Category Archives: Thoughts

Mit mir kreativ werden / Get creative with me

In diesem Semester biete ich noch zwei Kreativ Workshops an der Volkshochschule Oberhavel, Oranienburg an. Es gibt noch ein paar freie Plätze! Wer also Lust hat mit zu machen, sollte sich bald anmelden.

In this semester there are still two courses at the Volkshochschule Oberhavel, Oranienburg, which I am presenting. There are still some spaces left, so hurry to reserve your spot.  (All courses will be presented in German)

Vision Boards – Ziele kreativ Visualisieren

Am Samstag den 01. 06. 2019, 10:00 bis 16:30 Uhr
(Noch Plätze frei)

Kennst du das auch: man nimmt sich so vieles schönes vor und ehe man sich versieht ist der Monat rum, das Jahr auch schon fast wieder und man hat das Gefühl gar nichts erreicht zu haben?
 
Oft gehen unsere Träume und Pläne unter, weil es uns schwerfällt uns auf sie zu konzentrieren. Oder wir glauben insgeheim nicht wirklich daran, das wir etwas schaffen oder das unsere Wünsche in Erfüllung gehen könnten…
 
Das kann sich ändern und ich zeige dir wie!

Vision Boards helfen uns Klarheit zu bekommen über unsere Träume, Ziele und Visionen fürs Leben. Wenn wir diese dann in Formen und Visionen auf Papier umsetzen und sie kreativ Ausdrücken, verleihen wir ihnen Kraft und Momentum.

In diesem Workshop erfährst du was Vision Boards sind und wie sie funktionieren. Jeder erstellt sein eigenes Vision Board: eine besondere Art der Collage mit ausgeschnittenen Bildern aus Zeitschriften, Skizzen, Farben, Texten, Affirmationen und Zielen.

Du brauchst keine vorherige Erfahrung um die einfachen Techniken zu lernen und diese für dich und deine persönliche Zukunftsgestaltung positiv einzusetzen.
Ich leite durch den Prozess, erkläre praktische Techniken, Hintergründe zu dem ‚warum’ und wie solche Vision Boards funktionieren und unterstütze bei der Zielformulierung.

Dozentin: Imke Rust (www.imkerust.com)
Kursnr.: A2701001
Kosten: 25,00 €
Jetzt anmelden unter: https://kvhs.oberhavel.de
Kreisvolkshochschule  Tel 6015752 Oranienburg

 

Kreativ in der Natur – Land Art Workshop

Am Wochenende vom 15. & 16. Juni 2019
in Neu-Friedrichsthal (noch Plätze frei)

Sehnen sie sich auch nach neuem Ausdruck, Natur und kreativem Schaffen?

Die Natur ist der beste Platz unsere Seele aufblühen zu lassen und neue Impulse in unser Leben zu bringen.

Lust auf etwas Neues und eine Auszeit vom Alltag? Dann lade ich sie herzlich ein, gemeinsam mit mir ihre Kreativität und die Natur neu zu entdecken.

Sie brauchen keine Vorkenntnisse, nur Offenheit, Freude an der Natur und Lust etwas Neues zu lernen.

Entdecken Sie die Natur und deren Farben und Formen auf gestalterische und kreative Weise. Nach einer kurzen Einführung in den kunstgeschichtlichen Hintergrund der Land Art Bewegung sammeln wir Naturmaterialien, die wir draußen vorfinden und gestalten ein oder mehrere vergängliche Werke, die wir fotografisch dokumentieren können. Bitte mitbringen: Wetterfeste Kleidung, Handy oder Digitalkamera, Schere, Taschenmesser, Kleinigkeiten für ein gemeinsames Picknick am zweiten Tag, Sonnen- und Insektenschutz.

Weitere Informationen, Bilder und ein kurzes Video finden sie HIER.

