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In this section, six young visual artists who graduated from an art school in the Netherlands in 2021 write letters to each other telling how starting their lives as visual artists is going for them and what they are working on. Taking turns, one of the six artists writes to the others what is on his or her mind. The artists who participate in this column are: Lauren Raaijmakers (WdKA graduate), Leonie Fernhout (WdKA), Jelle van Kuilenburg (ArtEZ), Repelsteeltje (WdKA), Hannah Meijer (HKU) and Loes van Reijmersdal (St. Joost).

Rotterdam, Aug. 14, 2022 

Dear Reader, 

a second letter, I must honestly say that I started this later than I would have liked. If I don't keep up with my schedule, I drop stitches. Then perfectionism starts to gnaw at me; that I'm not doing it all right. But I am in a learning process not to dwell too long on the things that don't go right in my eyes. Many things are also going well. What's going well is that I'm doing more and more my flow find. After working three days at my part-time job, I can let go of that on Thursdays and focus on my art practice. A motto I often repeat to myself is, step by step. What goal do I have right now? And how can I break it down into steps? 

When I am in my flow, many ideas come up, old and new. Immediately I want to make everything at once, but of course that doesn't work. I try to keep myself calm by writing it down and planning it. As I write about this, I realize that the past few weeks I have been in more of a summer vacation mode. I still have to get used to "real" life, without long summer vacations. How many weeks can we now allow ourselves to do nothing and be social for a while? 

What goal do I have now? And how can I break it down into steps?

After everyone had written their first letters, we were invited by Xandra, Kamiel and Laurien to a barbecue at foundation B.a.d in Rotterdam. This was a fun, familiar and inspiring evening. It is nice to hear that everything we experience and feel as beginning artists is part of it. Kamiel told me that the most important thing you can do as an artist is to keep creating. I think back to this advice regularly, especially when my fear of failure plays up. 

Speaking of fear of failure and failure, in this I find that I am moving forward in small steps. I participated for the second time in the open call for Kunstpodium-T and unfortunately I was rejected again. Of course I found that very unfortunate, because this seemed like an interesting place where I could develop myself even further. Nevertheless, I made an attempt and received interesting feedback. For this open call, I learned to ask for help from various people to get feedback on my portfolio. So from this experience I learned new things, from which I get a lot of motivation. Meanwhile, I have already applied for the Bcademy, which also seems like a cool opportunity for me to continue growing, failing and learning. 

The most important thing you can do as an artist is to keep creating

For the past few weeks I have been less in my studio for a while; as I mentioned, I have been in vacation mode. This does not mean that I have been sitting still. I went to a number of openings of exhibitions in Rotterdam, where I met former fellow students and met new people. I also ran into Jeroen Arians, whom I had previously met at the House of Photography. We have talked a lot since then. I would like to thank him for the many tips and advice he gives me. One such tip is that it doesn't matter if you don't think your portfolio is good enough yet. What matters is that people already get something from you and that you get feedback on what you are showing now. 

I also worked on various projects and ideas. Here failure also came up plenty and I even had an "accidental" water fest in my studio once. I am beginning to see more and more the positive of failure and it is a sign to me that I am not sitting still. In the project I'm working on now, this is still my starting point 'making and failing'. Where this will take me I leave to the process. 

I would like to close this letter with the following question to you, dear reader: how do you deal with failure? 

Warm greetings, 


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