Category Archives: Drawing

Exhibiting at Roots & Wings (Windhoek)

I am excited to be participating in this upcoming group exhibition, together with many other interesting artists! Curated by Frieda Lühl.

Roots & Wings

Come to the opening on the 10th of November (6pm) at the Project Room, to see how different artists have interpreted this theme. Or, if you cannot make it to the opening, the exhibition will be on view till the 25th of November. It is not long, so do not miss it!

Address: 32 Jenner Street, Windhoek West, Namibia.
Opening hours for the duration of the exhibition:
Tuesday to Friday: 9am – 1pm, Saturday 10am – 1pm
Enquiries: info@frieda.co.za

Unfortunately I will not be present at the opening, but I hope many of you can make it!

 

Creating Elephants (from Mosquitos)

Remember my Hotel-Deco-Busting series?

And the work: ‘Wie man aus Mücken Elefanten macht? / How to Make Elephants out of Mosquitos’?   (Click on the link to read more about it.)

How to make elephants out or mosquitos. (Before and After)

A friend has recently been residing in exactly that holiday flat, where it was made in 2015. He has kindly sent me an update.

Well, my Mosquito Elephants Intervention has been replaced by a more realistic painterly impression of an elephant and baby….

Elephant with baby (Unknown Artist)

So, now you know. This is how to turn mosquitos into elephants… (even if not real live elephants). My intervention has been noted by the owners. And there has been an improvement from the cut-out calendar page photograph to a ‘commercial painting’. Great!

I am very curious if the choice for the elephant picture was accidential or intentional? And I wonder what they did with my altered artwork? Thrown it away? Kept it?

And…..

there was a kind hand-written note asking to please do not paint on the ‘pictures’. The German word ‘Bilder’ can be understood either as artwork or as pictures in general. I guess by putting it into hyphens, they have become aware that there is a difference between art and deco.

Kind note: Please do not paint on the ‘pictures’. Thank you!

This all reminds me, that it has been too long since I have been on holiday or spending time in a hotel or holiday apartment for other reasons… 😦

 

When it Rains Down in Africa…

Travelling by ferry with some of the participating artists on a cold and rainy day.

Travelling by ferry with some of the participating artists on a cold and rainy day.

Finally… I am making the time to share with you the fruits of my time in South Africa as an invited participant of the Global Nomadic Art Project 2016 South Africa. I had such a rich and productive time there, that I slightly shied away from writing about it – I just did not know where to start.

The GNAP ‘Stories of Rain’ Art Project was an incredible journey through South Africa’s landscapes, myths and lively land art scene. Very well organized and carefully planed, we were treated to so many different places, warm hospitality, creative time in nature and an exciting selection of fellow artists. I appreciated the constantly changing small groups in which we travelled. They enabled us to meet so many local and international artists, exchange ideas and create together in a very unique way. Thank you to the GNAP team for this very special platform and project and thank you to all the many South African organizers, especially Strijdom van der Merwe and Anni Snyman,  who made the South African leg of the journey such a memorable one!

I have decided to split all my artworks into smaller groups and introduce them to you in separate blog posts. Trying to keep each one short and sweet, but still let you in on my ideas and thoughts as much as possible.

During the ‚Stories of Rain’ Art Project I continued with my rainmaker project and research. Can we create rain through a conscious and intentional creative process? I have used the surrounding landscapes and materials to explore different ideas from creating clouds out of stones or mud, performing a cloud dance and working with the idea of female tears being conducive to calling the rain.

First I will share with you one of my more familiar looking rainmaker works:

The final Rainmaker Cloud, Porcupine Hills made with earth pigment

The final Rainmaker Cloud, Porcupine Hills made with earth pigment

In the following gallery I will share with you the story of how I created this artwork and rainmaker and show prove of the rain that followed. (Click to see larger versions of the images)

I loved the stay here! Thank you to our hosts Cha and Tony Davenport are such wonderful people and made us feel perfectly at home. The place is great – recommending it fully if you would like to break away from the city for a weekend or longer!

