One of the things about growing up at a time when those around you were creating and producing things - or repairing things - is the inner self confidence that came with believing you can achieve almost anything if you put your mind to it – the “Yes You Can” mindset. Nothing flamboyant, just a quiet confidence that re-enforces a sense of purpose, our sense of self worth.
I was lucky to grow up at such a time in my country of birth, Romania where, until 1989, our President had a simple mantra for our country – “If we need it, we make it” – and we really did, the list of what we made ourselves was simply amazing - cars, trains, aeroplanes, tractors, farm machinery, oil and gas extraction and refining plants, all our food needs and the fertilisers to help them grow, our excellent, undervalued, wines from the diverse micro-climates of Romania, our sea and Danube River port activities, our winter sports resorts high in the mountains, the same but sea and sand on our Black Sea coast, and all the activities in our two world heritage areas, the Danube Delta and the wilderness of the Carpathian mountains, and much much more, activities that led to Romania being a debt free country at the time of Ceausescu's death. 30 years later, corruption and EU standards setting means most of it has gone - along with the feeling of pride, of self worth and sense of community purpose - leaving an inner emptiness that expresses itself in unhappy ways.
I am completely sure that at all times, especially at times of change, the “Yes You Can” mindset helps us to build a habit of seizing opportunities and facing down challenges. But this mindset comes with practice, with experimentation, with sorting out failures and with hard worked-for successes. So, not unexpectedly, behind the scenes of my life as a dedicated painter and promoter of the creative alchemy system, I am a worker bee - just for example:
- Searches for new surfaces to paint-on lead me to discover an excellent way to digitally transfer reproductions of my paintings onto the unused surfaces of classic bag architectures, in so doing challenging and proving wrong the thought that women will not be attracted to colourful, story-telling bags that resonate with their emotions. This particular experiment has now taken on a life of its own, with my husband and practice partner leading our next steps;
- Wanting to publish my own wellbeing ideas I taught myself how to do all the creative and digital tasks needed to self-publish creativity work-books – with my experimental video channel now adding a new dimension as to how to get my messages out and about - and so much more, just like the former output of Romania, the list amazes even me.
- The ability of the natural world to heal lead me to draw on our earlier career experiences in Africa - so we experiment and sell to enthusiastic new customers new formulations of plant materials, plant extracts, colourations and infusions of fascinating provenance - in the form of natural soap bars and natural skin care creams;
The point is that experimenting with making things builds self-confidence even while not knowing what the new activity might lead to. The self-confidence, sense of purpose and self worth that all this has delivered to an isolated arts practice like ours has been more than really important.
So, if you have the urge to invent or to make something please do get in touch if you would like a mentor or coach or someone to help you to challenge the previously unchallenged. It will be fun. Facing up to new challenges has that affect, doing it as a group of eager creators and visual artist makers even more so.
@2020 corina stupu thomas