Tag Archives: Berlin

Imke Rust – Wieviel Namibia steckt in ihrer Kunst?

Imke Rust – How much Namibia can be found in her art?

Last Tuesday was one of those nervously exciting days… I have been invited for an hour-long interview on Deutschlandradio Kultur. The interview forms part of a series called ‘Im Gespräch’  – I would translate it as ‘In Conversation’. Interesting and inspiring people from many different backgrounds are invited to share their thoughts and experiences during these interviews.

Imke Rust busy making the SubRosa Artwork. Photo by Steffen Holzkamp (c)

Imke Rust busy making the SubRosa Artwork. Photo by Steffen Holzkamp (c)

I felt so honoured and grateful that they have invited me! And at the same time, I realised how big this is, and how much I want to make it count and how scared I am of me messing it up.

Even though I have talked publicly before and believe that I am usually faring quite well, nevertheless I still get nervous as hell. Fortunately the preparations team was super and the interviewer, Britta Bürger, was awesome and I felt safe and welcome.

Once my nervous coughing subsided and we were on-air the time passed so quickly. Before I knew it we were done. It felt as if I woke up from a dream, but have totally forgotten what it was about, except for a faint, very vague memory.

I only arrived home late that evening after a busy day in town. When I switched on my computer, I was overwhelmed to see so many emails of friends and strangers congratulating me and commenting on the interview. I was even more overwhelmed to see that almost 400 people have visited my webpage and clicked through many different pages. Wow – this was an absolute sky-rocketing record for me.

I am so grateful that people have listened to my interview and felt it was interesting enough to find out more on my webpage. Thank you!

For everybody who missed it, if you are curious to hear me talking about my background, Namibia and my art, you can still listen to it on the archive page of Deutschlandradio Kultur, by clicking on the link below. Sorry, once again this is only in German without any translation.

I have had several requests to have my webpage and blog in German. Strangely my German writing is not as fluent, even though it is my mother-tongue. And as much as I wish I could share everything in German too, I just do not have the time to translate it myself or the money to pay for somebody to do it for me. Maybe one day I can change that!

Ok, here is the intro to the interview.

Die Namibierin Imke Rust steckt schwarze Rosen in die Wüste, klebt Regenwolken auf Felsen und lässt Plastik-Goldfische in Eis-Bächen schwimmen. Häufig sind es symbolische Kunstprojekte, mit denen die Künstlerin vor der massiven Umweltzerstörung warnt, die Namibia durch Uran- und Phosphatabbau droht. Sie ist die Nachfahrin einer weißen Missionarsfamilie, die in das damalige Deutsch-Südwestafrika auswanderte.

Click here to read more and listen to the interview.

Klick hier um weiterzulesen und das Interview zu hören.

We are talking more about this artwork: Coat of Arms by Imke Rust

We are talking more about this artwork during the interview: Coat of Arms by Imke Rust

Pendlerin zwischen den Welten – Commuter Between Worlds

Excitement!!!

Some time ago I was contacted by a journalist who likes my art and wanted to interview me for an article in the magazin ‘afrikapost – Magazin für Politik, Wirtschaft und Kultur’. I agreed, although I have to admit that I was so nervous and almost said no.

Now the article is published and I am so grateful for a wonderfully written portrait of my art and me. Thank you, Tobias Döpker, editor of the Mannheimer Morgen Newspaper for taking the time and interest and for summing up the long interview in a perfect way!

So writing today’s post is made very easy for me, as I have the kind permission to share the article with you! Unfortunately for all my English-speaking readers, the article is in German. I am afraid you will miss out this time. I am sorry about that!

But, according to my site statistics the German readership of my blog and webpage has increased tremendously in the past two years and is actually leading in numbers, so here is a small special gift to all of you who are fluent in the German language. 🙂 Viel Spass beim lesen!

Please click on the image to be taken to a readable PDF version.

Magazin spread of the article in the Afrikapost Magazin (2/2014/Juni)

Magazin spread of the article in the Afrikapost Magazin (2/2014/Juni)

I hope you enjoyed the article! I would love to hear your thoughts about it!

 

How to create miracles

As you probably know, I am a big believer in miracles. They do happen, all around us, in big and small ways.

Happy by Imke Rust (Ink on 250g/m2 acid-free watercolour paper, 14,8 x 10,6cm)

Happy by Imke Rust (Ink on 250g/m2 acid-free watercolour paper, 14,8 x 10,6cm)

Very often we are waiting for that one big miracle to happen! Like winning the lottery or living in eternal bliss… And then we are upset if that never seems to happen.

