Tag Archives: guerilla art

A short story about an abandoned cat

My artwork on a lamp pole in Neu-Friedrichsthal

Once upon a time, in August 2015 to be exact, I created a cat, placed a golden crown on her head and abandoned it at the entrance of our village…

Okay, actually I glued it to a concrete pole and hoped it will happily greet any visitors to our little village. Unfortunately it was a very wet August and the so the glue did not stick too well to the pole and the cat, as cats are known to not particularly like wet weather, disappeared very soon.

For a long time, that was the end of the short story about the abandoned cat.

Until recently.

Recently, at the open studio days, we met some kind people who live just down the road from us. Strangely we have not met them before. Possibly because they only live here on the weekends. Anyway, these kind people invited us over to their place soon after for an evening around the fire. It turns out they moved here shortly after we did. That evening they showed us around their house and the renovations they have undertaken.

While inspecting the beautiful house I suddenly had a weird feeling, so I turned around and looked straight into the eyes of a cat. A crowned cat. Lovingly placed among family photographs on the wall.

What a delight to see that my cat is well and ‘alive’ and has found herself a warm and cosy home where she is loved and admired.

When I asked them about the cat, they said, they found it lying on the ground and they were so happy to see some cool art in this area. They thought, if such art can be found here, there surely must be living some nice people too.

And that was the short story about an abandoned and found cat. With a golden crown.

View with street and cyclist

And, if you want to know how cool our down-street neighbours are, have a look at this music video, which was filmed in their garden (and they are among the crowd). Perfectly chilled summer vibes from Meggy & Tigerskin – Bygone Eras:

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Well, my Mosquito Elephants Intervention has been replaced by a more realistic painterly impression of an elephant and baby….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

 

How did the dog get onto the beach?

I painted it there…

There is a dog on the beach... (Hotel Deco Busting by Imke Rust)

There is a dog on the beach… (Hotel Deco Busting by Imke Rust)

Intervention Against Tasteless Wall Decorations in Hotels and Holiday Apartments. (Part 18)
Intervention gegen geschmacklose Wanddekoration in Hotelzimmern und Ferienwohnungen. (Teil 18)

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

This is another intervention from our seaside holiday’s in August this year. The holiday flat we stayed in had numerous wall decorations all in the form of calendar images framed in cheap frames. So I just had to give them all a face-lift and add some originality and life. Now the flat has 6 original art intervention works by me. It must be a really worthwhile holiday art experience 😉 …

Once again I forgot to take a proper ‘before’ photo, so you will see I have already started on this one:

There is a dog on the beach... Before(almost) and After pic (Hotel Deco Busting by Imke Rust)

There is a dog on the beach… Before(almost) and After pic (Hotel Deco Busting by Imke Rust)

And here two more pics:

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

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.

 

Counting my blessings

Working during the holidays - another Hotel-Deco-Busting Intervention in the making.

Working during the holidays – another Hotel-Deco-Busting Intervention in the making.

Gratitude and Compassion

Very often I look around me and feel deep gratitude for the blessings in my life. My life is in no way spectacular, and yet I have so much to be grateful for. A roof over my head, comfort, enough food, contact to my family and friends and lots of freedom of choice of the work I do and if I would like to stay in Namibia or in Germany.

Fate has it, that I met a German man, got married to him and had the choice to legally live and work in Germany. Being an artist is nowhere easy, but part of the reason why I choose to join my man in Germany, was that here I have access to a much larger market, more galleries and museums and other such opportunities, than in Namibia.

Many people do not have such choices or a comfortable life. Some of these people are living in war torn countries or in places with no hope for a better life no matter how hard they work, or they are prosecuted for their sexual orientation or believes… How could anybody possibly want to deny them the very difficult choice to leave that life behind and follow their dream of a safe and better life somewhere else? If you were in their situation, what would you do? And how would you want to be treated?

Refugees and forced migration

Every time there is talk about the ‘refugee crisis’ in the news or amongst friends and all the hate towards asylum seekers, I am not only saddened, but I also feel a deep-rooted fear rising up in my body. The fear of not belonging and not being welcomed… A familiar and deep-rooted fear in me from an early age, although I am not sure how and why it is part of me. My heart reaches out to these people who have suffered so much and been so courageous to take up the risky and life-threatening journey to try and seek asylum in a different country. At the same time I feel a deep distress about the hate, violence and lack of understanding and empathy that many people in Europe express towards these fellow human beings.

Maybe because I realise that I was just lucky. If I had fallen in love with a different man, things would be different. If had been born in a different country, I might be the one who now has to choose between a horrible war and a risky and cumbersome escape with no guarantees. All such things that we do not really have a choice about.

Detail from my latest Hotel-Deco-Busting Intervention: Refugees
Detail from my latest Hotel-Deco-Busting Intervention: Refugees

Namibia is safe. Thank goodness.

