One of my first lessons as an artist was to understand that I had the choice - to either sit in the dark and wait for someone to find me, or to get up, and stand up for my art - thus myself. Even if my heart felt like popping out of my mouth at any second. I inhaled with presence, exhaled, and learned to enter a state of being, that gave me the power and confidence in situations of more exposure. With time I lovingly called it my “output mode” - and to be clear, right from the start, it’s not one of those hidden masks or personalities. I haven’t been playing any tricks. But in all this process of diving into myself, I learned that I have two sides. One more extroverted, able to stand up for anything, to flirt and engage into conversations with strangers, to smile - one of those big warm smiles - just to break all the ice that surrounds me in whatever situation I am in. My other part is the more introverted artist. The one that needs some space to appreciate silence, to glance at the horizon, to watch the movement of the water leaving lines on the shore, the clouds passing by so smoothly and yet so surely. The observer. It’s what I like to call the “input mode”. To absorb, to then being able to output. If it is through an artistic expression or through external communication.
During decades (or maybe even more) we have built the idea that masks are negative distortions of who we are - or of who we show ourselves to be. But as a person who likes to see both sides of a coin before taking any sides, I learned to recognise that we all have dualities. And instead of letting ourselves be taken by them or using them in negative ways - and somehow losing our own essence in that process - I have learned to acknowledge and embrace these parts of me - and turn them into daily choices - and tools. I am aware (and getting more aware every day) of the masks I hold in my hand - and I feel (a total intuitive process) of the right moment for each. It becomes a daily gamification in which I can always embrace both of them - which are truly part of me. It’s about reading the moment, the environment, hearing my heart - and then putting myself - at any time - into in or output mode. My “in" or “out” mask.
And how has that helped me with my art and business?
It helps me to stand up from the chair I’m sitting in, to actively make the choice of living from my art and choosing to put myself out there in order to do so. This requires a true opening of ones self. Because I do see art as the reflex and expression of ones intimacy. It’s about giving yourself entirely in to the process. It’s about vulnerability. And braveness. And yes, ‘till today, there are times in which I’m not feeling brave enough to do so, so I just gamify my experience right from the start, by saying (sometimes out loud), “hey “kaju” let’s go out to play tonight.” And this makes me grow my own confidence and believe it’s possible - before expecting that of anyone else. It makes me knock on peoples doors, build up partnerships, networks and credibility in the market.
The gamification of the masks gives me the motivation to move forward.
To break barriers.
To brake limitations.
As simple as that.
ps: if you by any chance get to know me on an output mode - don’t be scared the day you see me in input mode. I’m not playing the mysterious lady, or even hiding anything. I’m just absorbing to then being able to focus on a true overflow.
What are the masks you have in hand?
Authenticity is the equivalent to undressing in front of a crowd. It means to be open, to be vulnerable, to know and really show yourself. Who you are, who you were born to be.
I’m sorry to say that an idea is worth nothing, until you grab it by its tale - or head - and start designing it. You can write it down, you can draw, you can call a friend, you can start working on the connections between your idea and the actual development of that idea.
Our environment encourages conformity and control - two concepts I perceive as prisons. We become afraid of letting ourselves loose. The fear that kills our freedom of expression and creativity, once we start telling ourselves “I can’t” “I don’t dare” “what will people think of me?” I am breaking free of this.