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Artist of the Week – Gary Odd

March 6, 2017 by · No comments

Interview by Dessislava Berndt with Gary Odd, author, illustrator, publisher of, musician and inventor of the character Ulpi
Translation from German: Dessislava Berndt
Proofreading: Polina Georgieva


Gary Odd (a.k.a. Gary Sinnlos) is an author, illustrator and publisher of, as well as a musician and inventor of the character Ulpi.

Ulpi`s adventures finance his own ones. He has been travelling around the world with Ulpi for seven years. During his tours through the USA, Europe and Asia he sold more then 100.000 Ulpi books, in restaurants or in bars. There were always people who liked his stories.

Website: / /

Ulpi fairy tails

Gary, what is the meaning of the name Ulpi and where it comes from??

I don’t know exactly how I came up with the name. It was already there when I was a child. I also called my younger brother “Ulpi” for a long time.

I don’t know if Ulpi means something but you can read in Wikipedia that the name of the first Roman emperor was Ulpius (Trajan). So, it is a venerable name.

The funny thing is that in the USA the name „Ulpi“ is pronounced „Alpi“ like the Alps in Switzerland, my homeland.

How can you describe Ulpi?

He is clever, he has an ability to revive and philosophical views. He is a person who makes the best of things.

Ulpi’s fairy tales refer to never giving up. They are short meaningful stories about how to fight against the adversity and pitfalls of life.

Ulpi sticker

How did you come up with the idea of writing and drawing modern fairy tales?

I needed income and I can also say “it was the pure naive desire to do it”.

When did it become clear to you that you would like to live differently and to write and draw stories?

The question to live differently didn’t exist for me. I simply wanted to live the way I liked it.
And I was lucky. At the age of 14 I discovered punk, and that smoothed my way.

To do what I like was the important thing. Writing, designing and drawing were things I’ve done since I was a child and I simply continued doing that. The new thing was my music. At 17 I had my own fanzine („Sinnlos“), a punk band („Abgas“) and a cassette label („Gefahrenzone-Records“).

Cover Abgas

Where do you find your story ideas? What inspires you?

„Diary is my art“. My stories are modern fairy tales, somehow a diary, where I write and draw what I see and experience.

Sometimes I mix both together and invent something in addition to it. Inspiration is a blessing and cannot be planned. It can happen anywhere, during the night, in the stupidest situation, but especially when you don’t think about it. Inspiration is always joyful; it is a bliss or a thrill.

Ulpi and the flow of life

Are there special moments during the travelling with Upli that you remember?

A lot. Once, at the JFK airport in New York a custom officer opened my suitcase and discovered the Ulpi books that I planned to sell in New York. I had to persuade her of the necessity of the books in order not to confiscate my suitcase. Successfully. She couldn’t make out a single word of my explanations but at the end she smiled at me with a wink and wished me: „Good luck!“.

Ulpi in New York, photo> Doris Peter

Can we expect some new Ulpi stories?

Yes, if everything goes smoothly, in 2017 I will have new Ulpi stuff and at least one new Ulpi fairy tale.

Where can we buy the books?

If you are lucky somewhere in a bar or a pub, otherwise on the internet:

You were travelling a lot, you lived in Switzerland for a while and today you live in Berlin. Why Berlin?

I like Berlin. For me, this is the place to live in Europe. International, many-faceted, creative, sometimes rough and unfinished.

I like the people of Berlin who are direct and tolerant following the motto “To live and let live”. Berlin is a big city with a lot of green spaces and vast expanse… Furthermore, life here is affordable. You can take part in social life with little money. I hope that this remains for a while…

Ulpi sticker

Gary, you are not only the author of the Ulpi fairy tales but also a musician. How did music become part of your life?

Once I had started with it and simply continued. Sometimes, there are longer pauses through years. I see music as an art and a way to explain a feeling or a situation, or simply to tell a story.

My current project is „Gloomy Stars“ pure Sadcore Trash and a total counterweight to the highly optimistic Ulpi fairy tales. Sad and beautiful. Dark, heavy and relieving. Again, the important thing here is to have fun and joy. Sometimes we create a very sad song, so sad, that we get really surprised with ourselves and so, have to laugh about it.

Gloomy Stars „Basement“

How can you describe your person with five words?

Dreamer, flake, capitalist, bohemian, libertine.

What are your dreams?
To go on new journeys, new tours, to visit friends all over the world again and to meet new friends.

What is your life philosophy?

When you fall down, stand up, smile and go further.

Home is…?

Where my key fits. 


What do you do in your spare time?

I cannot distinguish between spare time and working time. For me, there is only life time.

What are your future plans?

To live, to smile and simply to continue doing what I love.

Ulpiversum Verlag Berlin
Since its foundation in1984 the publishing house Verlag Berlin is specialised in production and distribution of “special” books in the fields of literature and photography. Every book is a result of the individual work with the authors and the passion for details.

Because of the 2010 published book “Sofia – in broad daylight 1990 till 2001” of the photographer Doris Peter ( the publishing house has a good relationship with Bulgaria. The volume of the book has 356 pages and 212 black and white photos, showing the transition of Sofia from communism to capitalism in the period between 1990 and 2001 – a unique historical document.

Doris Peter was presented in 2010 to our readers as “Artist of the Week” with an interview (Artist of the Week – Doris Peter).


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