I came back to Berlin from Paris feeling very sad. I had just spent an incredible week filled with painting in the daytime and dancing in the evenings, that returning to a place where I really didn’t know anyone on a personal level, made me quite melancholy.
I was afraid that I was going to lose that drive to create something when I returned, but I found that quite the opposite happened. I’m not sure whether it was that I had finally gotten over the 9 hour time difference and jet lag, but my experience of Berlin the 2nd time around was completely different. I had fallen in love with the city. It was like I was seeing the same thing, but my eyes had completely unfocused and refocused to see the picture differently. The people were different, the food tasted different, and the weight of my feet as they walked down the street was different. Everything seemed to open up like awakening calyx, and all of it was wonderful.
Now I understood why Berlin was called the “Belle Epoque” for our generation. Everything was happening there. At every second of the day, everything creative was happening.. and it was a different kind of creativity that I had never experienced. It was as if all the stars in the sky were aligned with this city, and all of the heavens were pouring into the city streets at every moment. The city was alive with the world at its fingertip, and being in that moment.. in that city, it felt like I was alive for the first moment of my life…. not just breathing and telling time.. but actual living… beyond my mental scope.
I did the same thing I did in Paris. I painted wherever I could. I carried my rolled up canvases on the U-bahn and traveled to the most random of places to paint. Curry Wurst vendor stands, coffee houses, and restaurants… even just on the streets. I painted in Schöneberg, Mitte, Kreuzberg, Neukölln, and Prenzlauerberg. Sometimes I even just rode the U-bahn for hours with no destination but just a stop to get off and experience things new.
I decided to create a piece based on that awakening, and that vision of the universe pouring itself into the city. This piece is called “Alles Ist Wunderschön”, which means “Everything is Wonderfully Beautiful”. Each building tells an intricate story of the city and my time there. There are names here of people I met like Sammy and Josh from the East London restaurant.. where I did a lot of my painting there, to Sergio and his puppy Oscar… to my hosts Chantal and Gary (and their children Mira and Elliot).. who I met in Echo Park at the diner.. and thats how I found a place to stay in Berlin. There are names of districts and U-bahn stops all over this map as well. And of course little things I experienced like the hearing the church bells ring every hour, to the protests and marches over the country’s electrons, down to the simplest things… like the overwhelming amount of bees that swarmed around the pastry shops and attacked the pastries I was eating. Everything was a integral experience of my time there in Berlin, and when I left back to Los Angeles.. I felt a little lost, and yet a bit found at the same time.
Berlin changed a lot of things for me, and not all of them were immediate. Even as I type these words the changes inside me are still happening, and I think for a long time these changes will still continue to go on.
Inside this Mickey head reads.
“Mehringdamm and Yorkstraße, Berlin,
Germany, October, 3rd, 2013
Everything is wonderful here in Berlin. The streets are alive with art here in Kreuzberg. At night the avenues fill up with thousands of starry eyed people laughing and cajoling with each other. They shake off the cold weather and grey clouds and run into the night with their arms open wide to embrace all that the city has to offer. The floodgate in my heart is open here and I cannot for the life of me stop painting. I carry this painting wherever I go here. From Warschauerstraße to Mitte to Neukölln to Prenzlauerberg and beyond. Sometimes I just ride on the u-bahn for hours with no destination in mind just to get hopelessly lost to find myself. And I have. I have! I have found myself. I came here to Berlin as a stranger, a lost kid amongst the stars. I leave this place as a person found, a person now hungry for the universe and all its wonder. I can breathe here. My soul and lungs are full of stardust here. I am alive here in Berlin. I am awake and its wunderbar.”
This is the 9th in the Loveless Letters series, and 78th in the TENxTENxTEN collection