[Comment j'ai commencé à dessiner les habitants de Sapporo cet hiver]
When we had been living in Sapporo for almost a month, and although the first moments were filled with enthusiasm and discoveries,I began to experience some uncomfortable “lost in translation” feelings. I tried to write something about that at the moment, so I will publish it now.
Was it the squareness, the grey modernity and square line of the buildings? Was it the cold, the rough winter, the regular snow falls and tricky icy basements that make it impossible to simply wander and feel the pulse of the city ? Was it the language and cultural barriers, that made me feel lonely, missing friends despite my attempts of going out of my shell? Was it the uncertainty of what my activity here would be? Or was it a selfconstructed general impression of being a messy woman, not cute, clumsy, wearing hiking shoes and no make up, misfitting in my old little-red-riding-hood-like coat ?
Anyway, that day I ended up in pole town feeling really not well. Sapporo's pole town is like a shopping town under the city that allows you to avoid the snow when you move in the city centre. You can cover quite a long distance like that without seing daylight.
Lanes of shops, flows of hurrying people with their arms full of shopping bags, intense heating, neon lights, flashy colours, low ceiling and commercial music did not help me to feel better. I don’t know why I went there. There are nice parks and cute little cafes in Sapporo. Sometimes we just chose the worst for us.
Somehow, at some point, I retrieved from that crazy rythm and began to look at people. Maybe it was the first time that I actually looked at them. Not in the exotic amused way but with the eyes of heart or what I like to call inner eye. I plunged myself closely into the details of their looks, clothing, attitudes. I stopped seeing a crowd and looked at individuals whose emotions I could begin to sense. I felt my heart slowly moving, opening itself to that new world for me. I took pictures, I sketched, I felt curious and happy to be there.
And back it was in me what I had lost – that shining inner feeling that whoever we are, whatever far from each other we may feel, we all belong to a common spring and carry a vivid part of the fragile beauty of life on our faces.
I’m usually a very quick sketcher. A sometimes too quick sketcher, focusing on movement and lively technique in detriment of justness and details.
But I feel that I need to slow down somehow. Take a pause and look with more intensity. Use slow techniques. Find a new way to paint people as I found new ways to look at them.