Honoring the Leftovers

Welcome to July!

With all the fresh produce and food this time of year offers, I’d like to share the story behind one of my creativity workshops, Color Food Fun.

As an artist and a mother, I take a lot of inspiration from my kids’ playfulness, curiosity and their willingness to try out new things. When my son was learning about the different aspects of food production in school, I offered to give a workshop on food waste reduction. As some of you may know, I love an opportunity to improvise! Why not see how children could learn about the political aspects of food using leftovers?

 I asked parents to send their child to school with a cutting board and one ‘leftover’ food item from the fridge. In a sense, it was going to be an experiment about how we can change our relationship to food. And what better group than kids with little or no experience with cooking!

As an interdisciplinary artist, process and connections are a major theme in my work. I wanted the children to spend time with whatever they brought and form a connection through making drawings of their carrot, tomato or cabbage.

It became so personal for each child, like a poetic act of honoring the food.

After cutting out their drawings, they made a big collage together – grouping colors, types of food and possible relationships. The food became little islands of ‘players’. I was so thrilled to see their excitement and joy as they formed cooking groups based on the organization of the collage. I stood back and let them be the creators unless they needed help.

The energetic community of these young chefs was so beautiful to watch!

At the end, we shared in this delicious and unexpected buffet. The kids wanted to taste everything which is unusual because children can be quite picky. Food became an exciting adventure in how to look at it, how to serve it and how to taste it.

Afterwards, parents called to tell me how much fun their child had and how it had triggered a lot of reflection about food. The political aspect had been felt through the different processes, subtly woven into the experience.

I took what I had learned from the workshop and brought it back to my office. Once a month, I asked my colleagues to bring in one food item or leftovers from home. I then created a big lunchtime communal meal. As we ate, people would try and guess which part of the meal incorporated their special ingredient. Instead of the usual lunch of grabbing take out and eating at their desks, we became an engaged group sharing food together.

I’d love to invite you to do this with your children and friends. Plan a dinner party where everyone brings something and co-create a meal together. Set the table and welcome in a spontaneous creative atmosphere. It may feel a bit strange to put the recipes and planning aside, but as the kids taught me, isn’t that part of the fun?

Happy experimenting!

Ines

Powerful Women: making the invisible visible

Happy Summer Solstice!

I hope you’re enjoying time with friends and feeling ready to explore the world as it continues to reopen. I’m busy putting together the final preparations for my upcoming exhibition, Fluss Frauen Farben. Bilder einer Ausstellung, in Drosendorf, Austria. Please come join me for the opening on July 17th starting at 6pm at the Strandbad Drosendorf .

The exhibition runs until August 8th with several other installations throughout the town square. I’m also excited to share that I’ve created a new artist book for this occasion entitled Fluss Frauen Farben (River Women Colors). For this publication three central women – Anna Soucek, Mella Waldstein and Vesna – have written and contributed texts that accompany and enliven my photographs. They live in or always return to this beautiful region in Austria and I had the special honor of making portraits of them last summer.

As part of Fluss Frauen Farben. Bilder einer Ausstellung, I will be sharing portraiture of some of the fascinating women living in or visiting the area of Drosendorf and so I felt inspired to share more about my process working with women to create empowering photography.

My journey started after I kept meeting incredible women and then would look them up on the web to learn more abut their work and professional life. Over and over, I found images that I felt didn’t really represent them as the complex women I knew them to be. I realized I could support women to take their images back into their own hands.

As our online presence becomes the standard, it’s a space we have to claim.

I believe the older we become as women, the more we have to share. And honestly, I find the invisibility of women in the professional sphere frustrating. I want to create a safe atmosphere that respects which aspects of you that you want to be seen. We can then co-create together a series of portraits that celebrate you both as a professional and powerful authentic woman.

And believe me, I know this is a delicate space. Often, we’re told as women to use images that show us as young, cute and part of a beauty standard. What I’ve found is there is something so much more. Portraiture is a space where we can reflect back to the world what we’ve lived through both personally and professionally.

It’s the journey of taking the invisible and making it visible.

One of my first clients had a lot of images online, but I felt that her existing pictures didn’t truly represent her. We worked together to create a series of portraits for her website and personal branding photography. We discussed her fears, her vision and her specific needs and decided on using several locations to play with. After developing the negatives and sharing the portraits with her, she told me she felt seen for the first time in her life!

We had created images of her that reflected her personal inner strength and related to her professional identity. What a joy to share in this moment with her!

If you’d like to learn more about how we can work together, please contact me. I would also love to hear from you if you plan to meet me in Drosendorf or are interested in ordering a copy of Fluss Frauen Farben.

Wishing you an inspiring summer!

