Keep the adventures coming

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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).

Dear Readers,

Ever since I wrote my last letter I was curious about what I will write here. How would I fare, how are the others faring, what will they write and what experiences has everyone had in the meantime? Looking back over the letters, I read everyone's struggles and also how everyone grows, even though we ourselves may not immediately see it.

Based on what we call "failure," we learn to set our limits to shape our artistry

We write about failure, searching for balance and fatigue. That we have to sacrifice our precious studio time to side jobs and cross our limits to live and meet the expectations of this society. Based on what we call "failure," we learn to set our limits to shape our artistry. Between the lines of failure, actually learning moments, we have all made strides in our development. Both personally and in our practices. Above all, what I see are courageous artists, constantly seeking motivation and time to keep going. It takes a form of vulnerability, to dare to surrender to what fills your heart, regardless of whether the outcomes are "successful. Because in my mind, anything you do that energizes you and puts love into is a step forward in our artist's journey. Even if it does not meet the expectations of others.

Time is teaching me to have fewer expectations and to feel less pressure to live up to those of others. I was "expected" to start a program at the GGZ last May, I am still waiting. That says something about the general mental health of the Netherlands. Meanwhile, I am working on my recovery and doing better and better on my own. Maybe slowing down should be encouraged more instead of "time is money. I prefer to praise the people who follow their dreams and hearts rather than the zeros before the comma in the bank account. Why can't we do what gives us energy, is good for our health and development, or contribute something to this society without the role of money? After all, you can't buy a warm and sincere heart.

Perhaps slowing down should be encouraged more instead of 'time is money'

That waiting list keeps me very much from applying for Open Calls, apprenticeship programs and residencies. Several times I wrote cover letters, and made attempts to rewrite my Artist Statement. I can't get out of my words and keep writing until I totally lose the thread instead of getting closer to the point. My recovery is sapping my energy and I still have little time for art. I had started a series of drawings of memories with precious moments of my father and me. Because of the emotional charge, I am barely making any progress with this because I don't have the time and especially the space. This is painful because art is my safe space. Sometimes my patience is tested to maintain balance and not get all caught up in energizers right away. In any case, clearly no lack of motivation.

Art is my safe space

As you read this, I am in Cape Verde. I will be joining The Artist Way Initiative Festival (TAWI), organized by Naomi King. We will be working with international and local artists to paint the walls of a school and add color to the environment. There will also be a cultural education program with workshops for the students, and art will be used to connect the community. The power of art is indescribable.

The power of art is indescribable

Since my internship with Naomi, I sometimes help with murals. And as with my participation in the Open Call from my previous letter, at such times I feel that this is where my heart lies. I enjoy it and it gives me strength to continue. In addition to TAWI, I have a few more fun projects lined up. I am grateful to those who give me these opportunities to grow at my pace. Keep those adventures coming!

What are your tips for rewriting your Artist Statement?

I look forward to receiving your responses via


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