Porcupine Hills offers self-catering guest accommodation and boutique olive oil.  Close to Cape Town (100km) but a world away from city and suburban life.  This is the perfect place to escape into nature and spend time in a quiet, tranquil and beautiful space.

The underlying farm “Diepklowe” is a Private Nature Reserve within the van der Stel Cluster (four neighbouring conservation farms) and is designated as a Cape Nature Stewardship Programme area. It is a core member of the Groenlandberg Conservancy.

The farm was acquired in 2012 by Tony and Cha Davenport and their two sons, Justin and Tobin.

How would you like your story to be told?

Yes, how would you like your story to be told?

Will it be a story full of excuses and reasons, perfectly plausible, why you did not live your dreams, succeeded at your goals or lived happily?

Or will it be a story of how you overcome the obstacles and challenges, on how you tried and maybe sometimes failed, but then tried again and how you chose to live happily despite whatever bad things life threw at you?

And how are you yourself telling the story of your life?

Thinking about this, might be a good way of telling how you are living your life and to consider if this is the best possible way.

Which kind of story do you most like to hear others telling you about their lives?

Untitled (sitting person) Charcoal and Acrylic on paper, 105 x 135cm by Imke Rust

Untitled (sitting person) Charcoal and Acrylic on paper, 105 x 135cm

When I prepared for the workshop I had to present in the Ukraine to young curators I was struck by this question. I was faced with preparing a two-day workshop in a field where I knew that I did not have the proper recognized qualifications and also could not match up with the experiences of my co-presenters, who in my eyes were the ‘real curators’, the ones who have curated the big Documentas and who earn their daily living and a great deal of international recognition with being curators.

And I? Who am I and what could I possibly share in these dreaded two days, which they could not do better?

My head was in a flat spin. I thought of the messed-up situation that was my so-called curator job at the gallery many years ago. I remembered the challenges I faced at the experiencing.etosha art project and how disillusioned I was afterwards, about so many things. I cringed when I thought about the endless hard work that went into the ‘shared experiences’ cultural exchange program which I called into life with Oliver Schruoffeneger and co-managed for several years, the ingrate artists and constant nerve wrecking scramble to keep sponsors and artist and everybody else happy, while feeling totally unappreciated…

What of any of this is worth to share? But yet, somebody must have thought that I am the perfect person to offer my two-cent’s worth of wisdom to some wonderfully ambitious and young curators, otherwise I would not have been invited. They have done a lot to be able to attend this workshop, they expect to go home with lots of new and worthwhile knowledge and they surely do dream of becoming influential curators and this should be a stepping-stone in this dream. And I owe it to them (and to the workshop organizers) to do my very best to somehow enrich their lives and career through my presence.

I agonized for days about this. Then it struck me…

While I focus on my failures and on unrealised expectations, others see what I did have achieved and admire me for that. If I am totally honest, I also do believe that I have achieved a lot, maybe not always in the way I wanted, or with the results I hoped for, but still… Yet, there are also many people who are critical (or openly hostile) about me, my art or what I am doing and how I am doing it. So to which of these groups should I give the stage?

None. Because both scare me in their own way. The positive ones, do not know or see my struggles and the negative ones only focus on what (according to them) I am doing wrong. I am the only true authority on my life, and even if my vision of it is sometimes rose-tinted and at others overcast with insecurities and doubts, I do have the main role in it and do know it best. It is not the critics who count, but my intentions, my efforts and me living my live wholeheartedly.

Facing the Eagle 100x130cm, Acrylic and charcoal on paper Inspired by a dream I had... by Imke Rust

Facing the Eagle
100x130cm, Acrylic and charcoal on paper
Inspired by a dream I had…

So, I could have told the story about my curatorial experiences just as I did above. Or I could take one step back, focus on the bigger picture, relate my intentions, my hopes and ideas, the challenges I faced and how I overcome them, or how and why I failed or succeeded. I could tell what I have learned. What I will do better or different next time. And most of all, I could tell how I moved on, started over, tried again. I realised that in my own way, I have collected interesting experiences, learned many skills worth sharing and found solutions where others just saw problems.

