Tag Archives: Berlin

Falling in Love With the Unknown

Cherry Blossoms Close-up

Cherry Blossoms Close-up

On Easter morning we went for a cycle trip, when we noticed that the street was lined with thousands of pink flowers. More leaves were floating down from the pink blooming cherry trees with every new breeze. What a beautiful view!

A lady was watching from the window ( I heard that this used to be regarded as the favourite pastime of Germans for many years, before TV took over), as we stopped and started to pick up hands full of these fresh blossoms and packing them into my shopping bag. Curious about our actions, she asked, what we plan to do with it and was not too impressed when I told her that I do not know.

I really did not know. I just knew they were pretty, they were abundant and available and easy to collect. And I knew I would find something to do with it…

For two days I just did not have the time to even think about it. On the third, I knew the time is running out, as the petals will start to rot. I enjoyed watching the petals float from the trees, so I thought lots and lots of floating petals would be something fun to film.

Fortunately my husband and his daughter had a bit of time and were willing to assist me on the very vague idea and so off we went with some cameras, the buckets of petals and – in the last moment I thought of taking along our mirror as a large round shape.

The vague idea turned into a bit of frustration, as we tried to find a way of doing it and make it look good. Look good for me from an artist point of view and look good for my husband who is the expert in filming. But the beauty of creativity and working with what you have, is that if one idea does not work out, there are millions of possible alternatives. And there is always something one can do.

Maybe it is not the grandest of projects or delivers the most spectacular results, but we sure had lots of creative fun, excellent teamwork and a great time together. There might be a short video one day and there are some photos.

And we brought some excitement and beauty to the life of some people and dogs who passed by ‘a woman in a tree playing cherry blossom fairy’…

Being the cherry blossom fairy sprinkler

Being the cherry blossom fairy sprinkler

Alarmed dog who was not allowed to investigate

Alarmed dog who was not allowed to investigate

The camera crew seen from up the tree

The camera crew seen from up the tree

Creative assistants having fun

Creative assistants having fun

View from the tree

View from the tree: My favourite image…

Displaced mirror with petals

Displaced mirror with petals

Spring Circle

Finished Work: Spring Circle

The Ink Oracle

Girl Playing withInk and Foxes (Watercolour 6 ink on paper, 20x20cm by Imke Rust)

Girl Playing with Ink and Foxes    (Watercolour 6 ink on paper, 20x20cm by Imke Rust)

It is a blessing to be versatile and enjoy working in so many different mediums, styles, sizes, themes and approaches.

It is a blessing to be versatile and enjoy working in so many different mediums, styles, sizes, themes and approaches.

It is a blessing to be versatile and enjoy working in so many different mediums, styles, sizes, themes and approaches.

Yes, neither you nor me are drunk, I DID repeat that three times.

I need to remind myself (and the world out there) about that. Too often, I get frustrated with the challenge of trying to explain who I am and present myself to galleries or other people who are used to people specialising in one thing. People love the simplicity of boxes, into which you have to fit nicely and which can easily be understood and stored…

And I understand…

I will never forget meeting the ‘plastic wrap artist’ in Beijing in 2008. He showed me several really thick catalogs of his work. All he painted was super-realistic renditions of people wrapped in see-through plastic. That simple. Nothing else.

Even if I do not remember his name, I will always remember what he does and if ever I need a painting of a person wrapped in plastic, I will know exactly whom to ask. That is the beauty of specialisation. And it is real easy and great for marketing and selling your art.

Every time I make art and do something different, I get extraordinary excited.
Every time I fall madly in love with the new work, the style, the medium and the subject matter.  But, no matter how successful the work or how much fun I am having, I could never imagine doing thousands of those same different-similar works for the rest of my life. Or even for the rest of the year, or month…

You might have noticed that I have changed my ‘job-description’ from political artist to environmental artist to painter to conceptual artist or a combination thereof. I have never been fully satisfied. I am or have been all of that, but never exclusively.

I am all of that… and so much more.

So my latest change is to this description: Multi-Passionate Creative Being. For now that seems to be the best short description I can find. Even if it is probably not as easy to understand as ‘The Plastic Wrap Artist’.

