Failing gently


Saying you are an artist, is a strange thing.

I always wanted to be an artist, but I discovered I didn't know what that word means. When I was a student I thought being an artist meant you were somehow more special than other people, but that really isn't true. In a way, it's much simpler than that. It is just about doing things. Like Brel said: "Le talent, c'est avoir envie de faire quelque chose..."

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In the past, I have mainly been focusing on visual arts. I made drawings and illustration, worked on comics and got involved in a project doing live animated graphics at events. Lately, I've been doing some photography as well.

For the last six years, I also started dancing. Argentine Tango.

These two things are now the main pumpumpums around which everything I do seems to revolve. They also form the basis from which I explore other things. Through dance, I got interested in music (for which I seem to have very little talent) and somatics (movement practices and bodywork). Drawing lead to an interest in graphic design and typography, calligraphy and asemic writing. Also, I'm always keen to learn what's going on in the worlds of generative design, digital art, coding and glitch.

I have to admit, tho' that I find it very hard to focus on one thing. Whenever I try and do that, I get distracted or lose heart. It seems as if I can't figure out what it is exactly I'm supposed to be doing. And in the past, I always thought this was a problem and it made me doubt myself and quit what I was trying to accomplish.

You see, I am not some young, up-coming artist. I am 47. I probably should have figured out what I am supposed to be doing by now, but I didn't. And maybe I never will. 

What I did figure out is this: in stead of wasting time worrying how to succeed, and failing miserably at that, I might just as well fail gently: do stuff that might not go anywhere but seems interesting. Play around. Explore dead ends and run around in circles. Just do things and make stuff and show it to people. 

Do it daily, and keep doing it. And maybe that is enough. Maybe that is all that's needed. To connect.




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I'm an artist, I'm looking for you....

Art, to me, is an opportunity to connect. That is all there is to it. I look at the world, and I look at myself and I report back on what I have seen and what I think and feel. 

I'm not really sure what it takes to make a connection with people. That's one of the things i am here to find out...

There is, however, one thing I learned from dancing tango which I think applies to all other forms of art as well. 

Argentine tango is a social dance; it is not really meant to be a performance. Of course, there are tango-demonstrations and even championships and there is something called "tango enscenario" which is a performance on stage. But the real tango, the tango that is danced by people worldwide in "milongas" (= tango salons) is not for the benefit of the spectator, but solely for the dancers themselves. It is not staged or rehearsed but completely improvised. And although there is a so-called "leader" and "follower", in reality both are equally responsible for the dance. It is a true collaboration.

I believe this is how all art should be. In order to connect to people, an artist should abandon the idea of an audience. Instead, all art should be a collaboration in which it is the artists responsibility to give people something they can work with or react to. Art is not there to make the artist look good, or the audience look sophisticated. It is not my job as an artist to figure out what the audience would like, but rather what it can use. I am not here to please, but to entice. 

As a visual artist, I am looking for you. I am here to share what I have seen. And I am looking for you, to find you, to connect...

In this, I am probably going to fail as well. Fail often and repeatedly. But hopefully, fail gently...

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