What is the best thing that I love about my work?
I am a visionary creator and a truth seeker. What I love the most about my work is the range of experiences I and my audience get to explore through my art and my creative activities. I love giving birth to the new by going through long creative research and explorations for years. I admire the mysteries of life and I love letting the creativity flow from me sometimes through humor and sometimes through happy and bright or dark and dull artworks. I also love how delicately I am organizing my knowledge of various concepts of health and its relationship to creativity.
What is my idea of happiness?
My idea of happiness is having a clear mind and being present without having an attachment to the past or the future, being content and at peace with every moment and every activity no matter what is the collective definition of happiness or whether or not we have balance in all areas of our life. I believe we can experience happiness even during pain and suffering or defeat if we know our purpose and mission. When one decides to climb the mountain, he/she knows the path is going to be challenging but continues climbing anyway. Happiness is acknowledging and embracing the challenge and trying to maintain harmony anyway.
What is my greatest fear?
I believe I am a very ambitious person and people often laugh at me when I share my goals and missions or talk about things I have done to fulfill my mission but my greatest fear is passing away before I can implement my vision fully in a way that I believe is my purpose for being here. I feel it would be a waste of the life and the chance that I was given by the universe if I do not serve my best. I want to have the most impact I can have in the world before I die. It might sound like a high expectation to have from myself but I am happy to take the challenge, do what I can, be empathetic, keep moving forward and keep growing out of my old self in every moment.
What is the trait that I most deplore in myself?
Sometimes getting obsessive and overthinking!
I am a highly sensitive person and perhaps this the trait that I most both deplore and admire about myself. I too, have that negative voice in my head that once in a while keeps saying:” nobody cares about what you do”, “you are dreaming too big”, “you are extremely unrealistic”, “nobody will support your ideas”, and etc …
Processing my own emotions, healing my own wounds before I can keep advocating about art, health, healing and emotional intelligence is the most difficult and invisible part of my job. I often do not take negative comments or actions towards me personally but when I do get hurt, I get hurt so deeply that I feel I fall into a very long sleep. Waking up sometimes can take a few years for me and it goes through a specific pattern of events and eventually I do wake up, much more awaken than before.
Which living persons in my profession do i most admire?
Some of the living persons in my profession that I most admire are:
Marina Abramovic: She is an extraordinary performance artist and I believe some part of my work and the way that I express myself is very much through performance and usage of my mental power although I do not primarily recognize myself as a performance artist. Marina Abramovic is one of the very few people in the world who is capable of such performance power.
Alex Grey: I love his complicated and often brightly colored paintings and the philosophy behind his work. He and his wife beautifully portray and present in various ways the metaphysics, our essence and the divine love. The subjects that most of my paintings are also about.
Katie Ohie: She creates enchanting, often highly polished and entertaining large kinetic sculptures. I have had the dream of making interactive public sculptures and Katie is definitely a master in this field.
Evan Penny: Evan creates hyper-realistic looking sculptures of human face and body out of silicon. I find the level of familiarity of human form in his art very attractive.
What is my greatest extravagance?
Perhaps being too idealistic is my greatest extravagance! I believe there is more than enough wealth for the people living on the earth. I believe in universal basic income and that money should not be the main purpose of life or happiness for human beings. Part of my vision is to provide an affordable public access to practice all forms of art and creativity. But, I am generally perceiving myself as a minimalist, I do not spend money on things I do not really, really need and perhaps I have more artworks than any other stuff.
On what occasion would I lie?
They say the truth is liberating, but what about withholding information for safety reasons? A white lie?
About 5 years ago, while I was on my way to start the first project for my humanitarian organization LOUD Art Society I was injured in a car accident. Following the car accident, I went through a few life changing experiences, an awakening of its own form, and first time in my life I was seeing the world, people, everything that exists in a completely different light. Something that changed for me was the realization that how much a lie can change the course of events of not only one person’s life but also the effects of it at large in the world. I came to a deep understanding of how lying decreases the collective consciousness and people’s faith in positive forces. While I was trying to defend myself from the losses caused by the car accident, I also learned how lawyers play around and manipulate the truth. It was an eye-opening but sad and painful experience to go through. I remained truthful although, it did not work to my best interest. I prefer to have a clear conscious above all and not lie at all because regardless of the consequences, it is very confusing for me. One lie leads to endless lies and like in Pinocchio’s story the more he lied the longer his nose grew which I interpret as losing memory and foresight as it becomes too difficult keeping up with all the lies. But for those occasions that I know, that knowing the entire truth for my listener can cause serious health issues I use the power of metaphors and embed the truth within maybe a story and I tell them the story instead. Eventually the truth will reveal itself at the right time and place.
