BELIEVE IN YOURSELF

portret Mascha Siekkötter

As a small girl I loved to express myself with drawing and painting. My parents made me a small desk and chair when I was only two. Next to the pile of white paper was a pencil tied on a string to keep me from drawing on the walls. Later when I came home from kindergarten, the first I did was drawing. In primary school the teacher advised my parents to let me take extra drawing classes in the community center. I wanted to learn more, and school couldn’t offer this. So, that’s what we did.

Every Thursday afternoon I went to art class. I learned to draw on big pieces of paper and how to use different materials, like pastels and black ink. I expressed my feelings and daydreams through drawings and paintings.

In my last year at high school I got accepted by four Art Academy’s and I chose to become a teacher in Fine Art and Design at ArtEZ. When I finished school, I could be both a teacher and an artist, which was perfect for me. I learned more about painting big, drawing realistic, graphic design, 3D design and color. During art history I learned about inspiring artists and I really loved my photography and video classes. Also, we studied philosophy, psychology and art education. When I had my internships at schools, I loved to make great art assignments for the kids.

My teachers especially loved my photography and one of them even bought my work. I also sold some paintings... to my family, who knew how much I loved painting since I was small. They still have them in their living rooms after twenty years.

I got a boyfriend and worked as a waitress. I found it difficult to find a job as an art teacher with little experience. I decided to start my own business as a photographer. I had a great website with my beautiful pictures. I was invited to exhibit in an art gallery in a big city. But along the way I realised it took a lot of money to pay the ballot, the yearly fee and the prints of the photos. I had learned great artists make big art, so the prints where as large as I could afford. At the opening of the exhibition, I heard some people were interested in buying, but I was too shy to talk to them. I didn’t know what to say to them. I felt like a failure on my way home. My boyfriend sat next to me in the car and tried to comfort me while I cried silently.

I decided to apply for the local art fair. They thought my work was great and I could rent a stand. During the next few days I was happy to represent my work myself. Now I could challenge myself to talk to people and this would definitely help me sell the photos.

All the artists who have been in art fairs, know this: it is one of the most vulnerable positions you can find yourself in. You can see clearly on most visitors faces what they think of your work. Some of them make comments, which is nice, when the comments are nice. I tried to overcome my shyness and made some small talk. Nobody bought something. I had many doubts... Where my prices too high? Was there something wrong with my photos? But I graduated with an A for my photography... Family and friends came to encourage me, and I loved the much-needed support. Then, by the last day of the art fair, in the last hour, somebody bought a big print! It was my parents neighbour who I had known for half my life... I was stunned. So far, only people who knew me well had bought my work.

I met other starting business owners. I realised most of them had a regular job as well. One of them was a teacher and asked me if I could teach photography to students at the university he worked for. I applied and got my first real job! After two years I decided I wanted to work

closer to home and found a high school and worked as an art teacher.

My boyfriend became my husband. We moved to a better house and tried to have our first child. This was more challenging then we had expected. When I finally got pregnant, there was nothing left of my art business and to be fair, there was not much left of me either. I had stopped taking photos, painting and drawing altogether.

Sadly, we decided after 15 years together that we couldn’t make it work anymore. After that, I met Maicel. He was such a great guy and I fell in love. He loved me back and still does. He saw how I missed art and started to encourage me. He bought paint, paper and even a camera. Slowly I started to believe in myself as well. I made art daily and felt emotionally more stable.

But the best thing that happened, I started to believe in the power of my story.

I realised, when people knew me better, they were more likely to support my work. I started a crowdfunding for a photo print and it was super successful. I designed my own web shop, not only with my artwork, but also with podcasts and blogs. I rented space to teach in my local community. People from my old community center asked me to teach with them for a year. I opened my first solo exhibition at the local doctor’s office just last week. A few works sold before I could upload them in my web shop. I'm selling Print On Demand products with my own designs. I even quit my day job to develop online art classes. I hope to help you believing in the power of your own product, your costumer and your story. For one thing, I believe in you.

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Mascha Siekkötter graduated from ARTeZ as a First Degree Teacher of Fine Arts and Design and worked for more than 20 years as a Teacher of Photography and Visual Education in schools. Because of her empathic ability and eye for detail, she has been able to help many students to create their own signature artwork. The school classes and benches have made room for creative workshops and training spaces. Mascha is also creating visual art classes for an English speaking audience.

info@pastelrainbowstudio.com www.pastelrainbowstudio.com https://www.instagram.com/maschasiekkotter https://www.facebook.com/msiekkotter





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