When I was a little girl growing up in Germany I remember staying up long past my bed time to join my mom to watch “the Reportage”, a weekly television program dedicated to stories from around the world. I loved the show because I never knew whom I was going to encounter next, yurt-dwelling nomads of the Tian Shan steppes perhaps, or maybe Andean feminists?
I remember my constant hunger for these stories, devouring them wherever I could find them: In the pages of my tattered collection of National Geographic magazines, in the nuances of schoolyard gossip, and of course there were always the stories of my well-traveled grandfather, who insisted on driving his red 1949 Porsche around town until well into his semi-blind seventies, a hat on his head, and his chow chow in the back seat, the enormous dog almost entirely blocking the back window.
Reportage IS stories. It’s tales of heightened intensity, it’s indulging in the details and embellishments that separate the gifted storyteller from the one who keeps messing up the punch-line. It can be chatty and witty and snarky and sad and uplifting and lighthearted and humane and heartbreaking, and the way you judge it is if it makes you come back for more (and more and more).
I love reportage–Can you tell? I am both an avid listener and an enthusiastic talker, and that goes for words as well as visuals.
Below are two samples of my drawings from travels around the world (for I also enjoy traveling, surprise!):
I did this drawing series in the Tuileries Garden in Paris last summer, it was very hot, and I was very happy, because I was surrounded by the most idyllically bizzarre landscape: August marble statues towering over flabby sunbathers and pigeons, battallions of geometrically shaped trees spilling green shade onto the dusty paths teeming with Parisiens and tourists who got lost on their way to the Louvre, fountains with duckling-chains at swim practice, and placed in perfectly balanced intervals, black sunflowers accenting the herbal and vegetable arrangements, and in the background (OF COURSE) the Eiffel tower…
This is a drawing from a series I did at Rockefeller Center last december; you can see the skaters crowding the miniscule rink below Prometheus delivering fire and, more importantly, the gigantic Christmas tree (both on the left).
From the first time I visited it, I’ve been in love with Rockefeller Center, this strange art deco city-within-a-city, entranced by its subterranean gold, its machine-like Rockettes, its heavy-bodied sculptures and murals, and, of course, its ever-present symbols of 1930’s modern (ie lots of gears and rays and pulleys).
During the holidays, the center turns into a zoo, a magnet for everyone who’s ever seen Miracle on 34th Street or yearns for a 1950’s style White Christmas or who (like me) loves the hustle and bustle of shoppers and the not-always-so-wholesome-looking Salvation Army bell-ringers, and just the whole atmosphere of anicipation and chaos. They decorate the center with sparkling reindeer and oversized paper maché nutcrackers and drummer boys for the holidays (seen in the foreground of the drawing). Ice skaters pay exorbitant fees and wait for hours for their fleeting turn on the ice, but you’re also likely to witness many first dates and marriage proposals there, indicators of the strange romance of the place.
The key to loving it is not to be in a hurry (if you are, you’re better off taking a six-mile detour, at least in december).
Alright, I hope you enjoyed these two selections, you can see more of my reportage work at Studio1482.com and gdimagazine.com
Talk to you soon, Kati