The Berlin Wall

At the End of the Street:  The Wall After Twenty Five Years

Judi Jensen, Artist

      After graduating from UCLA in 1985 with my B.A. in English Literature, I went to West Berlin, hoping to live and work there for a few years.  The city was like an island, so totally different from the Santa Monica Canyon area where I had lived since 1968.  In Berlin, everything stopped at the end of the street.  In Santa Monica, the ocean at the end of the street presented chances, hope for the future.

     I have always been an artist.  In 1980, when Jim Urmston’s art class at Santa Monica College taught me perspective, I was hooked for good.  After moving into my apartment in West Berlin, I walked to The Wall, only six blocks away, and it called to me to draw it.  I found out from friends that The Wall had been built in 1961, and would have a 25 year anniversary in 1986.  The next day, I went there with my pad and ink and made the first drawing, ‘The Wall Through the Weeds.’  That night, I made a plan to go back, to do a series of The Wall, including the end of every street where the two cities of East and West Berlin were divided by The Wall.

     Several months later, I had done a series of 83 drawings, all drawn in the street.  In my studio, I continued with colored oil pastel and ink pieces on paper that became another series.  Soon, I was traveling the U-Bahn (subway) with my portfolio, showing my work to people who might want to exhibit it for the 25 year birthday of the big ugly thing that separated the two cities.  All in all, I had fourteen shows of my work in West Berlin, living there and continuing to draw the city that surrounded me until 1990.  Now, in 2011, it is 50 years since The Wall was erected in 1961.  It was torn down in 1989.  I hope you enjoy seeing what it looked like when it was 25 years old!  

                                                 judijudijudi September 2011