Kursnr.: A2701003
Kosten: 32,50 €

Dozentin: Imke Rust
Jetzt anmelden unter: https://kvhs.oberhavel.de
Kreisvolkshochschule  Tel 6015752 Oranienburg

::: NEU ::: NEU ::: NEU :::

Im neuen Semester wird es wieder den beliebten Art Journaling Kurs geben, sowie den Land Art Workshop. Hinzu kommen noch zwei neue Angebote:

Mut zur freien, intuitiven Malerei  B21302

Untitled. Mixed Media on Paper, 63 x 88

Intuitiv und frei malen und zeichnen – wie geht das? Wo fängt man an, wie arbeitet man Prozessorientiert und wie erschafft man ganz eigene und ausdrucksvolle Bilderwelten? Das, sowie viele Tricks und Tipps zu Komposition, Mischtechniken und Abstraktion, erlernen Sie in diesem Kurs.

 

 

 

 

 

Körperbildlandschaften | B21306

Totem fun: Phoenix or the Peacock Eyes. (Ink on paper, 20x20cm. By Imke Rust)

Totem fun: Phoenix or the Peacock Eyes. (Ink on paper, 20x20cm. By Imke Rust)

Auf großen Papierbögen entwickeln wir ein lebensgroßes Bild, basierend auf dem Umriss unseres eigenen Körpers. Inspiriert von Body Mapping, Äthiopischen Heilrollen und afrikanischer Mythologie, experimentieren wir mit Farben, Symbolen, Text und Mustern. Dabei können Sie auch Ihre Emotionen und Ideen kreativ umsetzen, sich und Ihren Körper besser kennenlernen und bewusster wahrnehmen. Vorkenntnisse sind nicht erforderlich.

(Auf PINTREST habe ich eine Seite mit Vorbildern was Äthiopische Heilrollen sind und wie Body Mapping aussieht. Unser Kurs Körperbildlandschaften ist ein wenig an beides angelehnt, aber ganz anders…)

Weitere Informationen findest du im Kreisvolkshochschul Program für das neue Semester. Wenn du schon Fragen hast, bevor das neue Program geladen/gedruckt ist, kannst du mich auch gerne direkt anschreiben.

Ausserdem biete ich auch kreative Workshops für private Gruppen an, zum Beispiel als Geburtstagfeier, Betriebsausflug oder andere besondere Events. Wer Interesse hat, meldet sich einfach direkt bei mir.

 

Wuppertal, Munich and Travelling Back in Time

Do you also have the feeling that your life has become so busy, that you have no time for all the stuff you want to do? Or to read all the blogs you are subscribed to?

The first quarter of the year is almost passed and somehow I have neglected my blog. Well, many things are happening and keeping me busy – which is mostly good news. Another reason is that with so many things, which are happening on all fronts (personal, family, political, career etc), I am left with so many impressions, thoughts, ideas, questions… It feels as if I have so much to say and to share, and yet I do not know where to start. It feels as if I would need another lifetime to sort all ideas and find the right way to share them. Or a personal assistant… Or a way to magically write down all that is in my mind within a few hours.

So I am trying to navigate these times, which feel chaotic and alive, terrifying and promising at the same time, as best and honestly as I can. To live each moment more consciously and deliberately waiting to find clarity, allowing life to unfold its plan at its own pace. I am considering writing shorter, but more frequent blogs… let’s see if that is a better way to deal with my and your busy life and still stay in touch.

A quick update:

My exhibition in Munich has just finished. It was very well visited and the highlight was, that a friend has organised for me to fly to Munich and talk about my art to interested guests in a guided tour of my exhibition. I really enjoy that direct contact with the people who are interested my art. Most of my art is filled with layers of meaning and thoughts, and people have commented how enriching they find to look at the art, and then additionally hear me talk about it.

Here are a few impressions from the exhibition and the guided tour (Click on the images for a larger view and description):

The event has been organized by Carola von Maltzahn from http://www.vonmaltzahn.net/ and Christian Bräuer from Art Dine & Table – Die Kunstpatrouille (www.christian-braeuer.de) Photos: Carola von Maltzahn.

I had another exhibition opening in March, at the Museum auf der Hardt, Wuppertal.

The exhibition and screening of the documentary film about my land art project ‘An Infinite Scream’ was part of a Symposium organized by the Vereinte Evangelische Mission.

Here are some images from the exhibition, opening and film screening. Photos by Ramona Hedtmann, VEM and myself.