That always reminds me of the joke of the guy who prays for weeks to win the lottery, until he really gets upset with God and vents his frustration about his prayers not being heard. Suddenly a voice thunders down from heaven, saying: Meet me half way – buy a ticket.

So, whenever I am waiting or hoping for a miracle to happen, I wonder if I have done my half? Have I bought the ticket?

Sometimes it is so very simple: I always wish for the miracle of being able to do what I want to do with total freedom. Just create whatever I feel like. Instead usually a little insistent voice in my head rumbles: NO – you can’t do that! That will not sell! That is too easy! No way, what will people think if you paint like that?! Now, really, do you think any gallery will take you seriously when you show stuff like that? Ok, that is pretty neat, I like that – BUT how do you think this will generate any money? Remember, you need to pay your bills…

And so it goes on and on, and sometimes I find a successful way to navigate through this and be kind-of-happy. Until I realise that I have more and more work, and still very little income. Then I work harder at doing things, which I think will be better suited to generate an income, improve my career options and become a successful artist. This usually ends up with me being frustrated and depressed. And feeling like lifting up my fist to the sky and say: I have done my part, now where is that miracle of total creative freedom without financial worries I have prayed for?

During one of those frustrated times a different, kinder and gentler voice suddenly popped into my head and matter-of-factly said:

Some miracles you just have to create yourself.

What? Me? How? (I have already tried all those little tricks which I have read about, such as visualisation, praying etc.)

And then I realised: Yes – I can!

Sure. Even if it is for short periods of time, I can just choose to be happy and do whatever I like. I will not starve immediately. No seriously bad things will happen if I take an hour or so of my time and create whatever I feel like… I just need to make the choice and do it!

And so I created this miracle. An hour or two of blissful and fun painting of pretty stuff and trying my hand at lettering – just because I felt like it.

Some miracles... 3 artworks by Imke Rust (Guache, ink and pen on 170g/m2 acid free paper, each 21 x 29,7cm)

Some miracles… 3 artworks by Imke Rust (Guache, ink and pen on 170g/m2 acid free paper, each 21 x 29,7cm)

Too often we are waiting for something outside of us to happen or change. From now on, I am committing to always find what I can do to bring me closer to create my own miracles. And do it. It is a blissful feeling to see all the potential miracles around me.

You might say: oh well, that’s too easy and not going to be a long-term solution. Granted, I have to keep repeating it. I think that would be possible, if I just choose to.

So here is another real big example from my personal experience.

Many years ago, I wrote down a list of things I truly wished for in my life. I read all about manifesting whatever you want and I decided to try it out. One point on the list was a real biggy. I had bad eyesight and needed to wear glasses. I hated that. And I wanted the universe to give me perfect eyesight so that I would never need glasses again.

You would agree – if the universe got that right, then I really would truly believe that nothing is impossible. It was on the list and so I waited. And waited. And waited. A few years later I found the list again, and ticked of some stuff, but the big wishes like the perfect eyesight were still unchanged. Nothing has miraculously happened. Maybe I just had to admit that it was a bit too idealistic of me to believe that it could happen.

I pondered about this for a few days until suddenly I had a small epiphany. I just received some money, which was owed to me for a long time, and I did not really expect to ever get it. I believed that it is not good to let money lie on a bank account, it would be better to invest it into something. But what? What would be a good investment for me? Something that would not depreciate in value? Something I really wanted or needed?

A few of my friends had done eye operations and were really happy with the results and suddenly it struck me that this money would be able to cover the cost of such an operation.

The miracle was there for me, I just needed to make the choice and buy the ticket.
I did.
Within a few weeks of preparation and five minutes of operation I had perfect eyesight. What a miracle!

Imke at the Goodman Gallery, Cape Town

My first public outing after my eye operation, celebrated with a visit to the Goodman Gallery in Cape Town. (March 2011)

I often thought miracles would have to come falling from the sky in some supernatural manner. There might be some that do, but most are pretty damn ordinary miracles. I mean, isn’t it just totally amazing that it is possible to laser your eyes and within 5min have perfect eyesight? Wow! I am still in awe and so incredibly grateful!

So, remember:

Some miracles you just have to create yourself.

And you can!

Panther Dreams by Imke Rust (Guache, ink and pen on 170g/m2 acid free paper, 21 x 29,7cm)

Panther Dreams by Imke Rust (Guache, ink and pen on 170g/m2 acid free paper, 21 x 29,7cm)

 

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!

Imke