In celebration of my versatility I would like to share a small insight into one of my current explorations. The common denominator: working in a small square format and on paper. Mostly in inks and watercolours, but not limited to that.

What makes these works really exciting for me, is that I have promised myself to work as intuitively as I can, i.e. paint the first thing that comes to mind and then just continue with what the artwork dictates. It is kind of like a dialog.

Wildly scary is the second aspect that I have challenged myself with: just draw or paint what I feel, without any judgement.

In other words: banning the inner critic. (Which feels like overthrowing the lifetime president…) And no labouring to get things to look ‘perfect’. Rather let them feel right and let them be.

Thank you for bearing with me and my ramblings and reading till here! Finally you can have a look at a selection of these latest works:



The Rise of the Phoenix

Peacock Medicine by Imke Rust (Ink on paper, 20x20cm)

Peacock Medicine by Imke Rust (Ink on paper, 20x20cm)

Many old traditions believed that a person is guided and protected by specific animals throughout their lives. Not only the American Indians had totem traditions, but all over the world people believed in the power of spirit animals.

Some of you might already know from my last blog post, I have been doing an online Totemic Arts Apprenticeship course with the wonderful guide-ess and teacher Emelie Archer Pickett, discovering my totem animals and how to work with their lessons and ‘medicine’ in our lives. We cannot choose which animal will be our totem animal, they choose us, according to our life lessons which we need to learn.

Believe in totem animals or not, I really think that at least considering them and their messages in our lives can help us find alternative insights and solutions to problems and added wisdom. Long before I have heard about totem animals, I often looked at my cats and thought: what would they do in this situation? (Usually their advice was to lie in the sun, stretch and roll over occasionally, watch the birds and most importantly: stay calm – unless you are hungry, in which case you go eat and then return to the sunny spot – a huge life lesson for me!)

Ok, now I have found out that we have a foundational or main animal as totem, supported by a whole gang of 11 other animals. There are many different views about this, so just stick with me on this one.

I call these animals my gang or circle, and the leader is a rather shy, sometimes grumpy black leopard…

During the course I found out that the peacock is a possible member of my gang, too. Sometimes we have resistance towards certain animals, or we wish for other animals that are not part of our totem make-up, ’cause they seem so impressive. So even though some of the teachings about the peacock resonated with me, I was not really convinced. Resonance to anything is usually a good sign that you are on the right path and to start further investigations.

Or you can just ignore it totally. Which is what I did.

Some weeks ago, I felt stuck in a certain situation in my life and I looked to my black leopard for help, but as usual the shy lady was withdrawing into her cave instead of coming out and being fierce (which is what I hoped for from my totem or power animal). But I learned that black leopards are pretty elusive and misunderstood… and well, they are the smallest of the large cats, so they might sometimes really be safer off in the cave or on a tree. (You can see a picture of her snoozing in her cave here)

Ok, I could not tempt her out of that cave and I had to go my own way. Which lead me past the communal rubbish yard. In the corner of these eyes I noticed a large frame in between the bins.

I just looooove old, discarded stuff like that. Cool stuff which one can possible re-use or recycle, and so I went for a closer look. It was an original oil painting of a peacock. The painting was in a perfect condition, just the frame was damaged on one corner. (At least it seemed that the leopard has lend me her eyes to easily spot the prey.)

A peacock… well, well – animals have strange ways to make themselves noticed in your life. And as an artist, I could never ignore a painting like this!

Found Peacock Painting by S (or V?) Wolters. Undated

Found Peacock Painting by S (or V?) Wolters. Undated

So I rescued the peacock and painting from the dumpsters and took it home, knowing I will now have no excuse to not look deeper into this totem animal. I also wanted to share my findings and excitement with the fellow tribe of people who are doing the course with me.

When I opened up our Facebook group’s page, the first thing I saw, was a picture of a peacock with the person who posted it saying: I just found out that my totem animal is a peacock – any other peacocks out there? And while I was writing about my experience, another person also shared that she found out the peacock is one of her totems. Three peacocks in one day… not bad. I just love considering this to be signs from the universe.

