Cornelia was born in Zurich, Switzerland, to artist parents. After frequent moves between Switzerland and the USA, the family finally settled down in a tranquil village outside Zurich in 1959. There, close to nature but not far from the big city abounding with cultural events, Cornelia grew up immersed in the art world.

In 1971, the family opened Galerie Art and Café Art in the old part of Zurich. This was an exciting time in Cornelia’s life. She enjoyed daily interaction with customers while helping in the family business and felt inspired by the interesting people she met as well as by exposure to new ideas.

Always having had a yearning for far away places, Cornelia decided to go to college in the USA in 1973. She met her future husband there, and then moved to his native Japan followed by several years in Germany and the USA. While living in Tokyo, Cornelia studied printmaking at the Joshibi University of Art and Design from 1984 to 1987.