Only shortly before the event, I realised that I have a much deeper connection to this museum and place than I could have imagined. My Great-Great-Grandfather Eduard Dannert and Great-Grandfather August Kuhlmann were both missionaries in Namibia and were sent by this very same institution to Africa. Needless to say, the museum and archives have lots of information, documentation and objects from these ancestors of mine, like for instance the sewing machine of my Great-Grandmother… and this sewing machine, together with a letter which August Kuhlmann wrote to General von Trotha trying to convince him to treat the Herero people more humanly were exhibited in the same space, next to my political works. What an honour and humbling experience.

If you happen to be in Wuppertal, you are welcome to view the exhibition. It is still on till the 4th of April. More information, directions and opening times: http://www.vemission.org/museumarchive.html

I am so excited that spring seems to have finally arrived! After so much political art and talk, I felt like painting something light and colourful, to welcome spring.

21 Secrets – Color, Color, Color! Workshop Pre-sale and Give-Away (time sensitive)

21-SECRETS-2016-Color-artistblock-imke-rustI am thrilled to announce that I am one of the teachers presenting this year’s 21 Secrets – Color, Color, Color! art journaling workshop, which it is going on sale NOW.

Connie Solera from Dirty Footprints Studio, initiator and organizer of this successful workshop series says: “… because you can never have too much color – I went a little bonkers and invited 24 talented teachers instead of my usual 21 – all for the same low price!”

And this low price is: US $98!  — for a plethora of information (follow the link or see below, to find out about all the goodies which are included).
(for European people, that is about 87€ and for my Namibian folks: N$ 1320.)

To celebrate we’re having an Early Bird Sale now through Friday.

Enter discount code: COLOR and save $10.

Click here to get to the Early Bird Sale!

Click here to get to the Early Bird Sale!

AND…

You have a chance to receive one of two courses, which I am giving away for free to my valued supporters!!!

I love free goodies, especially when they are so valuable and exquisite and it is an even better feeling to be giving them away myself…

All you need to do, is to

  1. Subscribe to my blog – in the left hand column. If you already are a subscriber, please either comment below this blog or send me an email to tell me that you want to be included in the draw.
  1. Share this blog widely through your social media, such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Tag me, so that I know #imkerust21secrets.

Signing up to my blog gets you one vote and sharing another, so if you spread the word your chances are increasing of being selected to receive one of the two workshops.

Recipients will be selected randomly by a third-party person and will be announced on my blog between the 19th and 23rd of September.

To make sure you do not miss out, even if you are not one of the recipients of the two free courses I am giving away, you can pre-order the course now and should you be selected, you have the option to cancel your pre-order (up till the 26th of September 2016) and receive a full refund. Or even better, just give away one of them as a gift to your best friend, so that you can do this course together!

I am an affiliate for the 21 Secrets course, so please use this link from my page to get to the 21 Secrets Course and purchase your workshop. That way you will support me and ensure that I can continue sharing my creativity with the world, as I will be earning a percentage of each sale generated through my page.

What is this 21 Secrets – Color, Color, Color! workshop?

In short, 21 SECRETS is a 150+ page downloadable eBook filled with 25+ hours of videos, full colored photos, templates, and clear instruction that will guide you through a colorful adventure with your art journal!

But what makes 21 SECRETS spectacular is that you receive all the content at once. We know you’re busy, so YOU get to pick and choose which workshops to do and when! Dive into your favorites first and never once feel rushed or falling behind — these workshops are YOURS TO KEEP baby!

Find out more about the teachers, short descriptions of each of the courses on offer and other information by clicking on the image below:

Click on the image to find out more...

Click on the image to find out more…

Do you have any questions? Please do not hesitate to ask – either by commenting below or sending me an email to: imke(a)imkerust.de   (please replace the (a) with an @ for sending your email)

Oh, and please do not forget to share this widely with your friends who might be interested too! Thank you!!!

