Beatrix Ost is an artist, film and theater producer, designer, actress, and writer. She is originally from Germany, but I found her I her all the way across the world, in New York. Although she has accomplished a wealth of incredible things in her first 73 years of life, she shows no intention of stopping anytime soon. Even to set eyes on her is to be embraced by her vivid spirit. As she spoke to me, her words were as colorful and imaginative as the worlds into which she draws those who experience her work.
“To love is the best, most desirable reality,” she said, explaining her own dream. “Live your life as a piece of art.” She returned to the moment I first encountered her, walking through the new-fallen snow in Central Park like she had emerged from a fantastical theater set: “Walking in Central Park after Juno felt fresh and pure. Winter had arrived. There was no haste in people’s faces, nothing had to be done…everybody was where he wanted to be: in Central Park. When you approached me, I knew I was like a black and white photograph. You only needed to press down, and – click! I was there, like the park itself! Black and white!”
She told me a story about her own memories of snowstorms in the past. “My grandfather ventured into a snowstorm and sat down and wanted to die – but they rescued him – he was very angry being disrupted in his zest for eternity!” Ost herself seems to have a zest for eternity, although in a very different way – she makes herself eternal by passionately putting herself out into the world through her art.
“My portrait has no timeframe,” she told me. Speaking of her unique style, she explained, “fashion comes from within – my concept of body and mind. The possibilities around me are all one; they cannot exist but by holding each other’s hand.” What did she have to say about the fact that many people perceive her as a fashion icon? “I think I’m at ease with myself, and my love for fashion is my body art.” Ost’s penchant for creative expression extends even to the clothes she puts on every day.
Beatrix Ost has thoughtfully crafted a beautiful reality around everything she does. If you want to escape into a realm that seems taken from a patchwork of history and fantasy, enter her home and estate in this special video tour. After discovering this hidden gem by swinging a pendulum over a map of the East Coast, she has made the estate into a paradise that seems like it could only exist in a storybook. 500 acres of sweeping fields, ponds, and woodlands are full of treehouses and sculptures made by other artists. This fascinating video surely provides only a glimpse into the eccentric world of Beatrix Ost.
It is rare to come across someone who so deeply embodies art, from her outward appearance to her life philosophies. Learn more about her by reading her own childhood stories, eloquently told in her book My Father’s House: A Childhood in Wartime Bavaria.
Ost’s sense of style shows an aesthetic of timeless, yet individualistic glamour. To be inspired by more like her, take a look at Ari Seth Cohen’s collection of street photographs of women over 60 who have taken style to a whole new level and become walking works of art.
My Father’s House: A Childhood in Wartime Bavaria
Advanced Style, Ari Seth Cohen’s collection of street photographs.
In Focus: National Geographic Greatest Portraits (National Geographic Collectors Series)
National Geographic: The Photographs (National Geographic Collectors Series)
Through the Lens: National Geographic Greatest Photographs (National Geographic Collectors Series)
Gregory Heisler: 50 Portraits: Stories and Techniques from a Photographer’s Photographer
Road to Seeing