Grüße aus Deutschland.

A week ago, I was in New York.

This seems impossible, of course, given the travel that has subsequently followed. Have you ever been on a trip that seems so spiritually distant that years have taken place within the hours that have clocked up? And yet at the same time, I can remember the ride from Brooklyn to Newark, the harrowing press of young children together as they rode to Secaucus, dressed as if they were diving head-first into Coachella. I remember other things too (I’m afraid New York didn’t treat me kindly, as generous and sweet as my hosts were), but that last glimpse of America is especially poignant. Or, at least, emblematic.

But I’m in Schwerin now, the capital of the eastern state of Mecklenberg-Vorpommern, a place that is half-Baltic and half-steeped in the shadow of the GDR. At least, this is what a lot of the guides have told me thus far on all of the tours I’ve been given; this also explains the fact that what little German I remembered from my first year at Cottey is being put to good use at present. (I am, as it goes, pathetically rusty.) But what shines more so is how beautiful this place is – Schwerin is known, from the German saying, as “The City of the Seven Seas,” which is far more poetic than the literal translation. (See, as it turns out, is German for lake.) Water is everywhere; the city center revolves around cathedrals and an actual castle, which is haunted by a ghost named Little Peter. (The German name for this spectre, Petermännchen, is weirdly adorable given that they draw the dude as if he were a gnarly gnome.) I live in an airy room in a beautiful apartment. The food is cheap and, I hear, the beer even cheaper. (Haven’t had the guts to go into a pub yet, though. I told you: mein Detusch ist sehr rough.) It looks like the makings of a very beautiful, if not eventful, month.

As I begin to settle into my routine in Schwerin, I’ll start to give impressions on what it’s like to live here, to work as someone who speaks the dominant language in a… less than satisfactory manner, and what the non-profit gallery system is like in Germany. The latter-most will probably be of largest interest to my audience here, but hey: you’re not here for “Allison’s Crash Course in German” entries. Consider this the first of many posts, in any event, this one being the “ha ha hello, I’m alive” one. That seems to be a good one to start on, at any rate.

It’s too good to be true!

Welp, tiny unexpected blog post to say that, due to a bunch of technical brouhaha, I’ve had to temporarily disable Stripe from the Big Cartel shop. Key word is temporary: I know how easy it is to shop with just your credit card, and I don’t want to inhibit your patronage. If anything, it’s a good problem to have: new Stripe account + tons of excited folks = funds indigestion, and I can’t get my disbursement. With money in limbo, I don’t even have the funds to actually ship anything, which just holds everything up. Bummerino for everyone!

However, once the first disbursement goes through, we should be off to the races, so while we wait, I’ve decided to hold a little incentive: between now and May 11, there will be free shipping on all small works and prints in the shop. No codes, either – you just pay what you would otherwise and check out via PayPal. Consider this my thank you for your courtesy and understanding during this inconvenience, and everything will be back to normal next week.

New work!

Why dress up what’s being presented: I’ve uploaded new work in the portfolio, which shows the breadth of discovery I’ve been undergoing this year. I’ll probably have a more thoughtful post on this later, but for now, you can see that I’m going beyond painting and into all sorts of weird twists and turns – sound work, performance, and explorations into alternative narrative. It also explains the little radio that keeps on popping up across platforms; Public Service Confessional is the newest of my works and, perhaps, the most exciting to me even a month after its presentation. I’ll write on it more in-depth later, but the blurb I have on its project page speaks well for itself at present.

Non-sequitur: the Big Cartel shop has been burning up with orders! Thank you to everyone who’s made a purchase to my humble little corner of the Internet thus far, and please feel free to pass along thoughts, delights, pleasures, etc. to your friends, my e-mail box, or wherever you may seem fit. It’s been such a wonderful experience to see what’s beloved and what isn’t thus far, and I hope that everyone’s purchases live up to their wildest dreams and delights. There’s something about selling work that puts a little spring in your step, so thank you very much for putting it there.

Less business and more pleasure next post – I’m thinking that I need to talk talismans again.