What is the thing that I dislike the most in my work?
Currently, burn outs, not having enough space and like-minded individuals around me sometimes makes my work environment not the healthiest I could be in and this is what I dislike the most in my work. This leads me into overthinking and being extremely judgmental of myself and, being a responsible person, finding myself at fault in most occasions. I think being too isolated or lack of connection to the right crowd is preventing me from truly shine and grow towards my vision. Now I am trying to connect with people from all around the world online to create that community for myself and others like me.
When and where was I the happiest, in my work?
Any time that I am creating I am fully present in the moment, without worrying. During the time that I was offering my services through painting murals based on the emotional needs of the environment and the people who were living or working in those spaces. I found myself the happiest then, because even though I was recovering from car accident injuries and I was doing my work completely voluntarily and without making any money from it I was doing what I was most passionate about: Large works of art for the public view with the hope of making an impact.
If I could, what would I change about myself?
Nothing! I would not change anything about myself. If we believe that everything happens for a reason because there is cause and effect then I have become who I am because of the changes I have gone through. While I am pursuing my mission, the path that I am on will lead me to necessary changes and I am sure I will go through many more changes I might have never even thought of or imagined.
What is my greatest achievement in work?
The greatest achievement in my work is empowering, inspiring and healing through my work and sometimes making people laugh. Throughout my life since childhood all the way to my adulthood I have been practicing some form of art and inviting other individuals to create and collaborate in art projects. I never knew why and it came very naturally to me. I founded my humanitarian organization to continue this part of my work more professionally. Through the art program that I have developed, participating individuals were able to mend some of their core beliefs, heal emotionally, mentally and even in some cases physically. Simultaneously, I was able to influence individuals in positive ways through the visuals I created on the murals, my storytelling and active listening. I believe there are no greater achievement than serving the society and leaving a legacy behind.
Where would I most like to live?
I actually have never thought of this question. I have immigrated several times in my life and every time it was not my choice but I think if I did have a choice I would want to live somewhere that is mostly warm and sunny, surrounded by beautiful nature and kind people, and has unpolluted weather. I consider myself the citizen of the Earth and Earth has many, many beautiful places to visit or to live.
What is my most treasured possession?
My most treasured possessions would be my artworks, artworks by other artists gifted to me, some of the books that I am finding interesting, my violin, and some belongings of relatives that have been passed on and gifted to me. I assume I should consider my identification documents as treasured possessions as well!
What is my most marked characteristic?
Although it is hard to make comment on myself, I believe being compassionate and patient are my most marked characteristics. I think kindness brings out an exceptional intelligence and the relationship between the two remains a mystery. I often put myself in someone else’s shoes, this is what motivates me to help or empower others even in cases where there is a high chance of me getting hurt. Of course, this can make me appear vulnerable or to be a victim of toxic, unkind and unhealthy individuals or situations but I have learned how to deal with unkindness and injustice. Unlike the name of my humanitarian organization LOUD, I am silent most of the times, I am a deep observer and in some occasions, I find myself very unpredictable.
What is my most inspirational location, in my city?
The most inspirational place in my city is by the river or where ever I can sit in my own silence and listen to the sound of nature. There are many beautiful parks in my city and I usually like to find a quiet spot by the river or a lake, dip my feet in the water, relax and think or meditate.
What is my favorite place to eat and drink, in my city?
I like a clean and contemporary looking coffeeshop and I love trying mainly vegetarian meals from colorful international foods so anything from East Indian to Mexican, Japanese, Italian, French and etc…. are the places I would like to eat and drink.
To name a couple of places: Higher Ground Cafe and Alforno are some of my favorites.
What books influenced my life and how?
There are many great, life changing books that have been written throughout the history of humankind that I could have read and learned about human psyche, inner wisdom, compassion, God’s essence, but there is only one book that I believe made a difference in my life: “Talking to Crazy: How to deal with irrational and impossible people in your life” by Mark Goulston.