21-SECRETS-2016-Color-medium

Longing to Belong

69 Strands of (be)Longing, Fake and natural hair, branch and wire. Artwork created by Imke Rust at the ILAM, May 2016

69 Strands of (be)Longing,
Fake and natural hair, branch and wire. Artwork created by Imke Rust at the ILAM, May 2016

In May I had been in Maastricht as an invited artist to the International Land Art Maastricht Symposium. I had shared some pictures from this wonderful event together with an invitation to come and see the results, but I have not had the time to tell you more about the artwork that I created there. So today I would like to share with you some thoughts and images, especially for those of you, who could not see the work in person.

Artists were asked to propose an artwork that they would create in the park of the Chateau Jerusalem. The theme of the symposium was ‘Connected’. We had five days to complete the work, which then was on exhibition for the following two weeks.

This is the concept, which I originally formulated for my plans:

“I am exploring the ‘Connected’ theme through a material that everybody connects to African women: long, black braided hair. Although they usually are made out of fake artificial material, they have come to represent a certain identity (African), but at the same time they are also an imitation of another identity (western, long, smooth hair). In so many ways they are connecting different worlds. To me they are also a strong metaphor for belonging and identity. Hair and braids can also be used as ropes to climb to another life (Rapunzel), and relate to the migration of refugees to Europe.

As a white African I am intrigued by working with this fake hair, as a form to express the duality and paradox of my own identity and belonging. The combination of synthetic and natural materials, illusions created and the process of braiding are additional aspects, which I want to explore.”

69 Strands of (be)Longing, Fake and natural hair, branch and wire. May 2016

69 Strands of (be)Longing,
Fake and natural hair, branch and wire. Artwork created by Imke Rust at the ILAM, May 2016

I had some vague ideas of how I wanted to proceed, but since I have not seen the park and have never worked in this material before, I decided to stay open and flexible and just trust the process.

When I arrived there and saw all the grand and impressive plans from the other artists, my heart sunk. Maybe my work was too timid, too small, too unspectacular? And what if it does not work out in any way I had imagined? I had no chance to try it out before, so either it worked or it would fail… What could I do, besides just start and hope for the best? I started and was flooded with even more doubts. Am I allowed, as a white woman to make art with this kind of hair, which usually is only used by black women? Could I even dream of braiding as neatly and perfectly as those hairdressers back home in Namibia do? Aren’t they the real artists who can make the most stunning patterns and styles for their customers? Who am I to now want to use this method and material to create my art?

Well, I had a lot of time to think, while I braided. And every time the doubts and insecurities became too strong, I heard the inner voice saying: Just trust the process.

I remembered that one of the reasons why I initially wanted to work with braiding, was the repetitive process itself. Somehow it is a process that is fairly easy, but demands just enough concentration and focus, that you have to stay in the here and now, but also leaves enough space for your mind to relax and wander off into thoughts that you usually are too busy for.

This work quickly became much more about that process and the inner dialogue that happened, than the final physical artwork. For five days I just sat there, under a beautiful tree, in the middle of the park and braided. I got to understand how this synthetic material reacted to humidity, dryness, wind and weather. How it sometimes could be so stubborn and putting up a real fight to get under control, and other times it just flowed through my fingers as if it was the most natural thing to happen. I became calm and looked forward to my work and every next strand.

My thoughts turned to my first memories of braiding. When I was a young girl, it was my father who braided my hair every day. And it was also he, who taught me how to braid. And I was so proud, that I even knew (from him) how to braid with more than 3 strands. While everybody looked at braiding as a typical female activity, I connected it to my father. And yet, it was my mother who had to go and buy the fake hair in Namibia (yes, these hairs were made in Namibia and sent all the way to Germany), so it was kind of a family effort that ensured I could sit in Maastricht in a park and braid ‘my’ hair.

Masculine and feminine… control and wildness… order and chaos… expectations and reality… appearance and authenticity… there were so many concepts that flowed into and through my being and into the braids (or did it flow out of them or the process?) while I was working.

With every next strand I had another chance of flowing. The focus changing and shifting… With every movement I moved on, the strand started, got longer and longer, and then, suddenly it reached the end.

I made a rough knot into the strand to keep it from coming undone and originally thought I will melt the ends to make a neat and proper ending. After a few strands with wild and chaotic knotted ends, I noticed the beauty, the wildness and the dynamic of these endings, the contrast to the neat braids… and decided to leave them just like that.

