Tag Archives: killing

Ready to Shoot

If you are a regular follower of my creative experiences on my blog, you might have wondered what happened to the kudu painting. Yes the one that asked me to ‘Shoot it – if I can’. And as promised, here is an update.

If you have not read the other posts, you might want to just quickly return to them, to know what this is all about. Part 1- There is a Kudu in my Studio  & Part 2 -Shoot Me!

Shoot Me - If You Can (Digitally altered painting)

Shoot Me – If You Can (Digitally altered painting)

When I finished the painting, I had to wait for a stretcher frame to be made, so that I could transport it safely and easily. Unfortunately it was Christmas time and the framers were just ready to leave on holiday, but they promised to make it as soon as they return.

That gave me some time to

  1. Decide what I am going to do and
  2. arrange everything necessary.

I kept looking deep into the kudu’s eyes, to try and decide if I could shoot her. And if yes, how exactly would I go about it. She was silent and I knew the ball was in my court. She asked me to shoot her, and I had to answer.

Finally I agreed. If that is what she wants, I will do it. Yes, I will shoot her. She will show me how.

For the practical part of doing it, I have talked to a dear friend, and after some hesitation he agreed to help me take the painting out to his farm and shoot it. So everything was set. Just waiting for the frame, so that I could stretch the painting…

I realised that shooting the painting stirred a lot of emotions and questions in me. Why was her request so unsettling? And, on the other side, intriguing? Shooting to me is about killing. So I would have to kill this painting.  Why do I have such a problem with killing something that is not alive?

Oh, but wait. It is not alive? Who said that? To me a painting is very much alive. Artists are often asked, when they know that a painting is finished. I know mine is finished, when it suddenly feels alive, when it becomes an energised, almost breathing entity, when I have the feeling it has a identifiable personality that can survive on its own in the world. When it becomes separate from me.  (I know this sounds strange, but that is what it feels like to me.)

Anyway, I could write so much more on the thoughts and emotions that I had, but I am afraid this post will get too long. I hope to still share my insights in some other form later. I think the main thing was to go through the motions, make up my mind and trust life to take its course.  Who knows what will come from it.

So here I was, ready and well prepared to shoot. Honouring my part of the agreement. Shoot her – if I can.

I could not.

By some fluke the framers took longer than expected and the painting literally arrived back in my studio a few hours before I left to Europe. There was just no time to shoot.

She is save and I am relieved!  🙂

Preparation Sketch for the kudu painting

Preparation Sketch for the kudu painting


The Hands of a Serial Killer

Confession time

Here you see the hands of a serial killer.

WEB Serial Killer Hands 2 Kopie

They are my hands.

Yes, I have killed several living beings in one go. Some would be proud of me. Some might smile. But I, I am in conflict.

Killing is wrong. We all know that. Yet, we go on killing in so many ways. Often not even thinking about it. Alternatively we differentiate between who and what may be killed for what reason. There are big issues like the illegal slaughtering of rhinos or trophy hunting that gets many people (including me) upset and protesting, but most of those protesting happily sit down and eat a steak. There is a difference most people seem to agree.

That is fine by me. They can do as they like. But what about me? 

I realise that even if I am not a trophy hunter or rhino poacher, I am still senselessly killing many beings. And I wish I would not. So I am trying to at least minimize the damage, by becoming more and more conscious about when and where I am directly or indirectly killing.

Ever since I read the beautiful German poem ‘Die Mücke’  as a child, I had difficulties with killing mosquitos, but I still did. (I copied the poem below and updated the post with an English translation.) Some years ago I tried the approach of ‘making peace’ with them, and asking them to not bite me and I will not kill them. With limited success… on both sides.

But I did kill less and became better at ignoring them. This year there are so many, that ignoring them did not really work anymore.

Recently several of them made it into the mosquito net during the night and had a feast. In the morning they were all bulging red with our blood.

I was upset and swat them all, one after the other. It was easy, they were caught in the net, fat and slow. What a thrill to get back at them! I knew I should not. I felt pretty guilty looking at my blood-stained hands and their squashed bodies afterwards.

To appease them, I took photos of the crime scene, ie my hands. Making art about the conflicts ranging in my soul and mind is usually the best medicine, and often leads to surprising insights.

And to be fair to myself, I also took a photograph of my leg with, what seems like, hundreds of mossie bites. This made me think of star constellations. Maybe the mosquitos are from a different planet? Or their bite patterns form secret messages for us or for them? Something like: this persons blood is really yummy, you should try it too! Who knows? (I just love considering all different possibilities once my mind is set loose on a new mission. 😉 ) So I decided to work on this idea too.

While I was making the ‘Mosquito Constellation’ (below) I searched the internet for a picture of a mosquito to trace and found one on Conversations with Don Machinga and Other Beings – Musings from the Peruvian Amazon, in a post titled: Three Visits to the Mosquito Spirit King. What an interesting read!!! If you have a moment and are curious, pop over there to see what the Mosquito Spirit King is saying.

I will ponder on this for a while and try to refrain from killing those little buggers.

Mosquito Constellation (Digitally manipulated photograph)Mosquito Constellation by Imke Rust (Digitally manipulated photograph)

Wishing you all a beautiful week!


Die Mücke

Albrecht Haushofer (1903-1945)

Ein leises Gesurr. Auf meine Hand
sinkt flügelschwirrend eine Mücke nieder,
ein Hauch von einem Leib, sechs zarte Glieder –
Wo kam sie her aus winterlichem Land?

Ein Rüssel … schlag ich zu? Mißgönn ich ihr
den Tropfen Blut, der solches Wesen nährt?
Den leichten Schmerz, den mir der Stich gewährt?
Sie handelt, wie sie muß. Bin ich ein Tier?

So stich nur zu, du kleine Flügelseele,
solang mein Blutgefäß dich nähren mag,
solang du sorgst um deinen kurzen Tag!

Stich zu, daß es dir nicht an Kräften fehle!
Wir sind ja beide, Mensch und Mücke, nichts
als kleine Schatten eines großen Lichts.

Translation Update:

I have tried to translate the poem as best as I can. It might not be very elegant, but I hope you get the idea :)
Here it goes:

The Mosquito

A soft buzz. On my hand
decents with whirring wings a mosquito,
a hint of a body, six delicate limbs –
Where did she come out of this wintry country?

A trunk … Will I hit? Do I begrudge her
the drop of blood that nourishes such a being?
The slight pain that the sting gives me?
She acts, as she must. Am I an animal?

So just sting, little winged soul,
as long as my blood vessel may nourish you,
as long as you care for your short days!

Sting, to that you have no lack of strength!
We’re both, human and mosquito, nothing
than a small shadow of a great light.

(Just as an explanation: In German the mosquito has a female article, so it could refer to a mosquito in general or a female mosquito. I decided to translate it in the form of a female mosquito, because that was easier and to me she is female. But I think he meant just ‘a’ mosquito.)