The Berlin Years

Much an impossible chapter to close in my life – I’ve made great strides to at least archive most of the visual art projects of my yesteryears from my European stint.

When I arrived in Berlin for the first time in 2010, I was an American. Before long I became an expat. And then I was an artist – hearkening my suffocated passion, and I found myself in a dance studio again, teaching. I learned quickly that Modern dance was outdated in Contemporary driven Berlin – and so I forged a path to invade the landscape by delving into multimedia art.

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From “The Pursuit of Happiness : Berlin 2011 – 2014”

I had already started my Self = Portraits project when I returned to Berlin in 2011, and after Art Connect Berlin caught wind of it and it was presented at their grand opening event, I decided to do more film work. It all started with the first film of the series entitled “Banana” that secured me my Josephine Baker Moment.

 

I was also actively using my smart phone and laptop computer for projects satirizing social media and involving social experiments. And when a photographer friend I met allowed me to borrow his SLR for a few projects, I ended up with several visual art presentations that I’m now putting to rest. That ran the gamut of fine art inspired pieces, doing video portraits (inspired mostly by Tyler Shields) and technique inspired landscapes and compositions. My film work encompassed so much of what I wanted to express in writing and dance, but with much more abrasive force like so:


 

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Many photos of this series were taken by a friend in Charlottenburg – an actress who I spent a lot of time with sitting at a fountain, clumsily rolling cigarettes, crying and celebrating our woes and wins together.

“Can you take a picture of me?” is not such a foreign phrase – though it is, especially in a city that mostly survives because of its tourism. I’ve never documented the differences between when I asked my friends to take the photos and when I asked strangers – though I will say that I gave explicit instructions for each photographer to try and get a shot of me when the smoke was coming out of my mouth and covering my visage. The strangers were less frustrated by this request than my friends.

See the full collection here: Up in Smoke

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Many instances of love were transient entities who were powerful, fleeting members of my story. This particular bed was were I felt the most comfortable and heartbroken.

There was a large variety of places where I woke up in Berlin. I documented them.

See the full collection here: Morgen

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This is the very first apartment I rented just steps from Nollendorfplatz. It was the beginning of…

I also took photos of buildings that served as monuments where very monumental activities took place.

See the full collection here: Old Haunts

 

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This was a place I visited many many times. I learned a lot about myself here.

The most difficult to publicize is the most raw collection of photography that started off as a collection of pictures taken pre and post coitus (and sometimes during). I narrowed down the vast selection to a few snapshots that were the highlights of my experiences in this realm.

See the full collection here: The Pursuit of Happiness

I have always steered towards taking portraits of the body rather than the face. The face (while it tells a longwinded expository story) is too complicated for me and as a choreographer I’ve always read people through movements. Of course many of the portraits I took of artists were scoffed upon by the subjects for obvious reasons, but this perspective gives a very vicarious point of view of how I am inspired by them.

See the collection here: Lebensk√ľnstler 


 

Though I haven’t been able to finish editing the biggest project that I started, a film entitled Muse, due to my old MacBook Pro crashing – I still have some of the rough cut edits in the following films.

I was setting out to find some editors to review and edit the footage artistically and juxtapose them together for a gallery showing, but that wasn’t in the cards for me. Each actor/artist in the films was an extremely special person in my life who influenced me to keep creating during my time in Berlin.

 

 

 

 

 

I’m really proud of all of these works though I really hate editing (as duly noted in my Cubist style layering in my film work) and I never do any retouching or editing of my photography.

Perhaps if I can find a cinematographer and an editor – I’ll get back into filmmaking again, but I will only be doing it with a pen and paper. The camera is not my best tool, but I made the most of it and it kept me afloat as a relevant artists while I was in Berlin.

 

 

 

 

 

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