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Einstein Kristiansen (2011)
September 12, 1965
Greåker, Sarpsborg, Norway
Øistein Kristiansen, formerly known under his artist name Einstein Kristiansen (born on 12 September 1965), is a Norwegian cartoonist, designer, TV-host and co-founder of Singapore-based Earthtree Pte Ltd, who together with his two business partners Henry Steed and Mark Hillman, produces children's television programming, animation and image campaigns for MTV Asia, Nickelodeon and Singapore network Mediacorp TV12.
Born in Sarpsborg, Norway, Kristiansen grew up in Greåker, a borough of Sarpsborg. He initially rose to fame for his illustration work in magazines like Vogue, ELLE, and Mad Magazine after studying cartooning in New York City. A keen traveller, Kristiansen was backpacking through Southeast Asia with the intention of travelling on to find work in Japan. Finding himself stranded in Singapore and short of money, he was reduced to drawing cartoons for tourists in Clarke Quay. He found there was a demand for his quirky, childlike vision of the world, and soon enjoyed some celebrity as a cartoonist for the Singapore newspaper, The Straits Times.
His television career in Singapore began in the mid-1990s as an extra for Mediacorp drama productions, but he was not taken seriously in the local market until the year 2000, when Perth-based CVA Productions began production of the children's arts and crafts drama show Art Factory for three seasons.
Subsequently, Kristiansen, together with Art Factory director Mark Hillman, co-produced a new show for MediaCorp. Cows n Crayons, Earthtree's first successful show, ran for two seasons. It was followed by Super Einstein, a superhero-themed art show, which ran for two seasons, and "Einstein's Tingkat", a cooking and arts show.
In 2005, Kristiansen appeared in a self-funded series of live action shorts called "Right on Top". The series was transmitted on the Nickelodeon Southeast Asia feed. One season of "Art Mad", the show's long form, has been purchased for broadcast by German corporation Faber-Castell for transmission in Indonesia.
Legal controversies regarding Kristiansen
Kristiansen's company, Earthtree Pte Ltd, was originally known as Einstein's Earthtree Pte Ltd. However, lawyers from The Roger Richman Agency, on behalf of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, issued warning letters to protect the image and identity of Albert Einstein. The lawyers also contested his use of the moniker "Einstein Kristiansen", and so in 2007, he changed his professional name back to his original name, Øistein Kristiansen.