Through folding thin strands of hair over each other again and again… the central aspect became more obvious for me. With every movement there was a longing. A longing to come to the end, but also a longing for so much more… To belong, to understand, to control, to find the balance, to find a (my) place … to just be.

Where do I belong? To my home country, where I am too white in the eyes of many? Or to Germany, where I appear (on the first outer impression) to rather belong, but where I am a stranger? Do I ‘belong’ to be more controlled, or more wild? To fit better into the pattern of society or do my ends just come loose anyway?

Click on the images below to see a larger view and read about some further details.

Braiding, braiding, braiding… in 5 days I managed to braid 69 long strands. I managed to contain my sadness in these braids, to reassess the world and my ideas about it and to learn that I can and should just trust the process. The process of an artwork, but also the process of life…

Life is like these strands. Every day you begin with a new one, a new chance. You do your best to get as far as possible. But in the end it does not matter how far you come and how many days you get. What matters is your experience and your insights, your joy, but also your struggles and what you have learned through them.

Trust the process…

Here is a video taking you around the final artwork. In the photos one aspect gets lost, and that is how alive this work seems. How it dances and moves in the wind. The video gives you a small impression of that.

 

Interview about my Environmental Art

Some time ago I was approached to have some of my artworks published in a book, entitled ‘Temperatures Rising – Climate Change in Africa – a Journey in Pictures’. The book will be produced for the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) to be presented to the delegates and guests of the COP21 conference next week.

The consultant responsible for the book, Ms Asieh L Nassehi Javan of Concept2art in Torino, Italy, asked me to submit several suitable artworks of mine and has interviewed me about my art. One artwork was selected for illustration of the book, while it will also be printed as a poster to be presented in the African Pavillion. I am so honoured and excited!

I thought you might enjoy reading the interview and get to know more about my ideas behind my art, so I am sharing it with you here:

ANJ: What is the role of an artist? As an educator? As someone who makes people aware of issues? A critique? An agent of change?

IR: All of these. I believe different artists have different and often several roles, which together shape our (human) identity and future.

Personally I see my role in offering an alternative perspective on the world and our perceived reality, and offer possible creative solutions to problems affecting us. Part visionary and part agent of change. A little bit like the shaman or rainmakers in old cultures, who through their ritual and creative expression raise awareness and envision and enact a new, better reality.

ANJ: How do you define your art? 

IR: I work in a wide range of media, dependent of the concept or vision for the artwork. My work cannot be defined by putting it into a box. Roughly I would say it is a mix between creative, visual expression, alchemy, magic and spirituality, often with a sprinkle of playfulness.

It is a flowing process between all these layers, always conscious about trying to make a positive impact and slightly changing our perceived reality.

ANJ: What inspires you to create works that address hurting the Environment/Climate change? 

IR: My works usually starts when I notice something, which stirs me emotionally. Often these are situations which I find frustrating or problematic, so I start to wonder what could be changed and how.

Namibia is a dry country with two large deserts. We are extremely dependent on rain for survival, but also on managing our natural resources well. I try to find different ways to feel less helpless when it either does not rain or when I see great damage being done to our environment. I love researching and experimenting with really alternative ideas, because I believe often the mainstream ideas are what brought us the problems in the first place.

As an artist, my purpose is to use my art to make the world a better place. Others have different purposes. Like my father, who is a farmer and an engineer, so he tries to find agricultural ways to positively impact the environment, for instance through Holistic Resource Management. I learned much from him, but was also frustrated, that still we are dependent on the rain and that rainfall cannot be controlled. So I ask myself is this true? Why does almost every ancient culture across the world a belief in a rainmaker or a rain dance? And how could I combine my art, my knowledge and research and my spiritual beliefs to at least consider the possibility of having an impact on the rainfall?

ANJ: Is there an experience, instance or event that led you to create works about the environment?

IR: As an art student I had no money for art materials and usually in Namibia traditional art materials were either not available or extremely expensive. So I started to look around to find alternative materials to use, which I could gather for free.