What is a peacock’s medicine you might want to know?

Here are some teachings: For one the peacock most resembles the descriptions of the phoenix, so it is considered a symbol of death and resurrection. The Peacock can also help you on your spiritual Path, and breath new life into your walk of faith and they can increase your self-esteem levels.

The bird is a symbol of integrity and the beauty we can achieve when we endeavor to show our true colours.

(Showing my true colours is the reason, why you suddenly get to read so much about totem animals and other magical stuff, visions or fun ideas from me.)

Because of the many ‘eyes’ on its tail it is connected to wisdom and vision – i.e. ‘seeing with a thousand eyes’.

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

Totem fun: Phoenix or the Peacock Eyes. Not exactly a thousand eyes here, but a start… (Ink on paper, 20x20cm. By Imke Rust)

You can connect to or use this animal medicine through meditating on the specific animal, wearing or surrounding yourself with images or objects of the animal or its colours, paint them or alternatively incorporate their lessons in whatever way makes you happy and feels right to you. There are no rules.

Even though most of the peacock lessons resonate with me, one stood out: the rebirth or phoenix aspect. Why? Since this bird (painting) got rescued from certain destruction, risen from the death and now has started a second life in our kitchen. A real phoenix!

Now he is playing with the other members of the gang, adding its strength and beauty to the mix. 😉

Totem Fun (Imke Rust, Ink & watercolours on paper, 20x20cm)

More totem fun (Imke Rust, Ink & watercolours on paper, 20x20cm)

Leopard Sighting in the Forest

Once again I have swopped the warm African sun for the cold, dark and wet winter in Germany.

As a reminder of the creative fun that can be had in the cold I decided to share with you a little sketch I did on an outing to our favourite forest last year.

There were lots of frozen puddles of water and I liked how clear they were, like solid three-dimensional piece of nature art. Feeling a bit homesick I instinctively decided to add some African imagery to it. Maybe something like rock-art on ice?

I happened to have a white Tippex marker with me and started to draw a kudu. I was moderately happy with that. So a bit further away I started again, drawing a person, thinking this might turn into a traditional hunting scene.

Kudu and man on ice in the forest

Kudu and man on ice in the forest

The lines I drew dissolved and moved in weird ways on the ice surface, so I did not have much control, and thought adding a bow and arrow would totally mess it up. I felt awkward and unhappy with both figures. It needed something interesting to happen to save it…

Along came the leopard.

Leopard and man on ice in the forest

Leopard and man on ice in the forest

Interestingly the leopard started to chase the person and not the kudu, who was watching from a safe distance.

Unfortunately I cannot tell you how the story ended, as it got so cold, that I rather put on my gloves again and walked on.

Last view of the scene with the leopard chasing the man into the distance

Last view of the scene with the leopard chasing the man into the distance

Wishing you a happy and playful week and the perfect weather for your creative expressions!


Last days of summer

The days have become shorter and colder, but the sun is still shining. Packed warmly (yes I already have started wearing some more layers of clothes, scarfs and gloves…) we ventured off for a long walk in our favourite little forest outside of Berlin. After all, yesterday was public holiday here in Germany. And I got a little time to play and make some art celebrating the beautiful and strong colours of summer.

I jut love the red berries one finds here and always wanted to use them in my artworks. Now I finally did.

Red Star

Red Star, blessing and thanking all the corners of the universe for its natural abundance and growth.

Unfortunately the wind was so strong that my original ideas did not work out and in the end I arranged this star flat on a tree stump, but almost could not photograph it fast enough before the wind blew it away again.


And here is a little bouquet for you! Because you are wonderful!

Memories of a Tree Taking Flight

 An exploration in a forest and trying to reconnect with its magic…

Taking flight...

Memories of a Tree Taking Flight

Running through a forest of departed trees

Running through a forest of departed trees

Zwiegespräch mit einem Bieber (Dialog with a Beaver)

Zwiegespräch mit einem Bieber (Dialog with a Beaver)

Film production almost completed

An Inifinte Scream – The Documentary: Trailer

How did you make this? Where do you get all your ideas? Why are you working with salt? And what is a Tokoloshe Trap?

