Art & Environment: A Sense of Place

I woke up very early this morning, so I thought it would be wise to use the extra time to do some research on possible future work developments. Things still haven’t completely unraveled in my mind but there is a glimpse of direction coming through. I find that I am very fascinated with the relationship in between humans and nature. How humans influence and manipulate nature and how nature fights to get back what is hers. There are several directions I would like to experiment with in the near future. They might or might not relate to each other. But even if they don’t, I think it can be very interesting to juxtapose the objects, since the topic of human and nature is very diverse and controversial in itself and it can be seen from a lot of different angles.

During my research this morning, I stumbled over a very recent blog-post of a fellow jeweller friend, Melissa Cameron, and I thought it would be great to share her post ‘A Meditation on Place’. The post features a video called: ‘Conversations about Contemporary Jewellery: Locating Place’.

As you might know, the influence of place plays a big role in my work and I can relate very well with what is being said in the interviews. Being born in Germany, having studied in the UK, having worked in Shanghai, China and now living in the USA has filled my mind with the strangest habits, cultures and influences, which can clearly be seen in my different bodies of work. Still, sometimes it is hard to find the self in it all, especially (as mentioned in the video) in addition to the internet that offers the world on a fingertip. I do agree though that by the end of the day, the culture and influences of one’s upbringing and home country are the ones that take the lead in defining who one is and what one has to say. It is as Helen Britton mentions when she says that if she had to choose in between Germany and Australia, she would have to go with Australia. Living in a foreign country helps to get the needed distance and a new perspective on the home country. It helps to focus and the new influences of a foreign country can be a great addition to the creative thinking process. I am happy to be living in the USA but if one asked me to make a choice, I am not sure I could be without Germany. I find this relationship in between art and upbringing very fascinating. Those early years shape how we see, understand and read things and deep down, they influence it all.

Thank you for reading.

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Wave Structures & LoudLives

The birthday of a very close friend of mine is coming up and for that reason I decided to make her something special.

The current series of work that has been on and off going in my mind for the last year plus, is called ‘LoudLives‘. It all started off with a trigger project that spun around the exhibition outlines of the JAMES show, which was held in Munich at the same time as the Schmuck fair for four years until 2011. For the show ‘The JAMES Days‘, each artist created work based on daily life pictures that were sent to each other.

After I had made the pieces for JAMES, the essence of the concept stuck with me. I was intrigued by using imagery instead of my comfort-zone starting-point: words & headlines. Over the last couple of months, it became more and more clear to me that the real thing that intrigues me in the topic is its closeness to people. So far, most of my work has been based on facts, things that I see in my environment and I make my comments on them/digest them in my work. But now, it seems like I am looking for something that goes a little deeper, underneath the skin. It can be more personal but doesn’t have to be. It can be seen from my point of view but can be seen entirely different. I am intrigued to find which kind of response I will get on a piece, knowing my personal feelings about something/someone and other people being able to recognise their own experiences in it.

Anyway, I decided to get into this direction by making a small piece about my friend. There are several characteristics about her that I would like to show in the piece. She is a very deep character, she thinks a lot, is a little insecure but incredibly strong at the same time. She constantly keeps challenging herself, which is admirable but can sometimes get to a point close to self-destruction. Strength and vulnerability walk together on a very thin line.

Depth, pain, pride and blue are the first words that pop into my head when I think of her.

The main element of the piece will be inspired by the ocean, waves in particular. I started to make some research on waves and stumbled over this really beautiful website by Hawaii based photographer Clark Little. The pictures are amazing! It makes my wish to go and travel to Hawaii even bigger! Shanghai, why can’t you have waves and beaches??? Look at the structures of the waves! Aren’t they beautiful?

A year ago, shortly after the ‘The JAMES Days‘ exhibition, I made the first piece that is going in the direction of the ‘LoudLives’: ‘Flower Lady’

It is based on an old woman who sells flowers on the streets of Shanghai. She has been lurking in the corners of my mind for quite a while now and still is. She really triggered some sort of emotional quest that I am still trying to discover and find answers for.

As mentioned before, I want the ‘LoudLives‘ series to be about people. People who are close to me but also people seen from a distance. How do we interpret people and their behaviour? How and on which level do and can they touch us? How do we touch each other and how can it be expressed? How close do we have to be to each other and which differences does distance in closeness show us? Being in China also means embracing cultural differences, a topic that becomes more and more important with the world rapidly developing into a huge inter-cultural melting pot. It would be very interesting for me to see how people will behave and treat each other in 100, 200 years time, when cultures are even more mixed up.

I think it took me so long to really embrace this topic because I thought it might be a little boring to ‘talk’ about people from only my point of view, since I know that the impressions and experiences of the viewer will always differ from mine and they will never see things the way I do. Also, a lot of artists have worked with that starting point already. But then isn’t there a deep fascination in this concept as well, thinking about the realm of possibilities that one little thought can trigger in different people, although it started off on a very personal emotion?

Picasso kept painting the same women all over again… and the paintings still fulfill me with awe whenever I see them. Working with people might be an old concept but it is still endlessly full of discoveries. Let’s see how far it will take me!