I also am very aware of how quickly things can change from my personal life. Not long ago in Zimbabwe, white farmers were brutally forced to leave their land and belongings and flee. They had to try and start a new life and find a totally new way of earning their livelihood. Since that time white farmers in Namibia live in a kind of suppressed or open anxiety that our government might decide to follow Zimbabwe’s example. And many white, mainly elderly, farmers have been murdered since. People I know, friends, their family members. This was the subject of my Power & Politics Series in 2003. The scale can tip so easily and fast.

Where do we go from here...? Digital Print, 2003, from the Power & Politics series.

Where do we go from here…? Digital Print, 2003, from the Power & Politics series. (c) Imke Rust

Namibia is a safe country and thank goodness, we have no war. Still there is also a very real danger of getting robbed, raped and/or murdered. People get murdered in Namibia on a daily basis. Every few weeks you hear of somebody who you actually knew or who was close to friends or family who got murdered. I know that the violence reaches through all communities, but, as I look from my perspective and family, I know that white farmers are a soft and common target and that there is a constant fear hanging over our heads, that some day it might just be you /me (or in this case my family). Wouldn’t it be safer for them in another country? Will they one day be chased away from the farm my father bought with his hard-earned money just as it happened in Zimbabwe a few years back? And if so, will some country grant us asylum? Will we be able to still afford a plane ticket or will we survive a journey by other means? I don’t know and I hope we never need to find out.

What I did find out was, that my chances as a white artist in Namibia were limited. After I had won the most prestigeous art competition in Namibia, I thought it was my break-through and people would judge me according to my achievements. But it turned out, that it was not considered ‘politically correct’ to sent a white artist to a symposium overseas, when enquiring telephonically how to apply for a bursary, the kind gentleman told me: “I can hear you are white, don’t waste your time, they will not give it to you.” and when I applied for funding from a German NGO in Namibia, I was told that I am not African. When I insited that I am, the lady told me, that my art is not ‘african-enough’, when I asked her to actually have a look at my art and it’s very African subject matter, she just shrugged and said: Well, you know how it is, they want to see more traditional stuff and black artists.

Now I am a white African living legally in Germany.

If I do not tell people, they would not know that I am African. So mostly I am accepted as one of them. When I travelled with a young black Namibian artist to Germany, I realised how differently we were treated at the immigration control and I felt ashamed and frustrated.

All these are petty little things and definitely do not compare in any way to the kind of life-and-death discrimination other people go through, but it made me understand that things are seldom as straight forward as we would like them to be. Very often without any of your fault and despite working hard or achieving great things, life and people can turn against you for some unexpected reason. If these small rejections have hurt me so much, how must somebody feel who goes through much worse? And wouldn’t you want to reach out to a person who has had a hard life and gone through trauma, war and loss, with kindness and assure them, that even if life is not fair, you will do your best to try and make things better for them and everybody?

These are the thoughts going through my head often, and I am grateful for the very privileged life that I can live, the choices, which I am free to make and the small and big delights of my everyday life. And being priviledged means that we have more capacity to help and care. And if we feel we cannot really help, at least do not critizise, judge, spread hate and violence against those who are less fortunate than you.  I wish for more empathy and understanding and help. I wish for a world where people do not need to flee from their home countries.

A long introduction to my latest Hotel-Deco-Busting Intervention

Before and After Marseille Porte de l’Afrique du Nord with refugees added.

Before and After
Marseille Porte de l’Afrique du Nord with refugees added.

Intervention Against Tasteless Wall Decorations in Hotels and Holiday Apartments. (Part 15)
Intervention gegen geschmacklose Wanddekoration in Hotelzimmern und Ferienwohnungen. (Teil 15)

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

I had the choice and the opportunity to leave my home to go on holiday somewhere else. What a blessing!

I have just returned from our one-week holiday to the small village Ahrenshoop at the Baltic See. The holiday bungalow we stayed in was at the same complex, as the one we stayed in back in 2010, where my very first Hotel-Deco-Busting Intervention (Bad Taste Parrot) happened.

(Since our last visit they have renovated the bungalows and I assume they must have found the little message, which I have left behind the ugly parrot decoration. I wish I would know and would have witnessed the reaction! I rather did not ask, as I had so many plans for our new bungalow.)

Anyway, this time, the bungalow was decorated with calendar pictures in every room. They showed photographs of the surrounding area, by unidentified photographers. The images were cut from calendars and framed rather carelessly in cheap frames.

So, when we were not out and enjoying the perfect weather and beach, I had lots of work to do.

The decoration in our bungalow's bedroom, after I have updated it a bit.

The decoration in our bungalow’s bedroom, after I have updated it a bit.

Above our bed in the holiday bungalow was a framed poster, the only one that was not a photograph. It was also the only one that did not show a scene from the surrounding area. It showed the harbour of Marseille in France. It’s title: Marseille Porte de l’Afrique du Nord – that must be French for something like Gate to North Africa.