So early on I noticed the abundance and usefulness of the environment for my art. Through that, and the fact that I grew up on a farm, it was a natural next step to pay closer attention to the environment and realize our connection to it more deeply.

My artworks from the series ‘…and I sensed an infinite scream passing through the Namib’ started from seeing the increased damage of more and more uranium mines and connected industries on the environment. Other people were demonstrating to stop the mines and I asked myself how I could personally contribute, since demonstrating was not my thing. I looked for ways in which I could address the problem and create solutions in my own way.

ANJ: Can you elaborate on the art works you are submitting? What are the messages they aim to send and to whom are the messages directed?

IR:  Rainmaker:

Rainmaker (Masking Tape on Rock, temporary intervention)

Rainmaker (Masking Tape on Rock, temporary intervention)

All over the world the old cultures had shamans who were known to be able to create rain, either through dance, music or rock-paintings. From my research I construed that the creative act combined with a focused intention can create a different energy or vibe and thus change the perceived reality.

Since then I have experimented with different methods of using my art to hopefully ‘make rain’. This specific work creates a vision of the reality we intend to see, in a similar way that the old inhabitants of Namibia would have used to attract animals for a good hunt. I have made several different artworks or experiments researching different approaches.

The message is two-fold: it tries to remind people to focus on the rain and not the drought, and secondly open people up to the idea, that there may possibly be alternative ways to see the world and to impact the reality around us. I cannot say for sure this way does work, but by trying it out, I hope it encourages other people to also try out alternative ideas, even though they might appear silly or ridicules. Through actively taking charge, and playfully experimenting with different things, we might find new solutions. (Find out more about my rainmaker experiments by clicking here.)

 

Earth Woman:

Desertification and erosion in Namibia is becoming an increasing threat, which is to a large extend a result of us not taking proper care of the environment. I found these deep erosion cracks and I wanted to use the human, female body and the naked skin to highlight this problem and to make us aware that the soil of the earth is like our skin and equally vulnerable and in need of care and attention.

We are intimately connected to the soil and our destiny is so closely linked to that of our environment. These works allure to this and the birth, life and death cycle, which starts and ends with the earth. ( For more work from this series, click here. )

Works like the Tokoloshe Trap acts in my usual multi-layered way. It tries to use the spiritual intention and activated energy, the shapes and material to protect the land in a spiritual way, but it also lets people see a familiar environment in a different and unexpected way. I hope this will let them pause and become more aware, start wondering and asking questions. I also hope it works via a physical experience: any Namibian knows from personal experience how painful it is to step into one of those thorns. Seeing so many of them arranged as a kind of trap, usually lets us cringe, while we imagine stepping into it. (More about this artwork: click here)

An Infinite Scream

In this documented performance-like action I asked passers-by to re-enact the famous painting ‘The Scream’ from Edvard Munch, on the Swakopmund jetty. Munch claimed that he sensed the angst and scream of nature, which led to this painting. Be re-enacting this scream, the people give an expression to the fears about the destruction of our environment. The resulting images and video raise awareness in a fun way. (More about this intervention: click here. and to see a super fun short video about it: click here)

An Infinite Scream Public Intervention

An Infinite Scream Public Intervention

Dorob (NOT) 4Sale

This anonymous intervention used a tongue-in-cheek way to get people’s awareness about the sale-off of our natural resources. Fake estate agent for-sale signs were placed at prominent places along the main roads leading through the Namib desert, with messages that our desert and ocean are (NOT) for sale. The provided telephone number and Web address lead to further information and links to environmental initiatives. (More about this intervention: click here. )

 

Hand-painted Photographs of the Namib Desert

While I was in Berlin, I heard about the plans to build a large chemical plant in the Namib Desert. I imagined what the desert around that plant would look like, if the waste is not properly managed, like so often before or if something unforeseen happens. I painted these scenarios onto photographs of the desert. Later, when I returned to Namibia I used the ideas from the photos for temporary land-art installations.

