Navigating the Art World:

When Does It Get Lonely?

26th of January, 2022. Berlin.

A few days ago, I was having coffee with S. We’re both currently in a phase of re-evaluating and re-defining what our artist careers shall look like in the coming years.

He asked me what my plan is for the next few months, a question that always gives me anxiety. But it’s an anxiety I have learned to deal with. I decided to stop letting it paralyzeme from taking any action and to just honestly share what point I'm currently in, even if I find myself at a very sucky stage.

I told him about all the work I’ve been doing on my website, about creating an Instagram account (you can read my blog post about this) and about planning to try all sorts of photography ideas and to eventually sell prints.

After happily listening to my plan, he advised me to try and imagine where the fine line between working independently and getting lonely would be. I did not give it much thought at that moment and I figured feeling lonely would be much further down the road.

However, today, just a couple of days later, that question suddenly made sense. I woke up, and for a reason I couldn’t really understand, demotivation and doubt were more intense than the excitement of working on anything.
Here I was, my mind confronting me with all sorts of doubts, entirely alone.

I wondered if I am approaching my photographic journey the right way, but  the feeling that I am not growing and advancing fast enough was more intense.

(right photo) Self-portrait taken on 26th of January, 2022.

It's today that I realized however that routine really is one of the best “shields” during such times. I still got out of bed, did my yoga, made my coffee, sat down and started reading my book about navigating the art world. 

Just this simple combination of activities has become a routine that I cherish. For once I push myself through all the morning doubts and make it to the table, the most difficult part is over. One step feels done, and I feel more capable of doing a few more steps.

My little book hits the perfect note today, fitting my mood entirely. Today’s chapter talks about hardships artists have to face, and that there is no reason to struggle alone or to keep it a secret. It talks about such struggles being universal, and that self-doubt is inevitable. Right now, that resonates with me very strongly.

And so, I want to remember this day in words. I want to remember that today I learned that it does get lonely.

It is today that I realized how nice it would be to have a close photographer friend I would execute the most spontaneous ideas with, or to be sharing a studio space with other artists or photographers.

I realized that there is a beauty in sharing the energy of creating, of trying out things, of experimenting together. These are realizations that are of significance for me, as I’d always been more of a lone-wolf kind of artist.

(left photo) Self-portrait taken on 26th of January, 20222.

Today, I am sharing this as a key point in my journey as an artist, which I will be happy to look back on, in a year or so. And maybe someone else reading this will relate and feel less alone in their journey?

There also comes a feeling of strength in sharing this. It makes me realize that the best I can do is to keep going, to keep experimenting, to keep giving it all I got.
This shall be the mantra guiding me through this journey.

I’m giving it all I’ve got.

And when I’m in doubt, or when my self-doubt is so loud that it makes me stop working, I will ask myself if this is me giving it all I’ve got. So far that has worked well for me.

So how did I give it all I got today, despite my self-doubt?
I realized that I’d been neglecting my love for taking self-portraits since a long time now. Today I felt that this would be the perfect remedy to the way I felt, and indeed it was.

I’d been seeing so many beautiful self-portraits other people make lately, and what I’d been feeling most is a certain burning in my chest, a pain over having abandoned this love of mine for so long.

(top photo) Self-portrait taken on 26th of January, 2022.

And so, today, I listened to my desire to restart this beautiful, healing practice, and to give it all I got. The realizations and feelings I’ve encountered while doing this deserve a whole post of their own… which will very soon be coming up!

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