31.10.: let’s get overwhelmed: 2 radars, 2 art trips, un/noticed advice, light shadows, and: not really next station


„In the first weeks, you will be overwhelmed. And that’s a good thing.“

That’s what one of our tutors stated at the introduction day of the art academy. That was 3 weeks ago. And since then, every week has a different, full and multifaceted vibe. Right now, I work with several daily creative challenges / practises, to experiment and learn. There are the aquarelle sketches, the digital paintings, and there’s photography. Plus: there’s the 7 day black/white photo challenge.

In contrast to my own art/work, there are the art sessions, visiting exhibitions, and generally paying more attention to the perspectives new places hold. Like the unplanned, stunning moment above – looking up, and seeing a curl of multicolored October leaves right above me. All the things that are there, if only we noticed… 🙂

Here’s a collage/screenshot from my Instagram account, and it’s symbolic in various ways:

„Think of it as developing 2 radars“, another tutor suggested. „One for all the art that you see, and one for your own inner space, your art/work.“

And so, each day currently has this touch of inner/outer journey. Even more so, when it’s connected to a real trip. Like this week, when I took the s-train to Stuttgart, to join an exhbition to the “Wagenhallen”. It’s a container / art / atelier place. I have never been there. And learned about a new eco ticket while figuring out the route to take – one of the good side effects of going to new places.

In the train, this sign for the upcoming next station felt like the sign for these days: „Nächste Station:“

Here a few of the „next stations“, the ones that stood out for me:

The Wagenhallen, it’s a real building with artist studios, which is currently under reconstruction. So the artists suggested to move into temporary housing: containers, in a self-organized settlement on the area. There are now about 50 different  artists / musicians / creatives of all types working there. 

Our tutor has his atelier/container  there, too, and wanted us to see the place, and meet one of the resident artists: Gabriela Oberkofler is rather established already, and grew up on an  Austrian alp farm, an “Alm”. Her work is about human life / nature life  balance. It was so inspiring to meet her, and learn from her. Here’s her website with photos from her temporary home – which is much more than a container.
She created a work/meet/studio/place with alp farm touch, chicks included.

One of our group asked her how she finds the energy for all this, for her work and her projects and organizing art meet-ups and all. Our
advice for us was:

„Find the theme that you really care about, and stand for, the theme you want to explore and express in your art. And then, for times, give  it all you got. And at the same time, find the people who can support you, and learn  to apply for funding, to get organized. Half your work as arist will be about organizing.“


A next station: the photo course

The photo class yesterday was more like a lecture this time, about a season of photography, focusing on American photographers who influenced the way of taking photos: Robert Frank, Diane Arbus, Ed Ruscha, Stephen Shore…

Their focus was on documenting everyday life, moments encountered on the street or on the road, without the motivation to change society, but simply to see and admire life in all its facets. I hadn’t known this, but there are youtube channels of people who just browse  through books, they call it „Have a nice book“, and it works really well with a beamer. Here’s „Uncommmon Places“.

Another next station: aquarelle practice

Some days ago, I bought a new aquarelle brush, and tried it with a rabbit aquarelle, to find: yes, it really makes a difference. Plus, it was a day of good flow. And so the rabbit currently is my insta post with the most likes. There were also some aquarelles that didn’t work out, but that is part of learning.  


Photo Biennale 

The week also brought a special highlight: there’s a photo biennale happening right now, and we went to visit it on Saturday. The biennale consists of 8 exhibitions in 3 cities (Mannheim + Heidelberg + Ludwigshafen), with different themes.

Some works are really playful, experimenting with the medium photography – one was an  installation from Olafur Eliasson, a set of lights, and when the visitor walk through the room, it creates multi-shadows on the wall:


Others were political, about the current migration/refugee situation. And some were really old, from photo archives. Like, when they experimented with night sky star maps, in 1903.  Another one was a project with family photo albums from workers who migrated to Germany in the 60ies. And there were new experiments, like Barbara Probst’s  work from her „Exposure“ series: simultanous photos of a scene from different perspectives:

Every building on sunet strip“ from ’66. A work we had just talked about in the photo class, not knowing it would be presented at the Biennale. I put a youtube clip together with impressions:


Actually, not really next stations  

Of course, there are all the other ongoing things, too – my freelance web work, my friends, my qui gong class, going for walks, the usual household chores etc etc. It’s a lot, and yes, it’s to some degree overwhelming, but it also is a precious phase, a time of new perspectives and encounters, and of different priorities. And the overlap of themes creates a different, larger flow. Actually, it’s not really „next station – next station..“, but more a weaving of web of themes, a long, ongoing and interconnected process of art themes, own work, exchanges, not single art times. 


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