The Secret Artist #8: Through This Chaos

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Time to process…

Dear Secret Artist,

Tuesday the exhibition came down after an incredibly intense and chaotic couple of weeks. There are many angles I could write today’s blog from. Honestly I can’t access any of them. I’m still too close to it all to have a clue what to say. Part of me feels pressure to deliver a triumphant tale of victory (whatever that means?!) I want to be able to tell you red dots sprang up like a case of measles in the gallery, I want to tell you I have orders for prints coming out of my ears and curators clamouring to work with me….

At the very least I want whatever I say to be positive, after so much effort and energy expended surely this all has a happy ending! Well this is it: I don’t know what kind of end/beginning I’m at! I’ve just been in it, without any time to pause, feel, think, rest, so I’m lost for what to write and noticing how much my exhaustion is colouring my psychology. I need more time to process.

Everything I’d been sharing and writing about on this blog up until a week ago was from a point of perspective. I understood what I was feeling. I’d had time to process and to reflect sometimes years in the case of my early paintings. Right now I feel like I can’t write confidently about the exhibition because in a way it doesn’t exist yet. It’s as if I’ve been on a high speed train and just stepped off onto the platform, a familiar yet somehow entirely different place. I’ve taken a trip through chaos.

And The Dark And The Dark (Chaos) (1)

Through this (Chaos) 2015

I have photos I need to sort through, and some video, I have tons of notes, I kept a diary everyday of thoughts and ideas, but even scan reading these it’s like they are written in a different language. I am blessed with incredible support from so many friends and family that made the effort to come out in the rain and be with me. Every bit of feedback and every idea shared during the last two weeks was undoubtedly the gold from this experience. Thank you!

One thing for sure is this whole exhibition ride was nothing like what I expected but I can’t even tell you what I was expecting! I know what I was hoping but some how that doesn’t seem to be the same thing. It was what it was. It is what it is.

I could never have predicted nor imagined what actually happened these last two weeks. This is the madness of expectations yet it seems impossible not to have them. I’m now on the other side of this exhibition roller coaster of a mission. What happened?! Am I the same? Nope, I’ve been reformed in the flame of stress and pressure, excitement and new experience. It’s just too soon to tell what any of it means. Right now it’s true that this altered state also includes feeling depleted, drained and confused but that’s not the whole story: that bits just temporary. I peaked and now I’m crashing. I have a sense of excitement amongst this depletion, a sense of new beginnings.

This whole experience reminds me of the necessity to jump in and try things. We learn through experience, no amount of planning or strategising can prepare us for the impact of reality, this is why we hesitate. When we dive in, we swim, no matter what comes up we find a way through, we creative problem solve, we collaborate, we find a way forward. When we glide or flounder through the unknown we feel the edges of our being, the edges of who we are, and we go beyond, because we have no choice. Once we commit and dive in, we’re in it for wherever it takes us.

I’m probably not going to be that much closer to understanding what this was all about next week, or the week after. But drop by drop, realisation will begin, and shifts will occur. This I know, this I trust. I’m going to keep writing (to you). It might not be as formed, might not be as coherent… but there is definitely more to come!!

See you next week,

Love and Best wishes


Gemma Kauffman’s practice encompasses a variety of strategies and media, which include painting, performance, installation and film. Theatrical and fantastical, her work is both compelling and dynamic. Kauffman is an advocate for the creative spirit of all people and has during the last 10 years pioneered transformative approaches to social engagement.

Are you a Secret Artist? Do you believe in the creative process? Interested in learning more about the journey of this Secret Artist? Then please subscribe HERE!          

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