Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Journey of an Artist-6,
I met Elena first time in a small café Café Hawelka mostly frequented by artists. I had gone there with a colleague. I had not been very long in Vienna. The small café is very popular with artists who struggle to balance their creative world with the material. My colleague knew Elena. She introduced me to her. She came from a small town called Zilina in north-western Slovakia, very close to Tatras. When I heard ‘Tatras’ a chord stuck in me; my mother and father had met in Polish Tatras and it held a special magic for me. Elena is a photojournalist. She is tall, lanky and with very intense brown eyes. The café owner has special affection for art and artists. The walls of café are full of paintings, drawings, and photos, gifts from artists who frequent the place and have sweet bonhomie with the owner. The artists hunger is satiated by the fresh strudels, and delicious Viennese cakes. I find the owner on his desk with his well-groomed beard and a smile for all the artists, known to him by name. The artists relax by his good coffee, meditating or in the midst of heated art discussions, their faces hidden partly by the thick blue smoke from their cigarettes. It often reminds me of Picasso’s card players wrapped in thick smoke. This is a magical world –faces vanish and emerge constantly from the smoke screen. Life is lived here with intensity oblivious to the routine run of daily grind.