In a description of the poster on the internet, I found this information about it: This advertising poster by Roger Broders was designed for the French Railway Company, the Paris-Lyon-Méditerranée (PLM), between 1920 and 1932. (…)At the time of its production, posters like these had a powerful effect on people’s imaginations; this was how imagery of far-away places found its way into advertising. This image glamourises not only travel, but also the modern machinery that made mass tourism possible.

The final Marseille Porte de l’Afrique du Nord poster with refugees added.

The final Marseille Porte de l’Afrique du Nord poster with refugees added.

For such a long time in history it seemed only natural and right that Europeans travelled the world, colonized African countries and if they wished to emigrate to them rather freely. That’s how my family ended up living in Africa… that’s how the US got populated with Europeans… People are moving, things are changing.

So, I decided to update this poster with a reminder that things are different today and while some people can afford to travel on holiday to a different country, others are forced to leave behind what they know and love, in the vain and desperate hope to survive. Consider what they are going through.

I am asking for just a bit more empathy, compassion and humanness in our world. We are all humans and ideally there should be no borders, as we all share this planet and will not be able to flee from here, if we mess things up here.

Detail from my latest Hotel-Deco-Busting Intervention: Refugees in boat.

Detail from my latest Hotel-Deco-Busting Intervention: Refugees in boat.

You can find previous Hotel-Deco-Busting Interventions of mine HERE.

Happiness in Charkiv, Ukraine

Happiness, Charkiv 2015

Happiness, Charkiv 2015

Creating happiness in Charkiv by adding some glamour and text.

2015 Hotel Deco Busting

Intervention Against Tasteless Wall Decorations in Hotels and Holiday Apartments. (Part 13)
Intervention gegen geschmacklose Wanddekoration in Hotelzimmern und Ferienwohnungen.

On my recent trip to the Ukraine to prepare an exhibition and workshop I have been staying in Hotel Kharkow (Charkiv) in the centre of town. I am sure this hotel has seen better times, especially the rooms, but still it was a pleasant stay.

The room’s wall decoration (I cannot call it art) was made to match the pillow cases and duvet covers. Or was it the other way around? I do not know. Anyway it was neither particularly pretty nor interesting.

With my hotel deco busting projects I try to add value, to improve on what I find and to add some original touch. I also like to do this in an unobtrusive way and hope that my additions will bring some joy and happiness to those who notice them.

The country and citizens have been through a hard time with the war happening in the eastern Ukraine, only 100km away from Charkiv. Keeping that in mind, I wanted to bring back some of the old glamour which I imagine this hotel and city had. And add a sparkle of happiness.

I found out the Ukrainian spelling of the word Happiness and added these letters to the wall decoration with a gold pen. Looking at the artwork from the front, you almost do not notice the difference, but when you look at it from an angle – for instance as you enter the room –  the golden letters glow beautifully.

Please sign up on the right side to receive updates, if you want to be informed about another  hotel deco busting works which I have done during this trip.

Please click on the images to see a larger view and read the information about them.

Find more similar interventions HERE.

Creative Value Adding

ProcessDetailOMG hope you don’t vandalize hotel art…I know it’s not good. .but it serves a purpose. ..as all art does. …  A friend asked on Facebook.

Me: Nope, I am just donating my awesome creative skills to adding value to the cheap hotel deco and turning it into a unique, original piece of art.

2015 Hotel Deco Busting

Intervention Against Tasteless Wall Decorations in Hotels and Holiday Apartments. (Part 12)
Intervention gegen geschmacklose Wanddekoration in Hotelzimmern und Ferienwohnungen.

I have just returned from a business trip to the Ukraine. As my regular readers know, whenever I happen to stay at a hotel I have a special mission. I upgrade the usual bleak and cheap hotel deco, by turning it into an original piece of art. I use my time and resources to infuse the found hotel deco (I cannot really call it art) with some humour, style and creativity. So the hotel ends up with something better and more valuable.

In Kiew I found a cheap and slightly fading landscape print in my hotel room. It has been printed on canvas and framed in a solid wooden frame. I arrived late at night and had to leave early, so this piece of work was done in the early morning hours.

I like to not plan too much and rather react spontaneously to what I find. Besides this faded print, I found a complimentary sewing set from the hotel. I decided to use that and originally thought of just doing some kind of geometric shape. After a few stitches, an abstract geometric shape did not feel right and suddenly it became a house, with a shed and a dog.

The complimentary sewing set, does not offer a lot of thread, so I had to be very economical and selective with my lines and stitches. Anyway, without further ado, here are the pictures! I hope you enjoy them.

Please sign up on the right side to receive updates, if you want to be informed about another two hotel deco busting works which I have done during this trip.

Please click on the images to see a larger view and read the information about them.

Find more similar interventions HERE.