work > Berlin Drawings 2020-2022

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Frankfurter Allee (The Smokers)
Frankfurter Allee (The Smokers)
ink on paper
90cm vertical X 140cm horizontal
2021

This drawing depicts people having a smoke after exiting the underpass of the S-Bahn station Frankfurter Allee. Berlin is a smoker’s haven. Smoking is defended especially by young Germans as a personal freedom, which flies in the face of their simultaneous disdain for large corporations such as big tobacco. While a small minority chooses alternative tobacco products, by huge margins, Marlboro and L&M brands, manufactured by Altria Group, Inc. and Philip Morris International remain the top two sellers. Despite the overused cliché, Berlin really is full of contradictions. I have seen people jogging in Treptower Park with a lit cigarette. According to the World Health Organization, Europe tops all other WHO regions with 28% of adults who smoke. Out of the 195 countries on planet earth, Germany ranks 20 in number of adult smokers, and, with the exceptions of Belgium and Luxembourg bordering Germany to the west, the numbers grow as you head toward Eastern Europe. Berliners smoke heavily, starting young, and increase their usage with age. It is a good thing they do a lot of walking to get around the city, and that most have very good public health insurance.