Posted on Nov 28, 2012 in Berlin | 0 comments

Book cover design

This book cover I designed a day after visiting Nina’s studio, looks to me as though it was inspired by Nina’s work.

I visited the behind-glass artist Nina Neumaier in her studio yesterday. It was a short visit because I had to be back home to man my desk by Canadian business hours which start around 5 pm here in Berlin (= 8 am in Vancouver). So my days are best spent sightseeing and my evenings, when it’s dark and cold out anyway, are best spent working.

Nina specializes in painting behind glass, an old but unusual technique these days. The painting has to be created from the front to the back, which is completely the opposite sequence from a traditional painting. So the highlights are applied first, and she works her way to the back in 30 or more layers that are all carefully composed as she works. She showed me some of her beautiful paintings and gave me some tips on how to paint on plexiglass or glass with acrylics. She recommended a product line by the Swiss company Lascaux for its varnishes.

She also gave me a bit more insight into the struggles of living an artist’s life, which made me realize how difficult it is. She takes commissions for decorative work on occasion, because she, as many artists, can not live on art alone — yet she has been pursuing art for many years, and over the last 15 years or so, has increasingly perfected her technique of painting on plexiglass.

She is still on the board of the Frauen Museum Berlin (Berlin Women’s Museum), and even was in charge of programming for the museum for 4 years to establish it as a virtual museum with various galleries as guest hosts of shows, and a high level of work. She mentors young artists and has helped several to get “discovered”.

We got along well, I gave her advice on the design of her next exhibition catalogue, and we are going to meet again soon for more gallery openings, concerts, and outings so she can show me her side of Berlin.

Nina's studio is in this building

Nina’s studio is in this building.

Berlin residential building courtyard

Many Berlin residential buildings, as is common in many old European cities, have these courtyards, sometimes two or three of them in succession which provide air and a bit of green space to the inhabitants.

Dish rack packaging

On an unrelated note: It’s a good thing I know German, otherwise I would not have known how to ask for a dish rack at the store. I wanted to replace the dish rack here in my rental apartment. When I arrived, I found it coated in mineral deposits, and then it turned rusty when I soaked it in a vinegar/water solution overnight. “Geschirrabtropfkorb” while it is one of those wonderful footlong German words, is not one that comes up often in conversation. Why be short when you can be long and precise and call it a “basket for dishes to drip into”.