Did you ever wonder about these things when you see my art? Well, this time you are lucky and soon you will get some answers.

Documenting SubRosa IRust (c)

Documenting SubRosa IRust (c)

We have made a documentary film about my latest land art project ‘…and I sensed and infinite scream passing through the Namib’. It gives you a great behind-the-scene glimpse into the project and an insight how I work and think.

You can join me in the exciting journey from the making of the artworks, the thoughts behind them, the challenges along the way and finally the exhibition. It is a personal portrait as much as a film about the art and its role in society.

Until we can finally publicly release the film, you can already view the trailer and check out the film’s webpage. It will give you a taste of what to expect in the full documentary once it is released. Do not forget to sign up for the blog to find out when and where it will be screened. (I will also keep you updated here.)

A great thank you, to filmmaker and my partner Steffen Holzkamp for the excellent work and the super-cool film. I am really looking forward to sharing the full film with everybody soon.

Click HERE to view the trailer (1:36min)

Making of the Salt Circles © Imke Rust

Making of the Salt Circles © Imke Rust

Making the barbed wire stems for the roses © Imke Rust

Making the barbed wire stems for the roses © Imke Rust

You Are Wonderful

We are living in on the top floor of a multistory building, which means we are often using the elevator and spend the longest time in it. Just like the building, the elevator is neither pretty, nor very welcoming. I guess, in general elevators are usually not the nicest places.

Often on my way up or down, I am thinking of how the elevator is actually like a life-vein of the building, moving tenants and their guests up and down. And it is a central, small space which almost all occupants share and use on a regular basis. It is a pity that it is so bland and uninspiring.

Inside view of our elevator, once you enter

Inside view of our elevator, once you enter

I decided to change that…

The door is about to close...

The door is busy closing…

The door is completely closed, revealing the full message

The door is completely closed, revealing the full message

Du (ja – DU!) bist wunderbar!  ( You (yes- YOU) are wonderful! )

As usual I made sure that my intervention is not permanent or damaging somebody else’s property and it can easily be removed 😉

A temporary intervention in a public space by Imke Rust.
Digital print on photo paper and sticky tape.

Barter Buzz – exchanging art


Blogging makes you meet all kinds of interesting artists and fellow bloggers – at least virtually. Recently I have read about an initiative by the artist collective Theo: Tauschrausch (German for something like barter buzz) and decided to participate.

I love the idea of exchanging artworks instead of selling them. Exchanging my artworks for services or goods produced by somebody else, or alternative for artworks from fellow artists is such a cool idea, although not always that easy.

Theo has a offered a collection of their handmade cards and I decided to present them with the postcards of my recent land art works.

The deal was done and I received the most beautifully packaged edition of postcards:

Beautifully packaged postcards by Theo

Beautifully packaged postcards by Theo

Postcards by Theo - old fashioned black & white collage style - very cool

Postcards by Theo – old fashioned black & white collage style – very cool

Thank you very much Theo! One cannot find a more beautiful excuse to take up a fountain pen, write an art postcard and send it of into the world…. (or on second thoughts maybe just to just keep them all to myself 😉 )

Have a look at more of Theo’s work here and find out who they are.

And more exchanges…

I could never really afford luxury things, such as dying my hair. So when my hairdresser told me that she just loves my artwork, but cannot afford to buy it, we quickly decided that we can fix two problems in one go with exchanging art for beautiful cuts and amazing colours. Following is one of several works, which I have exchanged with my wonderful and very talented hair dresser (Heidi from Heidi’s Hair Studio) in Windhoek.

