Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Back where it all began

This blog started with an iphone, and my Q train commute to work. The iphone was my brother's old phone, and wasn't connected to a network. It was there only for drawing. On days I didn't bike to work, I'd stand or sit, and surreptitiously draw my fellow commuters. I was briefly back in the states last week, and again spent some time on the subways, drawing on my iphone. This time, it was my father's old iphone, and it's been unlocked so it actually now is used as my European network phone, too. 
NYC is notorious for not feeling sacred or sentimental about structures. I'd say that in the picture of NYC, the structures are the frame, and the people are the content. Here are a few faces from the NYC subways, the people that are the brick and mortar of NYC, drawn with thumb and iphone.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013


I recently was in Dresden for a few 'partly sunny' September days. It seems that means 5-10 minutes of sun breaking through moody shrouded skies. Maybe I'm overstating things a little bit. One day did have an hour of sun. Maybe this was all appropriate, though. Dresden has a rich history, known for many years as the "jewel box" along the Elbe, rich in cultural and economic life, adorned with rococo joy underneath heavy wide skies. More recently, it's known for the Allied bombing in the final part of WW2 that destroyed the city and its mostly civilian inhabitants in a firestorm of destruction. Most Americans became familiar with it through Kurt Vonnegut's book 'Slaughterhouse Five'. After the war, this city became part of Eastern Germany, and had its old town reconstructed to look mostly like it was before. So, what's old is new, and what's new is old. Often one old block next to a new one, upon dirt that includes the incinerated bones of former inhabitants. So, for them to say a brooding day is 'partly sunny' is quite optimistic of Dresden. That Germany is now again the strongest economy in Europe also helps the sun shine on this quiet city.
Here are some drawings I did while there. To see more, please visit my Viewbook album. http://nathanielmiller.viewbook.com/album/dresden

Dresden Frauenkirche and its hushed open plaza.

Dresden Frauenkirche, from the other side. The sky always felt like it had a gravity, pressing against the darkened stone.

But then go inside the church, and this is what you see. A joyful rococo celebration!

See that light patch in the sky? That's called 'partly sunny'.
The memory of the past, and it's inclusion into every day life is cemented into the structures, where old dark blocks are pressed against new, lighter ones. 
But then go back out, and you are reminded of the past. Here, in what was a Jewish part of town, they record the past before reconstructing a new building in the old style.
Beer. Small dogs. Rectangular glasses. Outdoor festivals. Welcome to Germany.