This book directed me to the right direction and inspired me to believe in the person I was doubting that I was. Going through the books in a book store is a hobby for me and If I find myself in front of a book it is mainly because I have a question in my mind, and “Talking to Crazy” gave me the answer I was assuming in my head. In simplest words: Human essence is good and being good is the answer to all! I learned that it is true that only hurt people, hurt people! Those individuals who have experienced trauma in any form or shape, carry a lot of pain which manifests itself in the form of negative/ toxic habits and behaviors. But as soon as I read a passage from “Talking to Crazy” I realized there are several different techniques we can use to communicate effectively and positively influence these individuals. I also learned that we must concentrate on people’s essence and positive qualities which can be done through deep observation, empathy and kindness.
You Only Die Once. What music would I listen on my last day?
Well, the first thought that came to my mind was Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, for the music that I would listen to on my last day however, I will most likely listen to the first piece of music I learned to play which was by Reiding violin concerto in B minor, if I have more options then I will listen to something fun and uplifting. But to be more realistic, on my last day I am probably sitting on a rocking chair and listening to whatever the radio is playing and quietly I die. The chair stops rocking.
Who is my hero or heroine in fiction?
Wonder woman. I really admire how physically active she is while she is saving the world. In real life, I tried to improve my physical health specially while I was recovering from the car accident and received my personal training certificate but I really wished I could develop my physical intelligence beyond just for maintaining a healthy life style or surviving couple of hours on a ladder while painting a mural.
Who are my heroes and heroines in real life?
Historically speaking Tesla, Frida Kahlo, Da Vinci for the common characteristics I have been finding between all of them and myself.
In my own life, my uncle who has been playing a significant role as my spiritual mentor and the only person that encouraged me with certainty to found my humanitarian organization and work towards my goals and vision without doubting myself.
Which movie would i recommend to see once in a lifetime?
There are so many great movies to watch once in a lifetime but my recommendations are:
Interstellar, a movie that viewers may find difficult to understand time and space which gives us a broader perspective of the kind of reality we think we are living in.
The Tree of Life, a movie that very expressively portrays how human psychology works from birth to death. I find this movie helps a lot with understanding and developing empathy for one another as human beings.
Forest Gump, a movie that shows real heroes are those who people do not usually expect them to be anything but also portrays love as the most powerful force and motivation for any achievement. I wish there was a female version of this movie.
What role plays art in my life and work?
Essential role, pretty much my entire life revolves around art. I ask this question from myself every few years: “if I get tired of art what do I do?” and I answer I will make more art then. Then I ask: “What would I do if I have achieved everything I wanted to achieve in my life and I have traveled all around the world?” I answer to myself I probably want to make more art! So, I find myself very happy and lucky that I am already doing that with or without all my goals and visions accomplished. Knowing what I love to do the most is already a victory by itself.
For the past 20 years Art has been my refuge and source of healing and empowerment in all challenging stages of my life. That is why I want to offer it to as many people as possible in the most accessible and affordable way. Here are the links to a videos where you can learn more about how I have tried to offer art to different communities:
What do the words ‘You are the storyteller of your own life’ to me?
I think our self-talk is the narrator in our mind and it is very important that we would have a friendly and an intelligent storyteller, the one that sees or at least tries to see all dimensions. And I believe our higher self is that storyteller, we just need to talk more to ourselves and listen to our intuition because the moment we start telling our own story to ourselves we start using our logic and trying to make sense out of everything that is happening. We need to follow the best advice from ourselves and not the negative self-talk or negative forces that appear every moment in front of our path.
Who is my greatest fan, sponsor, partner in crime?
Currently, my father is my partner in crime, generally my brothers have been the greatest sponsors and my mother although does not always understand all of my work, she is my greatest fan who always encourages me to continue my work.
Photo credit: Ethel Dalida
Which people or companies would I like to work with in 2020?
Katie Ohie, she already has her own art centre not too far from the city that I am living in and offers mentoring to young and emerging artists, I would love to learn more about making public sculptures and see if I can bring some of my sculptural or installation artwork ideas into reality.
Esker Foundation, Esker is a contemporary art gallery and my most favorite art space in the city that I am living. For years I had this idea of making YouTube videos in that space to promote and educate people within and beyond our city about contemporary art. I would have loved to collaborate with them on these kinds of projects.
Centro Botine, located in Spain is perhaps the closest idea of an art centre for everyone, somewhere people can increase their emotional intelligence through art, a similar idea that I have in my mind.
