Why Our Art Matters


John Green made a fabulous video about artists and their work today using the metaphor of the world’s largest ball of paint. I let him tell the story:

He said we might put all our energy into painting that one layer, and making it the most beautiful, only for it to be painted over by others. In the end, our layer of paint did contribute to the size of the ball, to its magnificence. There will be people remembering how we painted that one layer. One day, they will be gone as well. The artwork remains.

As artists we spend a lot of time wondering about if it matters what we do. Certainly through the blog I have shared my work with more people than I would have ever imagined. But even this is temporary. At only a few years old I did a lot of arts and crafts. I loved that. I always glued pieces of paper together and drew on them. That was my art. It is probably tucked away in some box I will never find again. But it contributed to the ball of paint that is my life. Five years ago I started drawing portraits and I still have these first sketches in a binder. Another layer on the ball of paint. Now my artwork is a lot better than those old sketches. I have painted over the old layers. All this time invested contributed thin layers.

If we see our development as artists like that, no perceived failure will ever trouble us again. Because they are all just lumps and bumps in a layer of paint we will soon go over with another colour. We might decide that we don’t like this ball anymore and start a new one. We might glue some paper onto it. We might write some verses on it. But with everything we do, it grows. We grow.

We also spend some time discussing the inevitable question in our head: Are we really undiscovered geniuses or are we just normal human beings thinking too much? Can we really ever know? Is it important?

What do we want our art to do for ourselves? Do we want to be recognised in the streets for our artwork? Do we want to appear in fancy magazines? Do we want our art to sustain our lives? Or do we want to make people happy, make them think, bring them joy? Do we want to send a powerful message? When we pose these questions we will know what we expect from the world. What the world can expect from us.

A genius can work silently in their studio day after day, from dawn to dusk. A genius can get up at 4 in the morning to cram in some extra hours of painting before the day job, only to come home at night exhausted and tired. A genius can get up at 12, write for ten minutes, eat ice cream the whole day, and go to bed five hours later. A genius might have picked up ballet dancing at forty years old and be amazing, despite everything everyone ever told them. We are all geniuses in our own way. We make it work. We struggle through insecurities. Through self-hate. Through doubt. Through anger at ourselves and our equipment. At unsaved documents. At word counts that won’t grow. We will curse our writer’s block and the muse that has left us. We will curse ourselves most often. That is just part of the process. We go on anyway because we have to. We are artists.

Whatever you might want to create today, know, that it will count. It will count for your own development, your growth. It will count for the world. It will count for the large ball of paint that is our culture, and our common humanity. We have always created something to make life more beautiful. We have always used art as a means for communication, to express our wonder about the world. These are challenging times we live in – let your art tell the story of this time. Use it to create even more. Art is what connects us on a much deeper level and this connection is what we need right now. There is so much division, hate, and fear out there. Let’s work on the beautiful ball of paint together that is our planet Earth.

In which way are you an artist genius? Let’s have a little chat in the comments!

Intergenerational Climate Justice


Currently I’m reading “This changes everything” by Naomi Klein and let me tell you – it is an amazing book. The courses I have taken so far were mainly focused on the environmental consequences and causes of climate change. This book opens the perspective to think about the deeper roots. Our consumption. Capitalism. It challenges the values we have accepted to be true for so many decades. Endless growth is not possible with finite resources and a finite capacity of our earth to store carbon. Endless growth is not possible when it makes those most vulnerable suffer even more, when it undermines the social system. We do not only need to transition from fossil fuels to renewable energies but we have to change our perspective on our energy consumption.

The issue of climate change is one of international justice, intergenerational justice. Developed countries have been able to grow through the use of fossil fuels. Developing countries are now facing the consequences of this behaviour, while also not having made the same development as industrialised countries yet. Which makes them even more vulnerable to the effects of global warming.

How will we explain to our children and grandchildren that we were busy saving the oil and coal industry because they so clearly reflect the great and noble values we stand for?

There is a way out of this whole dilemma. We need to find both a political, social, and economic solution.

