Third life: 2001 – 2006

After my education at school and a short dive into psychology studies – which I lost any devotion for after only two semesters owing to the unexpected amount of statistics and mathematics – I began to do casual work. Since I could not decide what I wanted to be, I tried to become everything.
Advertiser, factory worker, store clerk, cleaner, lathe operator … anything was better, and more honestly earned money, than accepting that which my father offered me and which was always linked to his ideas of how I should live my life. I’m afraid my free spirit was partly responsible for his dwindling hair and the small silver strands on his head.



Although I let go my talent and hunger – and for some time my sketchbook, pencils and colours had to go to rest for the first time in life – for various job conditions, I never truly wanted to sacrifice them for good.
At the same time, my parents got divorced and I was very glad about that. Oil and fire don’t mix unless you want to provoke a conflagration. I experienced what it’s like, when a weakened person has to face an enormous adversary, loses everything but wins the biggest thing in life – freedom.
“Freedom is just another word for nothing else to lose.”
Janis Joplin sang it and in this phase I understood its meaning for the first time.



Soon after, my mother found new luck, but it demanded a great sacrifice from her. She emigrated to Australia, but had to leave behind my brother Christoph.
A tightrope act started – being a good sister to him without taking on, but not falling into the role of being his mother. Being there for my brother, at any time, but not sacrificing myself. Once again it was a time that left a particularly deep mark on me. The challenges were great – but if one is trained properly to carry heavy burdens, you stop being conscious of the weight of responsibility and you can easily and magically overcome even the biggest hurdles.
The path I had wandered had trained me well for everything that eventually happened.



In secret, almost as if I was hiding it from myself, I was drawing in my free time to cope with this disturbing phase of interpersonal wars. I did it solely for myself, without being analysed, assessed or evaluated – I started to love again my pencils and my gift, which was probably the best thing that happened because of these tumultuous times.



However, after some time, I noticed a change in my nature, a tiredness and bitterness that was unknown to me until then. Finally, no pens or colors could stop this development. The pictures from that time, which I painted only for myself and which will never reach the public, spoke a dark language.
I realized that I was no longer myself, and since there really are more than enough grumpy and nasty people in this world and I do not want to become one of them, I decided to do something about it and escape my normal life for some time.
I cancelled my apartment, sold my belongings and organized tickets to Australia and half a year later from New Zeaeland back to Austria. My brother was glad about the return ticket and still I was free to find myself again. Of course, the most important piece of luggage in my backpack was a small, new sketchbook and, of course, my pencils.


After a visit at my mom’s place and many clarifying conversations, I traveled for six months through Australia and New Zealand. My bags were light and my budget was very small, so I initially worked on various farms… and never stopped drawing.
My little artworks and the people I met on my way were the door opener to some festivals, where I could work and earn a bit of extra money with selling small pictures or creating stage decorations.
And then it happened. At the beautiful Huka Falls in New Zealand, in the middle of wild nature, for the first time in my life, I drew HER.
The figure that accompanies all my artworks since then. She, who until today provides a face to my messages and themes. Often and until now, I’ve been asked who She is, what She means – and until recently, after I mastered the biggest emotional challenge yet, I could not answer that question. I only knew from the first moment, that She would be important, that She is my narrator, my center and my ambassador. She is probably my true love. Only today do I know, She is my Self.


When I came back, I thought the time had come to show my artworks to the public and come back into the world of art I had fled. To reopen myself to the art world and to put off my doubts and dislike acquired in school. I was now grown up, so no big deal, I made myself artistically tangible and vulnerable again.



© tamarakolb