student at Radford University, in Radford, Virginia, USA.
First small illustration assignments first appeared around this time, as did participation in competitions and exhibitions. His first publicly acknowledged works of art consisted of two large pub signs, entries which won him second prize in the 1982 „Paint-A-Pub Sign Competition” held by Wem Ales. For each face of the signs installed outside the relevant pubs he was paid a gold sovereign: payment in pure gold!
In 1987/8 Rennert took part in the celebrations marking the Australian Bicentenary by becoming a trainee crewmember aboard an authentic replica of HMAV Bounty, the ship involved in the famous mutiny. The replica was part of a 9-ship fleet of sailing vessels re-enacting the first arrival of Europeans in Australia. This four-month passage would teach Rennert not only some sailing and shipboard cooking skills but would determine the next stages in his life: A job offer as illustrator for Australian Geographic Magazine was gladly accepted, bags were packed and Rennert relocated to Australia – flying, this time – for the next 13 years.
During this time he would also work for Weldon Owen Publishing, Reader’s Digest, The Sydney Morning Herald and the government of Queensland. Besides, he began taking an interest in landscape painting. A severe accident, which subsequently brought fundamental changes to his life took him back to Germany in 2003. He has been working as a freelance artist in Cologne since 2007.
This is how Rennert sums up the driving force behind his work:
„What interests me is capturing whatever somehow touches and stops me dead because of its intrinsic beauty, no matter how banal the circumstance. I want to try and hold on to that for me uniquely poignant, irretrievable moment, and through my work delay its passing a little while.”