What is the best thing that I love about my work?
Two things, mainly: the opportunity to turn my thoughts into visual information and give the sense a meaning. Drawing for me has always played a central role, as a way to understand the difference between reality and the idea of reality my head has unconsciously generated: I’m constantly negotiating between the two.
What is my idea of happiness?
I try not to focus on just one kind of happiness: I assume the more flexible our idea of happiness is, the more we can feel satisfied. I think I’ve accepted that happiness is a sinusoidal state of mind.
What is my greatest fear?
I have so many fears, but I think my greatest fear is forcing myself to live in shadow to let others shine.
What is the trait that I most deplore in myself?
Sometimes I would like to see my anger explode, but I always choose not to do it and it’s corrosive. And I tend to procrastinate, sometimes.
Which living persons in my profession do I most admire?
All the artists who fight against the crisis caused by the Covid pandemic: by selling their artworks at lowest prices, for instance, with the fear that it will be a kind of damage anyway, in the future.
What is my greatest extravagance?
I think I don’t have any particular extravagance, but everybody knows I can get a bit “hot-tempered” with the voice of Phil Collins and Reggae music.
On what occasion would I lie?
If someone I love is suffering from dementia and reality is too painful and difficult to be known every day. However, I believe that each of us, in different forms and without necessarily being pathological, is a liar.
What is the thing that I dislike the most in my work?
There’s a specific moment where I feel I’m drawing with a certain conventionality that I find annoying: that leads me to do something else.
When and where was I the happiest, in my work?
When my project 24H Drawing Lab
has been awarded at The Big Draw, last year in Manchester.
If I could, what would I change about myself?
There’s anything I would really change, anyway I’d feel more comfortable with myself if I would be a bit more determined to enforce my point of view with other people. Anyway, I’m working hard to do it.
What is my greatest achievement in work?
I’m definitely proud of being able to bring people closer to the artistic language in a (very) short time.
Where would I most like to live?
Sometimes I dream of living far from Rome, in a place where I can see flowers , art and freedom grow.
What is my most treasured possession?
I would say a silver ring that I never take out of my hand.
What is my most marked characteristic?
I walk to think. My whole work comes from a walk: I can walk over miles without feeling tired, ‘cause my mind is completely involved in processing information. But I always pay attention while crossing the road.
What is my most inspirational location, in my city?
There is more than one place, but I would name the Aventino. I go there when I want to approach abstract thinking.
What is my favorite place to eat and drink, in my city?
I know it sounds strange, but I really love drinking in those kind of unfashionable bars of some small towns not very far from Rome, and the service stations on the highways.
What books influenced my life and how?
There are many books I would mention, but I consider The picture of Dorian Gray one of the most important books in my life and work: it is important, indeed, to understand the difference between being and appearing, in order to choose the two consciously since they are interchangeable.
You Only Die Once. What music would I listen on my last day?
I would probably listen to the voices of people I have loved in my life.
Who is my hero or heroine in fiction?
I haven’t read the whole saga, but I would say Sherlock Holmes: he knows exactly how to distinguish facts from interpretations.
Who are my heroes and heroines in real life?
I’m afraid I don’t have any particular hero, in real life. Maybe I’m mistaken, but a hero is something that I link to a dangerous form of idealism and it took me a lifetime to understand how dangerous idealism can be, especially in real life.
Which movie would i recommend to see once in a lifetime?
I’m interested in the psychological behavior of entangling families, which is very well described in movies like The Godfather, for instance. Beyond the mafia movie, obviously.
What role plays art in my life and work?
Art is a metaphorical language I use since my words cannot be everywhere. I have two different and interconnected approaches: the first as an artist and the second as a teacher. Showcasing a drawing in an art gallery is no longer enough: my aim is helping others to understand the language of art. Otherwise, to whom are the artists talking to?
What do the words ‘You are the storyteller of your own life’ to me?
It takes courage to embrace freedom as a responsibility and these words remind me that in order to be the storyteller of my own life, I’m constantly responsible of my personal choices.
Who is my greatest fan, sponsor, partner in crime?
My sister Rivka is definitely my partner in crime, since we’re co-founder of 24H Drawing Lab (www.24hdrawinglab.com). But I have more than one sponsor and honestly, I consider a real sponsor all the people who invested in my work, not only with money or by opportunities. For instance, my partner helps me with heavy work such as transport and exhibition set-up while my sister helps me with the photo archive of my work. These are huge supporting demonstrations, for me.