Yin & Yang from the 'wo-man' series (Ink on rice paper, 70 x 70cm by Imke Rust) © Imke Rust

Yin & Yang from the ‘wo-man’ series (Ink on rice paper, 70 x 70cm by Imke Rust) © Imke Rust

Stunning colours and cuts by my favourite hairdresser in return

Stunning colours and cuts by my favourite hairdresser in return

I received this 2-piece artwork by Bremen artist Edeltraut Rath in return for one of my dog images from the Power & Politics Series in 2006:

Untitled by Edeltraut Rath from Bremen

Untitled by Edeltraut Rath from Bremen

The two painted wooden blogs are just beautiful and can be hung or displayed standing in a variety of ways. I just love the warm and sunny colours. (unfortunately the photograph is not the best)

It would be great if we could exchange real things and services with each other more often, instead of using money as a form of payment!

Tell me – have you exchanged or bartered things before or could you imagine doing it? And what was exchanged for what? Did you experience any problems or wonderful surprises? I would love to know more stories about this.

Wishing you a great week!

Finally the rain has come to Namibia

Just a brief update, on two of my previous posts. Let me start of with a quote, which is very central to my understanding of what this is about:

Gratitude in advance is the most powerful creative force in the universe. (N.D. Walsh)

Some time ago I posted two stories about ‘calling the rain’ in Namibia, “Waiting for rain” and “Secret ingredients for making rain“. Namibia has been really dry and many people were/are afraid that this will be a year of a disastrous drought….  (you can read more of my thoughts about this at ‘Where are the clouds?‘).

Now, finally the rain has come to Namibia!!! Whoohoo…!!!

Besides being really happy about this news, I had to smile to myself, as it just proved to me, that the sending out positive intentions with the rainmakers is really working.

We just have to be patient and keep on believing. Even if it takes a bit longer. Trusting that everything is the way it should be and it is good. Just wait without fear, knowing that everything that is is a blessing. Our prayers will be heard, our needs will be taken care of!  So count your blessings (really do) and praise each one of them.

Over the past few months I have made several different ‘rainmakers’ to remind myself to keep on believing in the rain and that it will come, no matter how bleak the forecast looked or how many people exclaimed their fear and worries. Each time I make one, I consciously imagine the rain falling and saying thank you to the universe that it has always provided me with everything I needed.

It does not need to be an elaborate artwork, Sometimes I even think the easier they come and the more fun they are, the better. It makes it easier to feel  joy and gratitude in my heart. And I think that helps to focus the energy and my desire for rain and not on getting a ‘perfect’ piece of art out there.

Here are some of my rainmakers:

Another 'Rainmaker' which I have made in January in Namibia ©ImkeRustAnother ‘Rainmaker’ which I have made in January in Namibia ©ImkeRust

'Seeing the Clouds' - a digital artwork of superimposing a raining cloud onto a satellite view of southern Africa/Namibia by Imke Rust ©

‘Seeing the Clouds’ – a digital artwork of superimposing a raining cloud onto a satellite view of southern Africa/Namibia by Imke Rust ©

'Cloud with the Flower of Life' - digitally manipulated photograph  by Imke Rust ©

‘Cloud with the Flower of Life’ – digitally manipulated photograph by Imke Rust ©

After the first good rains we all hope and pray that it will keep on raining, till we have enough to overcome the next dry season.

Inspiration to others and their contribution

Some friends have liked my rainmaker idea so much, that they have decided to make their own rainmakers and that surely played a big role and contributed to making it rain 😉 . Here is an photo from a rainmaker, which my brother’s girlfriend Amanda has made:

Amanda's Rainmaker ©

Amanda’s Rainmaker ©
What she wrote about it: it has alot saying and meaning to it. If you look close.
A. Clouds bonding. B. Protection for Our Solar System, The Sun C. At Full Moon there is Poaching, so I created the Stars and Moon, with a Cross that Protect the Wild Animals, there is an Oryx. D. Grass should Grow very High. E. Flowers for the Bees. F. Enough grass for the Cattle. G. Enough Water from the Clouds, going Left to Right. And it has worked somehow.

How cool is that?
It feels great that my ideas and work keeps on inspiring others, and they come up with their own unique and beautiful artworks or rituals.

Thank you, dear universe, for all your blessings and sending rain our way! By the way, I am still eagerly awaiting spring/summer over here in Berlin… 😉 – but I am sure you have already made a plan for that too! 🙂