Toxic Rocks & Poisonous Water

The neon paints might initially give the landscape a funky and modern look, which is quite pleasing, until we notice that this is not natural and healthy. I hope to make people understand that we have to take a second look and consider the different realities behind a situation. Yes, a chemical plant might bring job opportunities, but also illnesses and destruction to the environment. Only when we consider all aspects, can we make a good choice. What looks pretty at first, might turn out to be nasty in the long-run. (More about this artwork: click here and here.)

 

AJ: Could your art, even though its related to Africa, reflect the global narrative?

IR: Definitely! When I started off with my career, I thought I am working on personal issues which are directly connected to myself and my home-country. I very soon realized, that once you scratch under the surface, we are all human and have the same hopes and fears. Situations and patterns are so similar all over the world, but we are often too distracted to notice, because we focus on the thin superficial differences.

Not all countries are desert countries, but still we all are exposed to and dependent on our environment. A country with plenty of water also needs to manage their resources. They might not need a rainmaker, but through my artwork they could feel inspired to play with alternative ways of interacting with and caring for their environment, and minimize the danger of floods for example.

ANJ: Do you have any comments you would like to add? 

IR: Thank you so much for your interest in my work and this opportunity to make it visible to more people worldwide.

Imke Rust busy installing 'Poisonous Water'

Imke Rust busy installing ‘Poisonous Water’

Thank you Ms Nassehi Javan for letting me share our interview here! It has been such a pleasure getting to know you and working with you.

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

 

An Artist’s Life

Many exciting new things are happening in my life and I did not have much time to write for my blog. Today I thought of sharing a few pictures from my life with you, to give you an impression of what has been happening. That is, the fun stuff, which happened between all the admin work that took up most of my time.

First, as it is becoming warmer, I decided to prepare one of the outside rooms as a temporary summer studio, so that I can paint again on bigger canvasses, be messy and not mind paint splatter on the floor and allow space for offering workshops.

Those who have followed me for a while, know that I moved to a small village close to the forest, with a garden and an outbuilding and garage, which we want to turn into a wonderful, light and spacious studio. Unfortunately we discovered that we first need to get a new roof, as the old one is leaking beyond repair. So it may take a while, for our/my dream to come true. But the temporary studio will work fine for the warmer months for a while.

I have also been lucky to have received a second-hand drawing cabinet and large drawing table as a gift, which I am so grateful for.

Studio pics:

(Click on the images to see them in full.)

Yes, there was also time for making art. And I have noticed something odd happening in my life, kind of like a deja vu, just different. Similar kind of circumstances, situations or images appearing two or three times in a short period, without any relations between them. Only that I see them connected because they are so similar and unique in a way. I am feeling, wow, I just saw the exact same situation in a different way yesterday. I guess this means something, just not sure what. Let me explain it with an example concerning my art.

Recently I saw an image on the Internet of an adult woman sitting on a small children’s rocking horse. I liked it for its weirdness, and saved it as inspiration to draw from later. During the open studio event, I met the wood-carving artist Bodo Henke. One of his small sculptures was really adorable, so I decided to buy it – a horse with a rider, who is much too large for the horse…

When I came home, I realised the similarity to the image I had found in the internet. So I decided to actually start drawing my version of the lady on her rocking-horse. To me my painting looked more like a horse on a carousel. I decided to add white stripes and turn the horse into a Zebra, to express my connection to Africa and it just looked more exciting.

Yesterday, at the harbour festival, I saw an exquisite, antique, mini carousel for children. To my amazement, the riding figures on it actually were Zebras!

(Click on the images to see them in full.)

 

In between admin and other work, I also really take great pleasure in experiencing the spring for the first time in our own garden. I love to watch all the sprouting and blooming, and revel in the shapes and colours. Here are some impressions:

(Click on the images to see them in full.)

 

With the spring weather and more sun, I have also felt much more like getting out and do things. We have been to visit several artists in the region during an open studio day, watched the aeroplanes land and take-off from the side of a highway during sun-downers (a Namibian habit of celebrating the sun going down with a drink and good company) and briefly visited the harbour festival in Oranienburg. Here are some pics:

I wish you an awesome, happy and creative week ahead!

PS. if you missed my previous post, please have a look for the exciting announcements of our up-coming film debut in Berlin.