Being an Artist in Times of Turmoil


My Peace Art Print can be found here, the original sculpted painting can be found here, and the greeting card can be found here.

 



2016 has not been a good year. So many sad and bad things happened this year, it seems like it might just coagulate into a super villain. Of course, positivity requires that one look to the good things, and like any year, 2016 brought about good things as well, to be sure.
But however you spin it, for a large part of the world, this year brought a lot of sadness, heartache and fear.
There is the ongoing war in Syria which is still causing tens of thousands of people to have to flee their homes, there was Brexit in the UK, the election of Donald Trump in the US (and no matter how you personally feel about these political events, it’s undeniable that they brought about and will still come to bring about lots of negative things for lots of people), there were mass shootings and terrorist attacks and then there is the slew of iconic celebrities that passed away this year, David Bowie, Prince, Alan Rickman, Muhammad Ali, to name a few. (Nooooo, Snape! :'-(  )

Especially this past week and a half I felt a lot of sorrow for the world and felt enormous doubt about my place in it, always realising how lucky and priviliged I am. I worry very much for the future, the future of my own country, where we’ll be having general elections in March and the leader of our party that thrives on fear and hate for ‘the other’ is crowing his delight at all these happenings on the global political stage. And I worry for the world at large. Hate seems to be winning out on so many fronts. Compassion is lacking in so many places. And so many people are in fear for their very lives in a day and age and in places in the world, where this really shouldn’t be the case anymore.
The past few days I have thought a lot about what I want from the future, shared tears with friends, had lots of talks about what it means to live in this world in this day and age, and I came to some conclusions.
For myself I made some plans for the long-term future that will take a while to achieve, some plans for the more immediate future that should help me with the long-term ones and also some resolutions for the now that passes every day. I’ve thought about what all these events mean to me and how I should vote when the time comes here in the Netherlands.

But those plans for the now is what I want to talk to you about.
As I’m sure lots of you who are creative can share in this feeling, I’ve felt silly about myself in this past week and a half. What do I even contribute to the world? All I do is make some things that some people find pretty and sell them and try to make a very small living.
Shouldn’t I be doing more, I thought. People will be in such hardship the coming years, activism and real fight is what is needed, I thought.
How do I do that without giving up my own dreams for myself while I only just recently found out what they even all are. When my own dreams include contributing to a better future but their results are far less immediate and far more subtle than what I feel is needed now.
Even having these dreams and possibly being able to act on them and trying to make them reality was not always a given in my life. I grew up in a very low income home, a twice broken home that became abusive and violent to the point where my younger sister and I fled the house to escape. Higher education and university was hard for me because I had a lot of extra stress to deal with because of my family situation, on top of which my dad died which brought about even more tears. Financially it sure wasn’t a picnic either.
Even though these things were happening in my teens and early twenties, and I’ve been away from those situations for a while, I still don’t take for granted the life I have now.
Which brings me to the dilemma this year has brought. Is working to achieve my own dreams a final break from and rebellion against my past? Or is it, as it feels this week, selfish, because there are so many people in the world who have it so much worse, and direct involvement is still very necessary, so working on art is actually as frivolous as it feels right now?
To be honest, I don’t have an answer. And I don’t expect to have one any time soon.

But, then I had a conversation with an arty friend and one of her arty friends joined in. They were expressing the same feelings. The feeling of inadequacy, of it never being even nearly enough, whatever good you try to do. And then, one of them said that for now, she was making do with sending her art out randomly to brighten someone’s day.
And then I knew what I could do as a small little thing to make the world just a teeny bit brighter right now. Just even for this week alone.

What I am doing this week is this: every day this week I am giving away a small piece of my art via my Facebook page. Small in size so that I can afford the postage that is so high in my country.
I am asking you all to tell me who you know that should get this piece of art. I want you to tell me why you want this person to get this piece that I made with my hands and is the only thing I can offer right now to just make someone’s day or even week a little brighter.
Do you have a friend who’s just gone through an awful divorce? A mother who’s been battling cancer this year? A sister who has lost her job and can’t afford to buy Christmas presents this year, let alone a colourful treat for herself?
Let me know in the comments of my Facebook posts each day. Every day I will pick someone from these stories and in the next day’s post ask them (or probably the person that recommended them) to message me their address so I can send them a little colour in these last bleak days of this year that has been so sad for so many.

You can find my Facebook page here.

PS. Should anyone be wanting to help me in this endeavour by donating towards the postage fund, check out my shop and buy some goodies for yourself or as Yule presents, or send some cash to my PayPal account deidregubbels@hotmail.com
PPS. Check out the artist pages of these awesome ladies: Sarah from Wonderstrumpet and Amber from Amber Leilani Design who are wonderful, talented artists with beautiful hearts who gave me this idea. And Jen from Jennifer Scutt Artwork who donated to my postage fund for this endeavour.

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