Monday, April 30, 2012

To Come Home

I watched Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives just before leaving for Berlin. It's about a guy who's son became a bigfoot. I cannot stop drawing these guys after watching that movie. If you can be reborn as a bigfoot, then you've lived a life worthwhile, I think.

My friend Nicolas showed me his friend's studio. His friend had a climbing wall built inside of the studio, it was so surreal. Inside of this home-made climbing wall, all the drill holes let the sunlight through, looking like stars. As you can see, I cannot spell "stars."

Above images are some sketchbook drawings I've done during my Berlin trip last week. I just got over jet lagging yesterday. You get a twinge when jet lag disappears. The warm ray of trip has dissipated and the time is passing. This is my second trip to Berlin and it again showed me the time of my life. The first Berlin trip last year taught me to be more open and giving. I don't know what I've learned this year yet. I've been too busy to sit and think. I won't have chance at least til next week.

Berlin is different from other places I've been, because it's so inviting. I was rarely left alone and I felt so comfortable there. It's a magical city where people opened up everywhere I went. A city where tasty vegan icecream's readily available... I want to live there! But then if I actually live there, things would be different. My friends told me that it's even more isolating than Toronto. Berlin and Toronto, my favourite two cities. I'm grateful for every minute I spend in both cities.

I was there for Pictoplasma festival/conference. It's been a dream to be in the Pictoplasma book. I also got to be in an exhibition and gave a presentation. Lars and Peter (Pictoplasma organizers) had been overly kind to me.  I'm so grateful for the opportunity. I met so many friends, whom I connected right away.

This year's Pictoplasma: Character Compendium. I'm on page 72! You can purchase it here.

Here are some highlights from the Berlin trip, boring home-vacation-slides-style (nobody reads my blog, so I can put whatever I want):
Inside of Spree/Treptower Park, there is a beautiful abandoned amusement park. We snuck in to take photos.
Street "art" made out of chewed gum.

No black donkeys allowed in that park.
One of my absolute favourite talks at Pictoplasma by an illustrator Ben Newman. Always loved his work, but his presentation was something else. He started by playing Van Halen on his cellphone for an awkward 2 minutes. Then extremely inspiring presentation ensued. He was very professional yet funny at the same time. I don't know how he pulled that off.

Vegan brunch with my dear friend Sara at Kopps restaurant. I visited that restaurant 4 times during my stay. Excessive? Yes.
My friend took me to a park with a giant metal slide. I wanted to ride it, but it was too cold.

Neurotitan Gallery/Store with friends. This photo features my favourite illustrator, Aaron Leighton.

Stairwell of Neurotitan gallery.

Lucky Leek restaurant. It was higher price range, but definitely worth it. I've never had such a tasty fancy vegan meal. I wish I ate a dessert there.

At a Soviet monument.

One of Chi Sing's lunch set menu. Happiness costs 8 euros. I bumped into this restaurant by a mistake. I took a wrong direction from a friend. But a happy accident nonetheless. They'd make anything vegan for the customers.

Tried spray painting for the first time with a help of one of my favourite artists, LowBros. LowBros were very kind and patient with me. I want to do more! 

Oh, it was extremely cold. If you are going to Berlin in April, please pack a winter coat. Hand warmers I brought saved my life, but I didn't bring enough. 
Drawing done in airplane. Someone told me that the proximity determines emotional distance between people. But I don't think a day went by without me thinking about my friends and loved ones. Even though I love Berlin, by the end of the trip, I was ready to come home. By being away, I was again reminded of how everyone and everything around me is important to me. I felt guilty not having time for people in the name of making a living. While abroad, I missed familiar faces, and the comfort of my city. I love that I completely blend-in in Toronto. When the plane landed on Toronto Pearson airport, I wanted to kiss the ground (and murmured, "God bless the Queen!"). 

I think that's the reason why people travel: to come home. 

And lastly, a video of my Pictoplasma presentation. Thanks Steve for kindly filming!
30 minutes is a long commitment to watch some internet video, but hopefully, my dear friend Benjamin Rivers' review would convince you to sit through it:

"Oh my god, you are such an artist hipster. I don't think we can be friends anymore"

1 comment:

Maaya said...

OMG your video construction of your fluffy fluffy head piece is like the same stuff I go through for cosplaying- ANYTHING GOES and DUCT TAPE SOLVES PROBLEMS! =)