Which people or companies would I like to work with in 2020?
It would be great to work with companies that are considering drawing as a research and not merely a form of decoration nor an academic practice: I would mention first The Big Draw, I met them last year and they are absolutely great in the way they make the entire world draw. I’d like to talk with C.N.R. as well (Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche), to let them know how drawing can be well applied as a form of rehabilitation. With the Biennale Del Disegno di Rimini I think we could both give us the opportunity to do one of my drawing workshops there. Sometimes the most interesting things in art are out of the art environment, at the same time, in the art environment you can bring something not directly related to an exhibition and have very good results.
Which people in my profession who can make a real difference in my creative career would i love to meet in 2020?
Well, people who can make a real difference in my career can do it for better or worse. I’d advise myself not to follow the need to be esteemed and recognized as an artist too much. It’s pretty sad, but it’s something that can be seen very clearly, especially on social media. There are several galleries that could be interested in my research, or curators I esteem like Giorgia Calò, for instance. I’m pretty sure a good conversation with Giorgia could easily become a good project, in future. I think it depends a lot on the meaning each artist gives to the word success. As a form of protection, I don’t need to be everywhere, because it’s crucial to protect my work. This has allowed me to be involved in projects with good curators such as Francesca Gallo. It would be great to work with her again.
What project, in 2020, am I looking forward to work on?
I had time enough to write a book for my students that I hope to publish soon. I’ve been working hard so there are several paths to follow, now. I think I’ll start focusing on a solo show about my drawings.
Where can you see me or my work in 2020?
Unfortunately, due to the Covid pandemic several events are postponed, and some others are definitely cancelled. At the moment, I cannot say where and when my work will be showcased.
What do the words “Passion Never Retires” mean to me?
As long as my mind is here, I’ll keep on working.
Which creative heroines should Peter invite to tell their story?
He should meet the photographer Rivka Spizzichino, the artists Kirila Cvetkovska and Pamela Pintus. Rivka is a photographer of enormous talent and Kirila is not afraid to go straight to the end of her comfort zone and start over. And I had the great pleasure to work with Pamela during our exhibition at the Verein Berliner Kunstler, last year. If allowed, I would also name a hero: the italian painter Filippo Saccà.
How can you contact me?
Here follows a message of Peter de Kuster, founder of The Heroine’s Journey
Are you a creative leader or creative professional looking to develop your business skills and storytelling?
Amidst today’s uncertainty, it is more important than ever to reconnect with yourself and others, develop your creative business, and build your story. Dive deep into your unique business style and areas for growth with the coaching of Peter de Kuster.
IS THE HEROINE’S JOURNEY COACHING FOR YOU?
You are a creative leader or creative professional who is interested in developing yourself, your business, and your story.
You are aware that there are no quick fixes. Learning is a journey that works when you are fully committed to it. Coaching can bring awareness and help you navigate, but in the end it’s you who is in charge of your growth.
You want to learn more about how to resource yourself, learn about blind spots, and get feedback.
You are curious and want to engage in online learning.
You are motivated to work in-between sessions on yourself (e.g. working on homework assignments that will help you develop new storytelling, skills, and behaviors).
WHAT’S YOUR COACHING QUESTION?
The Heroine’s Journey Coaching is all about your development. To make the most out of your sessions, we ask you to prepare topics to work on with Peter. These topics can serve as a starting point for further in-depth exploration with Peter.
These coaching topics typically resonate with the creative leaders Peter works with:
How can I handle self promotion and marketing of my creative business better?
How do can I stay authentic and with focus when having difficult conversations with potential clients?
What are my creative values and how do I align these with my business values?
How can I manage my time and energy better?
How can I radiate confidence to my clients while feeling anxious inside?
How can I steer myself towards creative excellence without becoming rigid?
About Peter de Kuster
Peter de Kuster is the founder of The Heroine’s Journey & Hero’s Journey project, a storytelling firm which helps creative professionals to create careers and lives based on whatever story is most integral to their lifes and careers (values, traits, skills and experiences). Peter’s approach combines in-depth storytelling and marketing expertise, and for over 20 years clients have found it effective with a wide range of creative business issues.
Peter is writer of the series The Heroine’s Journey and Hero’s Journey books, he has an MBA in Marketing, MBA in Financial Economics and graduated at university in Sociology and Communication Sciences.