I have true in-depth knowledge about that. And I know that I have a great critical mind, which I can trust to guide me in being direct, honest and practical. And that is what I did and the story of my life which I shared. You can read more about how that was received in this previous blog.

While preparing for this, I realised that I do not want to look back at my life and tell the story of why things did not work out as I wished and how that is the reason for an unlived life and unhappiness.

I want to have the courage to do my best and if that did not work out, then try again and again and again. To have the courage to decide to live a life that feels purposeful and inspirational to me; with or without great achievements.

My father urged me to read the biography of George W. Carver (The Man Who Overcame). I decided to use my flight back from the Ukraine to start with it. I cried throughout most of the flight. It felt pretty embarrassing, but hey, what can a girl do who is extremely sensitive to the injustice of this world?!

Born into slavery (+-1860) with a wish to get an education and find the answers to his questions this young black child was determined to find a way. I lost count of how many dreadful experiences he had, how many huge obstacles he overcome and how hard he worked to get his schooling and finally be admitted to college on grounds of his extraordinary good marks, only to be rejected again when he arrived and they realised that he was black, and black men were not allowed to study there. Still he continued with an incredible amount of perseverance, hard work, patience and humility. Despite all odds, he went on to become one of the most prominent scientists and inventors of his time, he was also an extraordinary artist, botanist and pianist. And most of all he made a real contribution to the upliftment of his people and the fight against poverty… (If you have not heard of him, you should do yourself a favour and read the abovementioned book –also available in German – or check him out in this short movie http://www.biography.com/people/george-washington-carver-9240299#early-years )

Life sometimes deals you heavy blows... that is just how it is. But we have the choice to make them part of the dance. To turn them into something beautiful. 'Part of the Dance' Charcoal and Acrylic on paper. 105 x 140cm by Imke Rust

Life sometimes deals you heavy blows and knocks… that is just how it is. But we have the choice to make them part of the dance. To turn them into something beautiful.
‘Part of the Dance’ Charcoal and Acrylic on paper. 105 x 140cm

I am telling you about this man, because he seemed to have everything counting against him. He would have had every possible excuse to feel sorry for himself and to curse at the cards he got dealt again and again. He could have blamed every thing and so many people for having a miserable life and everybody would nod and fully agree that he did not have a chance. Yet, he chose to overcome. To try again and again. He worked damn hard. He hurt and he doubted, yet he got up again and tried again. And even when he had all the fame and could have had all the fortune, he stayed humble, refused a salary increase for most of his life and worked till his death in search of ways to improve the lives of the people around him.

What a man! And what an inspiration! What a life well-lived!

If he could overcome all this and be such an inspiration to so many people, who am I to not at least try to live my life purposefully, content and try again and again. In comparison to him the obstacles I have had to face in my life faint into nothingness.

I believe we can all choose to overcome so many things. We can end up telling an exciting, uplifting and inspirational story of a life well lived and that is what I want to do. And every time I feel like giving up, I want to ask myself: is this the end of the story you want to tell about your life? Or is this the beginning of another awesome creative adventure?

I need reminding of this every now and then – that’s why I am putting it in writing here 😉 .

Imke Rust. Are you having fun in your life? If not, how could you change that? I had fun with the large format paper and painting whatever I like... 'Having Fun' 120 x 105cm Mixed media (Charcoal, graphite, arylic and waxcrayon) on paper

Are you having fun in your life? If not, how could you change that? I had fun with the large format paper and painting whatever I like and this came out of it…
‘Having Fun’ 120 x 105cm Mixed media (Charcoal, graphite, arylic and waxcrayon) on paper

 

Thou Shall Not Make Elephants from Mosquitoes

… or so they say. At least in German. You might have guessed that it means you should not make out a problem worse than it is or something like that. Which I am not going to do…

But seriously, the mosquitoes in Germany are huge and evil. Unlike the African mosquitoes, which I am used to, they are not deterred by wearing long clothes. They sting right through your pants or shirt. They arrive in huge swarms. And their stings lure my immune system into a huge battle, showing off giganormous red spots and itching like hell.

So during our holiday we encountered beautiful beaches just like in this photo, hanging in our rented bungalow. We had a really good time and weather just like in the picture.

