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A Berlin tour with artist Silvia Portella

Artist Silvia Portella is originally from Barcelona but now calls Berlin her home. Her work in character design and illustration, which demonstrates a love for kind and gentle creatures, inspires warmth and happiness in us! We invited her to share her Berlin with us, enjoy!

It has been three years since I moved to Berlin. I didn’t think that I’d stay here this long! While this city’s huge size, language, and poignant history intimidated me in the beginning, it turned into a second home, where my dream of making a living from drawing has become a reality.

I enjoy many things about Berlin, but I especially like the lifestyle. Living here is about having space to develop your passions, and being productive in a peaceful environment. I’m impressed by the love and respect Germans have for nature, and how important it is to cultivate it. The city is full of beautiful trees and flowers, and green pops out wildly from under the street tiles and the buildings. There are more bikes than cars, few advertisements, and many small shops. Galleries and workshop spaces are favored over huge malls. It’s understandable why Berlin is considered an eco-friendly city and so appealing to many artists from all over the world. Living in a place with few distractions and a connection to nature nurtures my creativity.

Checking out what other people do is one of my favorite things. Ateliers in which people work and sell their goods are all over the city. You can see paintings, jewelry, and dresses, observe the whole creative process, and meet the creator all at once. I’m also fascinated with peoples’ tendency to turn their homes into open galleries, open to everyone. You can find yourself in a stranger’s private space, filled with paintings, sculptures, and projections in the living room. It’s weird that you’re invading someone else’s space, but exciting.

As for my favorite spots in Berlin, I never get tired of visiting the Kaiser Wilhem Memorial Church, located in the west city center. This church was destroyed by a bombing and preserved as a reminder of the destruction of war. Despite its scars, or maybe because of them, it is beautiful and powerful. One look can tell you a million stories.

For nice treats, I love the Treptow flea market in Southeast Berlin. You can always find treasures like old photo cameras, toys, retro kitchenware, and amazing books.

I couldn’t be happier in Berlin’s Tierpark, a nature reserve built during the 1950′s in the former Berlin of the DDR. Amazingly, the animals are uncaged; you can observe tigers having a bath in a lake, pet fluffy lemurs, or visit baby elephants’ kindergarten, cutest thing ever!

Take home Silvia’s special brand of cuteness with her Poketo for Target key charm design. The coolest things about these charms, you can put them on keys, zippers, bags, phones, make them into necklaces… just about anything.

More from Silvia at

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