Susan Schramm: How does it feel to make art for a hotel?  

Jeannine Platz: Well, I’m very impressed to see it now, in this setting. It’s so beautiful here, it’s turned into such a great hotel. You see, I always paint on the floor, so I’m very close to it – practically IN the picture, in fact – and this is the first time I've seen it hung on the wall. So this is definitely an experience. 

Susan: How do you actually approach such a picture of such dimensions – 15 meters? How did you paint it? 

Jeannine: Well, I always have my canvas lying on the floor, and I always paint with my hands. So the process is very tactile. I merge together with the picture. Many artists have the image in their minds beforehand. And then that’s what they produce. But I don’t have anything in mind. I turn off my mind, and everything emerges during the process. I don’t know beforehand where the journey is going. Of course, that’s always a challenge for the client when they’re placing an order. But they have taken this leap of faith that it would be all right. But I didn’t actually have the result in my head. It’s very exciting for me too. 

Susan: Were you actually born in Hamburg? 

Jeannine: No, I’m originally from Hanover. But I’ve lived here for 25 years – and through my work for The Cloud One, I got to know the neighborhood and the city all over again, went on tours, walked around a lot. This was all research and preparatory work, which also goes into these pictures. The courtyards, the curved staircases, that brick expressionism and the ornamented façades, as well as the little symbols. You just keep discovering new things…

Susan: And we can find it all in your pictures…

Jeannine: Exactly, it became a kind of collage of all the symbols that you see all over the neighborhood. I then integrated them together, so each picture also tells the story of the neighborhood. 

Susan: What should visitors definitely experience in Hamburg? 

 Jeannine: So first of all, you just have to walk around here, let yourself wander. Maybe even take a tour – they’re really, really good. There are night hikes, proper ones with night watchmen and so on – absolutely worth doing! And discovering the art scene, of course – for me personally, this is a form of nourishment. I love the Kunsthalle, with its old masters. But also classic modernism or contemporary art. My tip: go to the Jenisch House and the Jenisch Park, then have a stroll around there. Or walk through the galleries of the Deichtorhallen.

 Susan: When is Hamburg nicer, in summer or in winter? 

 Jeannine: So, I find it beautiful at all times of day, in all the seasons of the year, even if it’s a little windy sometimes. If you were to ask me what color Hamburg is, I would say gray with a blue shimmer. And it always depends on the perspective from which you’re looking at the sky. So either it’s gray or it’s blue. But it’s definitely always the most beautiful blue and the most beautiful gray.  

Susan: The water makes the city so special, and it’s also very much part of your art. The mirror images and reflections in the water. 

Jeannine: Yes, you can sense the sea everywhere. And the seagulls! I live in Ottensen, in the west, and I always hear the banging of the containers when the wind is in the right direction. And the harbor and the honking of the ships and so on – it always makes me feel at home. 

 Susan: Do you still sometimes go on harbor tours or is it just for tourists? 

Jeannine: I do, actually! Now and then I need that – I like the people who do these tours, and you get very close to the walls of the ships, close enough to touch them. 

Susan: Is your studio also close to the port – to the water? 

Jeannine: Yes, yes! I also have a skylight there, which I open so that the whole atmosphere really comes in to where I’m painting. And people are welcome to visit me there too!


hamburg the cloud one cmo susan schramm jeannine platz

Making Of