Cheap calendar print of beach scene in our holiday appartment

Cheap calendar print of beach scene in our holiday appartment

Still, this photo alone does not sum our memories of this holiday, as one important aspect is missing. Killer-mosquitoes en masse. At some stage I actually think the sky turned dark from them flying by.

… and I caught myself wondering if it were not actually much more pleasant to see a herd of elephants calmly passing by, instead of these blood-sucking beasts. I cursed myself for having forgot my natural mossi repellent and being too health conscious as to buy the chemical version in the pharmacy. I also remembered the time when I turned into a serial killer (of mosquitoes) and made some art about it.

Pencil study of dead mosquitoes

Pencil study of dead mosquitoes

All over the ages people have left signs for fellow travellers, so that they could find the best spots or be warned of danger. I decided to follow suit and leave my warning on the wall for the next visitors to be better prepared for the inevitable.

The rebel in me also decided to not to listen to the Germans and indeed make elephants out of mosquitoes.

Detail of my Hotel-Deco-Busting Intervention Nr 16.

Detail of my Hotel-Deco-Busting Intervention Nr 16.

2015 Hotel Deco Busting:

Wie man aus Mücken Elefanten macht.

(How to make elephants out of mosquitoes.)

Intervention Against Tasteless Wall Decorations in Hotels and Holiday Apartments.(Part 16)
Intervention gegen geschmacklose Wanddekoration in Hotelzimmern und Ferienwohnungen.(Teil 16)

Since 2010 I have secretly been slightly altering tasteless or boring hotel or holiday apartment art whenever I had the chance to.

Wie man aus Mücken Elefanten macht Deco print with my Hotel-Deco-Busting Intervention

Wie man aus Mücken Elefanten macht
Deco print with my Hotel-Deco-Busting Intervention.
Ball-point pen and eraser on found calendar page

Detail

Detail of elephant mosqitoes

Before and After Picture of my Hotel-Deco-Busting Intervention Nr 16

Before and After Picture of my Hotel-Deco-Busting Intervention Nr 16

If you enjoyed this, you can view more Hotel Deco Busting Interventions Hotel Deco Busting Interventions by Imke Rust.

 

You will not believe what I found in the forest…

I decided to go for a spontaneous walk in the forest, because I felt overwhelmed by the emails I had to answer and the admin that I had to do. And I could not think, because my head ached so much.

Me in the forest

Me in the forest

I decided to only take my camera and my new summer hat along. And since I longed for a good foot massage, I went barefoot. I love that there are almost no thorns in the area where I live now. Back in Namibia there are so many, small ones which we call ‘dubbeltjies’ and large thorns, for instance from the Camelthorn trees. Going into the bush without shoes would be hell.

The forest ground welcomes you with soft moss. What a delight. Yet there are also broken off branches and pinecones, which can be quite painful when stepped on.

I found that walking barefoot in the forest made me walk slower and take every step with more consciousness. Not only did I get a foot massage, but I was also enjoying the sensations of the different textures beneath my feet. The feeling of being supported by a soft, green carpet made me feel connected and happy.

I found peace, trees and ferns in the forest.

I know, you will think that is nothing special. But it is. On a hectic day, peace is really special. And trees and ferns are too. Especially once you decide to see them, and then be grateful for their presence. They also make wonderful playmates and soul soothers.

Tree with line of fern leaves

Tree with line of fern leaves

Together we played a silly game and had a good time. We placed small parts of the fern leaves into the bark of a tree to form a line. And yes, just so that you know, I do ask permission and say my gratitude for the donation of the leaves from the fern. Here you can see what we have done.

 

Detail: Tree with line of fern leaves

Detail: Tree with line of fern leaves

Scrolling up and down the green line on the bark of the tree (the line is about 2m long )

Scrolling up and down the green line on the bark of the tree (the line is about 2m long )

I even made a small video.

 

Then I found 4 young birch trees, which have been driven over by the forestry vehicle. They were still holding on to their roots and growing, but they were lying flat across the earth, instead of growing upwards. I pulled them up and secured them with each other so that they can grow upwards again. I believe that were grateful and will soon go back to see how they are doing.

