Studio Sneak Peek: Inspired by Graffiti
Exactly two more months to go until I can say that I've lived in Germany for one year! My art seems to have become much less "tame" since we moved here. I find that I often feel much less inhibited and am not afraid just to splash and splatter the paint, even if I do end up just making a mess.
The painting I've been finishing up this week is a nice balance between chaos spilling over and an energizing peace swooping in to make sense of the mess. The chaos reminds me of graffiti, perhaps was inspired by the graffiti I see everyday in my urban environment, the graffiti that I have slowly become to accept and even appreciate as part of the "experience" of living in a big city.
I love the contrast of linear urban structures of brick and cement covered in wildly growing ivy and graffiti, the wild outpourings of nature and the creative release of sometimes troubled but still-expressive human hearts. It is a part of the world's story of making order of chaos, clinging to hope in the midst of despair.
These are photos of what I would call "amateur" graffiti on a very minor scale. Our city is on the quieter northern edge of Hamburg, so while you can still see it everywhere, the graffiti is a little thin here. But when I walk or ride my bicycle past this parking garage and through the overpass, I often think of my former self, the me who once said that I didn't think I could move to Hamburg because the graffiti bothered me that much. Of course, it wasn't only the graffiti--it was also the lack of sunshine, the cold winters, the scarcity of truly delicious hamburgers in Hamburg (ironic, don't you think? :)).
When in 2007 hubby and I first began the more serious discussion of possibly moving to Germany, I had come to the conclusion that I just couldn't do it. Basically, I wasn't ready to give up the coziness and safety of our adopted "hometown" near Denver--the one with the beautiful mountain views and the picturesque daily life of morning coffee with one of my best friends (who literally lived just down the street at one point), afternoons of uninterrupted painting with the cool Colorado breeze blowing through the screen door, the occasional bike ride to the library or antique store in old downtown, quiet evenings reading or watching a movie with hubby.
Living in Germany might sound "picturesque" to lots of people--and sometimes it is. But for me, I had already found my "ideal" little life, and I really liked it that way! Add in two beautiful little girls who arrived one-after-the other in 2009 and 2010 and life became even sweeter (minus the uninterrupted afternoons of painting and the quiet evenings snuggled up reading with hubby, of course)! But we felt called to step out of our comfort zone, to face a new life that would sometimes hold minor but difficult realities that I would honestly much rather run away from.
So when I see the graffiti, when I really look at it and hold it in my sight, I acknowledge the truth that a perfectly picturesque life is something that can't exist in this life, while still believing that beauty can come out of the mess.
Join me again in a day or two when I will reveal the finished painting and an inspirational story of people who refuse to look away from an ugliness much worse than graffiti. And click here for another sneak peek of this painting in an earlier work-in-progress post!
Update: I blogged about this finished painting and a couple of real-life heroes here.
Joining Studio Sneak Peek, Paint Party and Imperfect Prose.