Ines

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scent Soup: the power of unusual connections

Spring is in full bloom! 

With the scent of lilacs, peonies and lavender in the air, I hope you’re taking some time to enjoy these warm longer days. I want this to be a space of sharing, so I thought this is the perfect time of year to celebrate how the connections between the senses became integral to my art. We’ll travel back to when I was an art student, visiting a seaside garden in France, deep in May, the plants in full blossom, the bees heavy with pollen. I wanted to photograph and film the plant’s interactions with one another. For me, connections and relationships are essential in making art and the flowers were the perfect subjects for portraiture and composition. 

Upon returning to Paris, by some strange synchronicity, I found a Vietnamese restaurant called Fleurs de mai. Reminded of the seaside garden, I walked in and was immediately immersed in this deep scent saturating the space. It took many return visits to try and identify the layers of the scent such as different algae, mushrooms and herbs. Finally, I created a recipe for a ‘scent soup’ that invoked the restaurant. I wondered what would occur through combining the flower visuals with the restaurant’s strong unrelated scent. In a room at the Art Academy, I cooked the ‘scent soup’ for hours until its vapors permeated the room. 

As people entered, I projected the images from the lush seaside garden. Sound became another layer as I stirred and moved objects around in a spontaneous performance piece. 

Later, people that had attended told me that when they saw some of the particular flowers from the film in real life, they smelled the scent of the soup! 

I realized I had created a totally new relationship that provoked images and memories.

The richer a sensory experience –  when your eyes, ears, nose and taste are all stimulated- the more the encounter inscribes itself upon you. 

I started to look at how scent relates to color. I liked the idea of using color as a common connection between people because everyone relates to color and feels safe when talking about color. As one of my art workshops at a food art week, Color Correspondence became a space to practice paying attention to what happens when we make unusual connections between the senses. What an incredible experience! Combining color with scent invoked emotions, stories, memories and images within the group. Together we discovered this creative personal space that triggered so much play and exploration. 

Usually when people think of unusual connections between the senses, the word synesthesia comes up. We think of it as a mysterious condition reserved for geniuses or famous musicians that ‘hear’ colors. We assume we don’t have access to these deeply rich and complex sensory experiences. As an artist, I was reluctant to use the word in relation to my work for its overly hyped reputation. But then I read The Superhuman Mind by Berit Brogaard and Kristian Marlow, a book that describes this phenomenon in scientific terms. Of course, it’s still a poetic concept but also about using the senses to stimulate the different areas of your brain in order to make lasting connections. 

Through the senses, we all have access to changing how we perceive and memorize the world. 

I had found the science behind what I’d already experienced with my art and creativity workshops. This sensory work can even be a part of memorizing techniques or learning new skills. By including as many senses as possible, memory capacity is enhanced and you can train the brain through practice and use. Your perception of the world changes. 

Each experience is its own story made up of what we see, taste, smell, hear and touch. As an interdisciplinary artist, my passion is in separating out each sensory layer and then recombining them to create new ways of experiencing ourselves and the world around us. I invite you to take some time during these sunny days as the world begins to reopen to get curious about your sensory experiences – play, connect and discover.

Opening the Tomb: sharing stories about my art

Hello there. 

As a visual artist I am used to sharing projects with the public once they are finished. But for me, the fun has always been in the ‘making of’ – colored with encounters, coincidences and the interplay of different mediums and perspectives. Unfortunately, all these background stories were often discarded as anecdotal – summed up by academics and abstract analysis. This made me feel like I was dropping dead objects into a tomb when updating my former website. The people I cared about connecting with couldn’t understand what my work as an artist truly meant. 

I decided that I wanted more.

textures of body positive photography  

And so, I have created this new website as a space where I can share stories about my artistic process in a more accessible way. It is my deep wish to create more of an exchange as I create new works with new and old clients, friends and collaborators – instead of only presenting my finished works to a formal audience. For me this blog is not a platform but rather a place to share stories about the processes behind my artistic journeys.

I have always loved to talk about my work but dreaded writing about it. When you speak with someone in real time it often includes all the juiciness I loved about the processes behind the work but often the written text merely summed up the content itself and fell short of the original, thrilling experience. It’s in the oral storytelling where curiosity and discovery truly live-  through its encounters and shared experiences. I know this through my work with artists, scientists and others in projects, workshops and collaborations. These are the spaces where I’ve truly enjoyed sharing my deeper insights and skills.

women laughing

Whether it’s through empowering photography or one of my creativity workshops, I want to offer my services and create new work and experiences with you! I hope that we can co create together, exchange ideas and find inspiration in an open honest dialogue. 

Welcome to my new art playground – I look forward to meeting you here!

lemon whale soap drawing