 

Lastly, I found a dirty puddle of water and the awesome orange peels of bark lying around.

This gave the impulse to one last game I played. I carefully arranged the bark in a long line on the water, taking care that they do not sink in. Suddenly the puddle looked much happier.

 

Detail view of the Bark Line

Detail view of the Bark Line

 

Bark Line in puddle of water

Bark Line in puddle of water

When I finished with this, I could even save a beautiful butterfly from drowning in a dirty puddle. 

See the video to get to know my unexpected co-creator:

 

So, two hours later I got home and felt much better.

I hope that you too have the chance to slip out into nature, every now and then, to get grounded and recharge your batteries.

 

The Morning After… Gold and Glamour in Kiev

Looking at the hotel and a stunning rainbow over the Maidan, Kiev

Looking at the hotel and a stunning rainbow over the Maidan, Kiev

My hotel overlooks the Maidan in Kiev and I had two hours before sunset to find some food and spend time walking around this famous square. It was a national holiday, so the square was filled with people and music. And numerous reminders of the lives lost at the recent Euromaidan uprising which happened here just a few months ago…

So, once again, it was in the middle of the night, that I could start with my intervention to turn the hotel room’s decorative print into an original and unusual art work.

webBeforeAfter2015 Hotel Deco Busting

Intervention Against Tasteless Wall Decorations in Hotels and Holiday Apartments. (Part 14)
Intervention gegen geschmacklose Wanddekoration in Hotelzimmern und Ferienwohnungen.

Wow, this was already the 14th intervention! So, let me tell you about this one.

The hotel is prominently located and surely has seen really glamorous times, but that must have been some years ago. It still has the old-world charm and the rooms are fine. The decoration which I found in this room, was a print on cardboard of a painting depicting a boat close to a waterfall.

When I know that I will be staying in the hotel, I try to take a small selection of art supplies on the trip, but since I never know what to expect, I usually have to be inventive and work very spontaneously. And again, I only had limited time to do this, as I only stayed here one night, arriving late and leaving before breakfast. So I decided to try to keep this one simple.

Inspired by the rainbow, which I have seen earlier in the evening, and the golden frame of the deco print, I decided to once again make use of a golden felt pen, just like I did in Charkiv already. It is graphic and dries fast.

Gold seemed perfect. This beautiful old city and hotel, reminded me of glamorous, golden past eras. Yet in this time where there is a war raging in the east of the country and many young people have lost their lives, the future looks uncertain for this country and its people.

I added a square of 9 x 9 golden circles to the centre of the print. The metallic golden circles are almost invisible, when looked at from the front, but they glow beautifully when seen from an angle. I hope that this can remind us, that sometimes our reality looks bleak, but looked at from a different perspective we can find hope and beauty in every situation.

We just need to be open to find the opportunities and gifts of every situation. Just like believing in finding the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

And this is my wish for the Ukrainian people and in fact, for all of humanity.

The number 9 is an auspicious number. In numerology Number 9 is the number of Universal love, eternity, faith, Universal Spiritual Laws, the concept of karma, spiritual enlightenment and divine wisdom. And it is linked to the colour: gold.

Some have asked before, how I ensure to have the right materials handy. I try to take some useful things along, but am always limited by stuff like baggage allowance and the fact, that I seldom know what to expect. I try to work with what I find and what I have. And to make a plan. Here I had the vision of adding the circles, I had the right pen, but I wanted to make sure they are at an equal distance from each other and the same size.

So in the middle of the night I went down to reception and asked for a punch.

Not an easy task, since they only spoke a pretty basic English and I don’t speak a word of Ukrainian or Russian. And I do not think that many guests are requesting a punch at 11:45 at night. I took a card along, punched a row of holes into it, thanked them, and went back to my room. Now I could get started…

Getting started, with my newly created stencil.

Getting started, with my newly created stencil.

Well here is the final result of this late night hotel deco-busting intervention:

websideviewIRust

And some more pictures, just click on the images to get a larger and complete view:

Did you like this? You can find more similar interventions HERE.

I wish you a wonderful, hopeful and golden week ahead!