Latest Posts

My muse is a city - and I'm going to revisit it!

Vienna Skat deck. Bells.
A: Prater, K: French Embassy,
O: Secession, U: St Augustin
When I was a bit smaller and more easy to order around, my parents woke me up at 3a.m. on a rainy day, sandwiched me (a motion-sickness plagued and claustrophobic child) between my dad and my grandma on the backseat of a horrible car with nothing to do, and started on a seven-hour journey to Vienna with plans to drive back home that very same day. 

You can't even begin to imagine how much I hated this stupid city.  

I was miserable for the entire journey. I was cold and tired and bored and sick, and there was nothing to do except to endure the drive, suffer through meeting even older people than my grandparents (yay, being social!), take a hasty look around old buildings that would look shit in the rain anyway, and then, joy of joys, have a similar ride back home at night.

Eventually, I survived meeting my grandparents' friends (and they had cookies. Breakfast!), and then my parents and I took off on a quick city trip, and ... I fell head over heels in love. 

Vienna Skat deck. Leaves.
A: Opera House. K: Upper Belvedere
O: Palmenhaus Schönbrunn.
U: Dr Karl Lueger Memorial Church

I was used to the Austrian mentality, having been made to holiday on a farm in the mountains of Styria for five years, so I can't cite that as a reason. I can't cite the weather, because that was shit when we got there, and stayed like that for almost the entire day. I can't cite what we saw or did, because other than the Hofburg, I remember nothing. But on that day, I fell in love, and after sleeping peacefully through the drive back home, I knew I was lost forever.

I went back several times, both with my parents and my grandparents. And every time, the circumstances were not ideal, but this city has made everything better.

Vienna Skat deck. Acorns.
A: Cathedral. K: Lower Belvedere.
O: UNO City. U: Minorites Church

I went with my parents to the region around the city. My dad wanted to go fly a plane, so my mum said I could visit Vienna alone, if I visited an exhibition for her. I did, and let me tell you, I really really don't like Goya's "Disasters of War". Vienna was nice to me, and offered a plein-air exhibition of Yann-Artus Bertrand's "The Earth from Above" right outside to make up for it. See? It wanted me to like it :).

I went with my grandparents, and my granddad hat picked a really shitty place to stay. So it offered many nice cafés and a great restaurant nearby. And I loved this city so much, I even designed a deck of playing cards for my granddad and my aunt. (That meant drawing things four times - top, bottom, and the second deck. I had underestimated the amount of work this provided me with.)

I stopped there on a long train ride home, and that staff member in Vienna main station was the only one I've ever met who was able to point out the nearest letter box. And I've tried that in almost every major city in the world, because I always forget to write my postcards and tend to send them from the journey home. (I would be an annoying penpal for a stamp collector, that's for sure.)

Vienna Skat deck. Hearts.
A: Parliament. K: Schönbrunn.
O: Urania. U: St Charles

The next time I visited Vienna, I had finished my studies over 1.5 years ago and had still not been able to find a real job. I went to Vienna for a concert of James Horner music, and tbh, if it had not been James Horner, I would not have gone despite having booked and paid for everything. The train connection was awful and I arrived five hours late, and more sad than I had been when I left home, which I hadn't known was possible. This time, the city apparently decided on a full spa treatment. It gave me a nice landlady who just let me drop off my things, gave me a key and a wifi password and then drove me to the concert venue so I could make it in time. It gave me a great concert and a chance to see and hear James Horner, who passed away not two years later. It gave me a nice morning stroll and pumpkin spiced latte the next day, a lovely long lunch date with friends, a visit to a record store that had stocked two CDs I had always been unable to find in the afternoon, and that night, it went all out. Open Night at the museums!!! I saw and did so much that night.
When I drove home the next morning, I was still out of a job. But I had hope again, for the first time in over a year. 

You see how this city treats me?
Other people have imaginary friends, or alcohol, or both. I have an entire city. And right now I also have a plane ticket and a booking confirmation telling me that in seven short weeks, I will go and revisit it.

My year has not been nice.
And sometimes, making art has been a chore, and I have had to force myself to do one of the things I love most. But there is light at the end of my tunnel, and it has cafés and yellow-stoned buildings and trees in autumn colours.

I can't wait to see it. And to draw it. And to try and capture it forever.

No comments