If we spent less time and energy tearing each other down and instead focused on building each other up, we would be far better off. We need to not only think about the environment but about other people. Not as bodies, not as religions, not as races, not as parties, but as people. The central message of all religions is one of love and compassion. That’s what we are aiming for and capable of. Why don’t we start there? We need to address our common humanity. Climate change is a social issue before everything else. And until we accept this as true there will be no long-lasting sustainable change. We need to celebrate our identities, but we also need to celebrate our oneness. Our unity is our strength as a people.
We need to listen to marginalised voices to be able to include them in our picture of the world. We are more alike than we are different. Those who were excluded from the narrative were perceived as something very different. This enabled others to take advantage of those whose voices were never promoted. Who never had the power to speak out against the injustice. Now it the time to change that. Climate change gives us the opportunity and also the obligation to bring more equality to the world. When we shift our view away from the borders that separate us and instead to the cultures that connect us, we would be able to solve climate change and to avoid the devastating consequences it will have.

Urban Sketching in Hamburg


Over the weekend I visited my best friend in Hamburg and we went around the city looking for good places to draw. We had a lot of fun trying new art styles and messing with colours.

Which one do you like most? 🙂

Reneé Elise Goldsberry


Include women in the sequel. Work!

This kept me going in the exam phase. Hamilton in general. My obsession with this musical has kept going for four months now (And then I discovered In the Heights. I’m lost in musical theatre). I think I will dedicate a whole post to the effects it had on me, it is such an amazing piece of art. And Renee is wonderful. Obviously.

I’m Back & Book Project


Oh it has been a long time. I actually have an excuse which is not really one. I have lost my password and nothing worked anymore and exam phase and bla bla bla. But I’m back. I will write essays about the environment and feminism again.

Over the last few months I have been writing daily. It gives me so much pleasure. At the moment these texts add up to 90 000 words… You would think that a student had better things to do. But writing in the evenings is always the thing I’m looking forward to most (Well, not every day … aka writer’s block or evil cycle of self-hatred)

What have I been working on?
It’s a book. You guessed it. My twenty-third (or so) attempt to writing a book. I think everyone is laughing about me and my projects. This one is different, I like to tell myself. It’s non-fiction.
I always loved to read fiction but I could never make enough stuff up to fill a book. I would be overwhelmed by all the things I had to consider. What would they eat? How would their kitchen counter look like? What would the pictures on their walls show? Nope, too much work.
Then I discovered non-fiction. First, through self-help books and then through books about the environment. Which got me thinking. I am an environmental management student. Why not write a book about that? I began to research a little and quickly settled with climate change as a topic. Far too broad. I read loads of scientific papers and decided it should be about the social aspects of climate change. Analyses of feminism, media representation of climate change included. Now that’s a topic I can work with. I wrote a bit and I read a bit and now suddenly it’s 12 000 words. This is going well.

The only problem: I’m a little bit overwhelmed by the dimensions of this project. The more I read the less I know. I am painfully aware of my ignorance and my following ancient concepts of society. I have to step past the rules and read everything I can get my hands on to be able to be a decent human being in writing about this.

This project gives me life, it gives me hope, and it gives me a purpose (why also keeping me putting words on a page every day).

Also I would like to give a huge thanks to the lovely women who commented on my post on feminism (https://verenacave.wordpress.com/2016/11/08/intersectionality-and-feminism/)

https://scribbledstories514.wordpress.com/
https://sammarshihab.wordpress.com/
https://tuneinfeminism.wordpress.com/

Thank you so much for you kind words, they really gave me back some energy to write on and to use my voice.

If you would like to point out any issues or questions I need to include in my book, please tell me! I would love to discuss them with you!

International Women’s Day


womens day

Happy #internationalwomensday!!! 💐🌹🌷 A day to remind us of the progress women have made and the long way we still have to go.
Here is to all women – you are strong, you are intelligent, you are creative, you are capable, you are beautiful, you are gorgeous, you are loved.  ❤

My gallery of amazing women is growing, whom should I paint next?
@adele @michelleobama @malalafund