Netflix, I have a passion for storytelling and education and would love to be surrounded by highly creative teams and learn from them. I noticed Netflix has become a place for true stories and creating best content for diverse voices and demographics however, I still have not seen my character in any of those stories.
Which people in my profession who can make a real difference in my creative career would i love to meet in 2020?
I would greatly benefit to meet and work with highly creative professionals or companies to learn more about the creative industries and build my network with enthusiastic like-minded and like-hearted connections. However, I think the real difference is made through collaboration in creative projects or real support of my work and my visions.
Of course there are many creative people or teams around the world that I might not even know about however, some of the people I would love to meet are:
Alex Grey, because part of the theme and range of colors of my artworks are very in line with his ideas and themes of his artworks. I would like to learn about his process and maybe even work on a collaborative painting or project together.
Taylor Swift, although not a visual artist, she is one of the few pop artist/songwriters who often talks about how she finds her art/ music practice as therapeutic and I think with the position that she is in, she could play a significant role in promoting this idea further.
Ellen, aside from her witty humor, she encourages positivity, good deeds and generosity. She also is a great introducer of new faces, to me she is a great representative of inclusion and diversity and these are all the characteristics that I like to promote and implement in my organization and my work as well.
What project, in 2020, am I looking forward to work on?
Increasing my social media presence mainly through YouTube, Instagram and Linkedin is the main project I am working on in 2020. I am planning to work on some new mural and installation projects. I am looking forward to partnerships/ collaborations with other organizations and creative individuals. I am also hoping to finish writing and start editing my book on “Self-Therapy Through Art & Creativity”
Where can you see me or my work in 2020?
You can view my works and artistic activities on my organization’s website at LOUD Art Society and my personal Artist website at Tara Vahab :
I am also active on my social media pages:
Instagram: @tativahab and @loudartsociety
Facebook: @taravahabart and @loudartsociety
YouTube: LOUD Art Society, Tara Vahab and One Thousand and One Nights
Linked-in: Tara Vahab
What do the words “Passion Never Retires” mean to me?
Like a star! Once it starts shining, it keeps shining, it keeps emitting its own light for a very long time and does not die quickly. I think our passion is that light within us, within our hearts that keeps shining through us. It does not wait for a payment to shine, it does not wait for someone else’s approval or order to shine, it does not need to wait for retirement, it does not need our interference with it or a praise to shine. It keeps lit on its own and our job is to use it to create the best version of ourselves for the world because without passion everything we do just seems meaningless.
Which creative heroines should Peter invite to tell their story?
I have reached out to a few creative heroines and have mentioned Heroines Journey. I am waiting for their response, I will send their names to you as soon as they get back to me.
How can you contact me?
I respond to any message sent to me through my websites or social media pages.
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 tell the most powerful story possible about myself and my creative business?
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 lives 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.
The Heroine’s Journey Coaching online sessions last 50 minutes and the fee is Euro 189 excluding VAT per session. The Heroine’s Journey Coaching is suitable for people at any stage in their career.
Who can sign up for The Heroine’s Journey online coaching?
Creative leaders and creative professionals who wish to improve their business story and develop their business skills and mindset.
Should I choose 1:1 coaching?
Our The Heroine’s Journey experiences in world cities allow you to learn not only from the coach but also from your peers. For the small group coaching (1 – 4 people), we have selected important, relevant topics that we find regularly come up for creative professional: purpose, storytelling, creative confidence, self promotion, time & money and resilience.
If you would prefer to work alone or on a different topic, individual coaching is a better fit for you.
What language do we speak in the coaching sessions?
Can I buy coaching for my organization?
Yes, you can! We support many organizations around the world with their coaching needs. Please contact us for more information.
Can I bring my own topics?
Yes, for individual coaching you get to choose your own topic.
Are coaching sessions confidential?
Yes. Peter will not share anything that is discussed in the coaching sessions.
Where will the coaching sessions take place?
Sessions will take place online (as per the times we live in) via an online tool like Zoom or Skype. Peter will let you know.
How do I sign up?
Send Peter a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org to start booking your coaching sessions.
How do I pay?
After you send the mail, you will receive an email with a link to pay.
How do I book and reschedule sessions?
Once we’ve received your payment, Peter will contact you and book your coaching sessions. He will also support you with rescheduling sessions if needed.
What is your cancellation policy?
Individual coaching sessions can be postponed up to one week before the session.