When Canadian artist Sholem Krishtalka moved to Berlin a few years ago I was bummed out — I had just started getting to know him and his work. But, I knew there were lots of good reasons for his move, and I bid him farewell only to discover his A Berlin Diary project shortly thereafter.
Dark, shadowy ink seeps deep into each digital image snapshotting nightclubs, U-Bahn rides and beach trips. Sholem punctuates snapshots of his hookups and crushes with more melancholy urban landscapes and day-to-day tidbits like practicing his German and finding an apartment. Recent editions have been short and spare on words, lingering on incomplete gestures and the erotic tension of empty space. Excitement and ennui bump shoulders and bat eyes on the digital page.
There’s something about A Berlin Diary that makes it impossible to stop reading until you’ve caught up. Each panel feels painstakingly painted and impulsively sketched at the same time, and that’s how it feels to read — you don’t want it to end, but you want it to wash all over you. Krishtalka’s project is a real-life storyboard unfolding, a meandering confessional comic that demands a surprising affective investment from both reader and creator.
All images are by Sholem Krishtalka via aberlindiary.tumblr.com