Fifth Life: 2013 – 2015

I changed jobs from Ikea to the company H&M. I worked as a decorator in both companies, so I could at least be a little bit creative. When father died as a result of his illness, as tragic and crazy that may sound, I felt like Ii had succeeded in a big exam. I was sad, but somehow liberated. To have both of these feelings at once in one heart… it’s really somehow curious how many facettes a soul can bare … my pencils, my pen and paper led me through this contradictory phase, faithful and reliable as they have always been.
Life and Death, there they were again.


All that was left of my family then was me, my brother, my mother and my stepfather.
There was an infinite amount of work to do after father’s death. To support my brother, to find a guardian for him who not only possessed factual knowledge but also a noble and dutiful mind. Setting up everything in my sibling’s life again was very important.
My brother’s blossoming and the way he became more and more self-determined was making me incredibly proud of him. A great person through and through, that is what he always had been.
At some point during this time, I made an important decision – the decision to risk it anew, to present myself and my works to the world.


Should I also pass on from this world, I would at that time had to have given an answer to the question, what I had used my gift for, which I did not like at all: nothing… this was not the answer I was prepared to give.


Encouraged by my friends, I finally had my first art exhibition in the “Café Tintenfass”. Select pictures, which I had created thus far, were put in front of the eyes of strangers for the first time. Back then, my artworks were illustrations, which I had worked out first on paper and had then edited on the computer, neatly printed out and framed. The little exhibition was a success and gave me strength and a lot of confidence for a new phase in my life. I realized, that a full-time job, if I wanted to go down the artist’s path, got in the way of my creative work, and so i quit my job at H&M. So 2013 ended with an all-encompassing new beginning.



A second exhibition soon took place again in the „ Café Tintenfass“ and behold, even more visitors came, and the first short article about my work appeared in the press. Another success. I was inspired, got to know Curt Schnecker, the president of the Styrian art club “Werkbund”, who gave me important tips, and later on became my mentor. Finally, i felt wind under my wings.
But again my fate decided, that i was not ready to soar.



My world broke apart in a chaos of interpersonal dramas and catastrophes – I descended into a personal purgatory. One dose of ruined hope, a swab of slander and denunciation, a pinch of treachery from several once friendly sides and some of those cruelties that go along with all of that and too easily and too deeply pierce the heart and soul. I broke into a thousand pieces because I did not see it coming, was not prepared and caught completely off guard. This time, the grief was of an unknown nature, different and somehow greater than what I knew and could have handled. It seeped in too deeply and my body became very ill. It disabled me utterly, ended everything familiar and temporarily knocked me out into a totality of nothingness and silence.


But as I always like to say, the most beautiful flower grows best with a lot of dung and so the illness that came after my downfall, the care in the hospital and the silence finally led to my cure.
I was so thrown off course, that for the first time, I could look at my life from another perspective altogether now to me. So it came to pass that through my breakdown finally came peace, understanding and healing into my world. I painted myself back into this world. Once again I looked at my previous life as from the outside, found my balance again, was able to free my soul of the heaviness and found forgiveness for all the tragedies I experienced.



It was the most magnificent point in my life that let me destroy all my bounds. Destruction always provides the opportunity for a new beginning – which, I think, is a wonderful duality in life. I, who until then – unsure as I was – had worked on my pictures for exhibitions only with the help of the all-forgiving computer, bought myself the biggest, heaviest, most expensive large format of paper I could get and I plunged into working on it. Until today I am unable to explain what had happened. Had that been me? I could produce something like that? Had I up until this point ever created something with all my heart and soul? It was wonderful – it tasted of wild freedom.


Selling coffee as a bread-and-butter job and finding myself and my style in the new world of painting in my free time was gorgeous and worth all the drama that had been before. I decided to give the whole thing a soul by drawing and painting the great things that regularly create and destroy all of us. I saw them, I expeirienced them, i know how they taste. Since then I paint about life and death, the great feelings in life, whether positive or negative, and about life and survival, dying and coming back again.


© tamarakolb