I am happy to invite you to our extraordinary Studio4 in Friedrichshain to honor the awakening of nature and our spirits! Come to visit our studio exhibition, see the magic place where the creation happens and have a good chat about faraway worlds and revolutionary visions, or whatever inspires you!
WHEN: The exhibition: from Monday 21st March to Friday 25th March – 12h-18h Finissage event: Friday 25th March – 17h-21h
One year has gone by since the pandemic has narrowed our freedom of movement and connections. In this uncomfortable world situation, it is very easy to lose our motivation and don’t be able to see anymore all the small things that have always inspired our life path. So we have to keep our spirits up! And for this today I want to tell you the story of a wonderful project that is a symbol of courage, strength, and optimism. It is the project of the little traveling house of Discuvry.
The story of discuvry tiny house
My husband, Yukihiro Taguchi, and I built this tiny house at the beginning of 2013, on the occupied area in Cuvry Straße, called precisely Cuvry-Brache (Cuvry-Fallow), in Berlin, an empty lot that was for a long time the last free piece of land on the Spree’s riverside that managed to resist the big gentrification process. Building an illegal house in the center of a European capital just using scrap found wood and the strength of our hands? Yes, why not! That time I was a fresh graduated building engineer just arrived in Berlin, and just met the crazy and fearless Japanese artist that, years later, would have become my husband. And so the Discuvry project born, as a daring and optimistic mixture of what we could have done better and together.
The project moved from a combination of different factors:
the wish of creating a big art project able to generate a strong life-changing united to the desire to merge our art practice with the simple and essential sides of life;
a great interest in the spontaneous process of society development, free of conventions imposed by the contemporary civilization;
and, of course, the difficulty and limited possibility of renting an apartment in Berlin for artists and freelancers, especially stranger, summed to the increasing price of the house in the city for the strong and fast gentrification.
Every single piece of wood that compose our house was collected by us on the streets of Berlin, cut by hand with our Japanese saws, and assembled by hammer and nails. We didn’t imagine that our little house would have generated a chain reaction: many others started to build their own houses till the creation of a multicultural village with more than a hundred inhabitants! Our life was re-organized according to the resources and characteristics of the place: living in the middle of a capital city like Berlin without having home electricity and running water; sharing our space and our time because in Cuvry-Brache there were no borders.
We have lived there for 18 months, and this time, when our life and our art are inextricably linked, is documented by the stop-motion video created by Yukihiro.
In September 2014 a big fire was set in the camp and the illegal anarchic village was evicted.
But the happy end of our story is that we could dismantle and save our house as artwork and since then it has been the happiest and luckiest house, traveling and been exhibited around the world, from Germany to Denmark even up to Japan! None of us would have imagined that this small house, born in not the most favorable conditions, survived to the fire and bulldozers, would have such a long and adventurous life!
Moral of the story: don’t let the most difficult situations scare your passions and keep taking action to make your dreams come true. Action fuels motivation!
And now the great news!
Last year Discuvry house came back to Germany and waited for one year in Bochum to be built and lived again. And the time has come! The Discuvry project will stand again on the beautiful beach of Silbersee II, in Haltern am See, in the frame of the open-air public exhibition Ruhr Ding: Klima organized by Urbane Künste Ruhr, an institution for contemporary art in the Ruhr region.
Ruhr Ding: Klima will be open to the public from the 8th of May 2021, in the safeness and respect of all covid hygiene measures. Please visit us and our tiny artsy home on the beautiful lake in Haltern am See, and follow the project updates on Discuvry Instagram profile.
Art action during lockdown: Guerrilla art exhibition on Berlin’s trains.
It has been already one year since the world situation drastically changed due to the pandemic. In December 2020 the third and harder lockdown began in Germany, and it still going on, with a hope that the situation will get better with the coming of the beautiful season.
The art and culture scene in Berlin, as in the rest of the world, has been on hold for a year. We are all waiting for the situation to evolve and get better. I was placing a lot of effort on web networking because I thought it was the only way nowadays to keep creating networks. But that’s not true. I want my art to reach people in the real life.
