30 June 2009

One more photo.

Just one more of great importance, and then it is time to leave.the.computer.

That's right, dear reader(s). TRAFFIC LIGHTS. FOR THE BICYCLES. GLEEEE!

Well that took all of four days.

I'm torn between the blog and Berlin, and the latter will definitely win, but a few things at least just a few days in...

apartment keys: check.
handi (german cell phone): check.
bike: CHECK!
internet: (still pending, but that's actually just fine for the moment, methinks.)

Sunday (Day three):
I ran into Liisa Repo Martell at the Flöhmarkt. I don't really know her, 'xcept she's an Amazing Toronto actress who has worked with Theatre Smith Gilmour, so I knew her right away. She's actually in Prague doing a theatre thing (I thought perhaps she was in Berlin with Volcano as part of the Four Horsemen project), and decided to come over to Berlin for a few days. I was also thrilled to discover her daughter(?)'s nickname is Pickle.

Purchased a bicycle. BICYCLE! It weighs almost as much as I do, and the pedals fell off a few hours after I got it (not unforeseen) But with a good cleaning and lubing, it will function just fine for the next two months, and sweet christ, it's OLIVE GREEN. AND it has those lights that are generated by the motion of the tires, which I Adore. ADORE. I have christened it Oliver B. Germlish, in honor my exemplary language skills.

Monday (Day four):
There I was, biking my bicycle (BICYCLE!) along the streets of Berlin, and who do I run into but someone I met in Sweden FOURTEEN YEARS AGO.
For those reader(s) who don't know the back story, I dropped out of university in '95 to move to Sweden 'coz there was a guy there (Micke by name) I had met in London the year before (at the Albert Hotel, no less!) and he wrote amazing letters to me, and that's just what one does when one is 21 in such circumstances. It was all very enlightening, to live in the tiny town of Västerås and kick barrels down a street and listen to the Pixies at full volume and blow out the speakers, and order pizza and eat pepper streaks, and go to parties in Malmo hosted by circus school students, and make strange sculptures out of charity shop finds. But I left two months later anyhow and went to London.
So Micke's best friend at the time was this guy Crippa, known for climbing through Micke's windows when he wasn't home, trying to sell his father's stamp collection, getting arrested in London for stealing CDs from HMV, engraving his name on a washing machine at the Albert Hotel, and wearing his grandma's angora sweaters. When Michael called me seven years ago out of the blue (and then disappeared again), he mentioned Crippa was in Berlin, making comics etc. But that was the end of that.


There I was, biking along yesterday afternoon, feeling very Kermit-like and content, and THERE'S CRIPPA. NO.WORD.OF.A.LIE. We looked at each other oddly, kept going our own ways, and then I exclaimed STOP! WAIT! YOUR NAME IS CRIPPA! And so it was. I cannot Believe I recognized him. He is working these days at a comic book shop in Berlin, making comics, and was carrying a freshly purchased black bicycle wheel.

Can you say GOOD OMEN?!?!

25 June 2009

anmelden anmelden ANMELDEN!

4.02am, Toronto time, Frankfurt Hahn airport. One more flight to Berlin!
I'm not sure what it is about Europe that makes me feel 20. Maybe the fact that last time I was here I was 20 something? Oh. 29. Anyhow, AWESOME. I'd be doing giddy cartwheels if I wasn't sure that I'd harm myself seriously with the fatigue factor.

AND, signed into blogger and it automatically went to a german version of the homepage. WEEEEEEEE!

13 June 2009

First we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin.

But WHY, why, is there always so So much to do before leaving the country. How does it happen? Yeesh.

11 June 2009

MoCCA comic arts festival: index

Days spent in New York: 5
Days at MoCCA festival: 2
Number of places stayed: 2

Number of books (of mine to sell) brought with: 49
Number of books given away: 4
Number of books sold: 45 (!!)

Number of books read during trip: 5 (1 novel ["The Angel Riots" completed; awesome]; 3 silent graphic novels [completed; also awesome, and fascinatingly incomprehensible in one case, which was most informative, given my own stuff; 2 interviews from an anthology [David Hockney's Camera Lucida theory about the Renaissance painters; FASCINATING]; excerpt from Coco's as yet untitled masterpiece.
Number of books purchased during trip: (ahem) 6
Number of them that were in an unfathomable scandinavian language: 3

Number of gin gimlets drunk on my first night in New York, at a gloriously elegant bar with my even more gloriously elegant cousin: 3
Nibbles on toes from a tenaciously cute cat named Bix during my first evening in NY: 2
Number of onlookers at the time: 2 (blue japanese fighting fish, named Chet and Josephine)
Number of natural phenomena experienced during the trip: 2 (one full moon on the Hudson river in a sailboat, one lightning storm at 20,000 ft flying towards Toronto at nighttime)

Number of art exhibits attended: 4 (two at the Moma, two at Jonathan Levine gallery in Chelsea)
Number of bookshops visited: 4 (St. Marks once; Jim Hanley's Universe once; Strand twice)
Number of blocks walked over the course of the visit: (approximate) 121 (probably more)
Number of times I yearned palpably for my bicycle: 6
Number of times I got to lose total control at the Whole Foods Market salad bar: 2

Number of nights in Brooklyn: 1
Number of excited woops (all silent) at the sight of the hem of David Byrne's garment during a free concert at Prospect Park: 3 
Number of bars visited afterwards: 2
Number of beers that evening: unremembered
Number of regrets: 0

Most importantly, I decided to bring Art with me to New York, and we are getting along rippingly well. We've decided on an open relationship for the moment, and the many savory characters who showed an interest in our work made for an unforetold resurrection of my enthusiasm for it all. A close life disaster, averted yet again, in the very death throes.  YES.

04 June 2009

And tomorrow

New York City! MoCCA comic arts festival! Woop!

pic-tionary graduate. At last.

Before and during art school I drew only from life, never from photos. Years of just my eyes, real life, and paper and pencil.
When I started making my little books the idea of the story took precedence, and demanded particular pictures that led me to take specific photos to get specifically what I needed. But this has happened so much in the past couple of years that I've been feeling practically enslaved to it, like some surreal human photo-copier.
I was recently approached by an Amazing author to work on an even More amazing project, which is in the formative stages of formative so I have to mind my excitement somewhat. 
It is an illustrated book. Starting sketches for it, I decided it was time. 
Time to renounce the heavy reference once again. Terrifying.

The weird thing about breakthroughs in art is that not only do they make very little sense to anyone who doesn't do exactly what you do, but process is so solitary from the get-go that it hardly feels like a victory to anyone else anyhow.
I feel right now like someone who's been learning a language for ages, and is finally constructing sentences without using the dictionary (pic-tionary) to build them from scratch. Reference as exactly that: reference
And working on someone else's ideas is about the Biggest Relief I have Ever known at the moment. Extraordinarily Awesome. 

I think Art and I (as with most mercurial relationships of great infatuation and questionable benefit) are for the moment back together. Or in couples' counselling, anyhow.

Here are three of the first five drawings (drafts, not finals, tho' I of course got somewhat carried away.)

All blogging postponed

Due to grant application of magnificent drawing excellence, trip to New York, MoCCA art festival, and laundry somewhere between all of those things. News after the 12th. Yeeeesssshhh!