Oop, I Shaved My Head and Bought a Mannequin

Corey Brown
April 3, 2022

A mannequin, eine Schaufensterpuppe if you will, I have recently discovered is all I ever wanted. Today, my friends, has been a glorious day because I purchased one from Facebook marketplace. As named by her previous owners, Ivanka is now my prized possession. I'm most excited to take her on picnics through Berlin as the weather gets warmer. It was interesting to see how passersby reacted to her when I took her back to Mitte. Older Germans refused to make eye contact, but younger people either stared or laughed with their friends about it. Parents always walk by and stop their kids to point out Ivanka across the street. It's a fun way to break that urban anonymity the Expressionists painted in response to. My favorite activity with Ivanka has been to go on walks in the park with some chocolate or bread. On one of these escapades last week, my favorite moment with her so far happened while waiting for the bus. Someone around my age stopped and asked if they could take a candid photo of me holding Ivanka. I obliged, of course, and two days later, a friend of mine from IES Abroad texted saying they had met this person in a museum earlier this month. The passerby had posted the image on their Instagram story and my friend was shocked when they saw that we had briefly met. It really is a small world for such a big city, especially since I was about a half-hour bus ride from my apartment. 

Of course, I needed to shave my head to match Ivanka's bald beauty. I guess it's more of a buzz cut, but it's something I had never done before. I did it partly because I wanted to try something new, and trimming my own hair saves a lot of money in the long run. My original plan was to keep the hair at the most extended length my beard trimmer would allow. Still, the sides ended up being half that, just because trimming at a longer setting was a slower process and I had places to be and things to do. Now that my locks are gone, I'll only need to trim every once and a while. I think if I waited for my hair to be completely dry I would have had more success, but that's for next time I guess. Maybe Ivanka and I will get matching wigs to wear around the city. Truly, who's to say?

Another goal outside of dragging Ivanka through Berlin is to use her as my artistic muse. Most of my paintings have been from photographs. It's not necessarily a bad thing, but from my experience painting from life, there's a more effortless experience finding nuance in color with a blind eye. Think about all the times you've taken a picture of a pretty tree or sunset, and your phone just doesn't quite capture the moment as well as you'd expect. It's also tough to work from life with friends because I feel pressure to have the piece come together quickly. Plus, scheduling with a model can be a big challenge, even if they are your friend. Ivanka just loves to trust the process, so this will not be an issue. Since she doesn't move around, it will be easier to pick up the painting right where I left off too. If anyone wants a portrait of Ivanka, let me know, lol.

Corey Brown

<p>Guten Tag! Ich heiße Corey! I come from a small town named Groveland, Massachusetts about an hour north of Boston and now study at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. I have a double major in Film and German with a minor in Studio Art and am studying abroad in Berlin Spring 2022. In my free time I tap dance (for the past 15 years), finger paint with oils on canvas, and direct an improv comedy podcast. In Berlin I'm super excited to live in a city for the first time and experience the hustle bustle on a daily basis.</p>

Destination:
Term:
2022 Spring
Home university:
Brandeis University
Hometown:
Groveland, MA
Major:
Film Studies
German Language
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