Since galleries and museums are still closed, artists have to find other ways to reach people with art. After brainstorming with my partner and artist, Yukihiro Taguchi, something popped up in our minds: it was time to stop waiting and start to act! Why not using the public space? Why not simply carrying art around the city? And why not on the public trains and make train’s wagons our galleries? And that’s exactly what we did. So the idea of Kunst im Zug was born. The concept is very simple: guerrilla art exhibitions on trains.
On Sunday the 14th of February, the artists Yukihiro Taguchi, Marnie Feuerriegel, Linda Havenstein and I started the Kunst im Zug movement. There are no rules against bringing your art with you on the train, and the feedback from the people we met during the action was extraordinarily positive. Even the two young police officers we have met in a station in Kreuzberg had a good and warm reaction. So people, Kunst im Zug!
We repeat the action every Sunday in Berlin, and you can participate anytime just taking your art with you on the train, it doesn’t matter if we are not on the same wagon, or train, or city. Wherever you are, whatever art or design you are creating, join Kunst im Zug!
Visit Kunst im Zug Instagram to follow the movement and be updated on the next actions. I hope to meet you on the train, rolling art together!
My tips for surviving as a full-time artist and balancing productivity and self-time.
Art is a business. It is not just twinkles and colors, but also marketing, planning, production, selling, shipping, and all that stuff that may sound boring but still necessary.
As a full-time artist and the only person in my small business, I have learned, and keep learning, to extricate myself between the duty and the pleasure of this job. I thought about the possibility to have a gallery or an agent to care about all the bureaucracy and paperwork, leaving to me just the joy of pure creation. But I have chosen to deal personally with the people, managing by myself the production and the selling of my artwork. This because I want my art to remain accessible not only to a niche of wealthy collectors but to everyone who wishes to admire my works on the walls of their own houses. Day by day I roll up my sleeves and organize my time to administrate every aspect of my artist profession. And believe me, it is really easy when the boundary between job and passion is bland, ending to work seven days a week, 12 hours a day or more. But I am a lover of self-time, the time for rest and leisure. I cannot and do not want to give up on it. How do I manage it?
PLANNING, PLANNING, AND AGAIN, PLANNING!
Yes. Planning is the golden rule. A bit for my engineering studies, a bit perhaps for a personal predisposition, I admit that I enjoy creating to-do lists. Lists and plans, short and long term. I usually plan the year goals, the monthly ones, and every week I make a detailed plan for every day. Maniacal? Maybe, but this allows me to keep always at least one day of the week free for the necessary leisure. And as a day rule, no work after dinner! Also because, maybe for my Sicilian genes, after eating my belly steals all the energy to my brain.
GRATIFICATION AND REWARD: GET YOUR SPIRIT UP!
To keep the mood up, it is absolutely needful to gratify and reward yourself after the hard work, to remember the simple and beautiful things that are the purpose of our efforts. I don’t want to sound like an Italian cliche, but a good meal (even better if shared with the people we love) always remembers us that the essential is simple, and we are lucky to have it because it is not granted, even if we sometimes forget it. A nice warm bath or a long shower works just as well for me, face masks, body oils, and so on! Self-care and the exclusive me-time as a reward for the hard work.
MOVEMENT AND POWER: KEEP THE ENERGY HIGHT!
Sport and movement are also essential for me, although the Berlin winter makes me particularly lazy. But even just half an hour of physical activity or a little stretching in the morning before starting the day is enough to have more energy, and everything flows much more smoothly. Dancing? Everyday. Yes, I know, the world pandemic made clubs close and who knows when they will reopen. But that certainly can’t stop us from shaking the body. Dancing helps me to release negative vibes and replaces them with energy and happiness. I dance everywhere, walking on the street, in line at the supermarket, in the studio, at home alone. And of course, just to bring out another Italian cliché, I sing! And loudly! At home, in the shower, while working, in the park, on the bicycle. And after that, I’m feeling much better. Just try it!
That’s more or less how I try to survive as a full-time artist.
I hope you enjoyed my tips! And you? How do you manage to balance productivity and self-time? I would be really happy to read your thoughts about it.