The Heroine’s Journey of Vera Jochum

What is the best thing I love about my work?

The independence and freedom it gives me. The possibility to create something new every day.  Even the word work is not chosen correctly, because it associates something that you have to do. The only aspect that means something like work to me is the administrative and organizational part of being an artist.

What is my idea of happiness?

Leaving aside the big, always mentioned areas of happiness, like health, family, friends, for me happiness is something that often shows itself in tiny things or moments. It can be a ray of sunlight stroking my cheek or a child’s laughter, but also quite profanely an ice-cold glass of white wine on a table where people I like to spend time with are sitting. Happiness often doesn’t show itself in grand gestures.

What is my greatest fear?

Not being able to do what I love any more. That is actually one of my biggest fears besides the wellbeing of family, friends and myself.

What is the trait I regret most about myself?

Impatience. Impatience both with myself and with others. I wish I had more serenity

Which living persons in my profession do I admire most?

I really don’t want to single out anyone. There are so many outstanding artists that it is impossible for me to single anyone out. I admire the courageous ones who go their way with passion.

What is my greatest extravagance?

I am not an extravagant person. I would rather call it quirkiness in myself.  When I’m passionate about something, I’m 100% passionate about it. Then I have to stop myself from immediately buying professional equipment.

On what occasion would I lie?

Only if the truth would hurt a person in an unvarnished way. But even that is only for insignificant things. For really important things, you have to be prepared to tell the truth. Flattery does not help anyone in these cases.  It is a misconception to think that one would not lie oneself.  We cannot always say what we think unfiltered, although this happens to me often enough.

What is the thing I detest most about my work?

The office work and also that there are so many dubious offers on the art market. Galleries from all over the world contact you and want that you pay  to show your paintings virtually. Then they want to collect again if, contrary to expectations, something is sold. I would like to find a serious gallery to work with someday.

When and where was I happiest in my work?

Whenever I stand in my studio and a work develops exactly as I had imagined it. Of course, this feeling of happiness is topped by the fact that others see it the same way. And a real high for any artist is of course when appreciation of your work culminates in a purchase of one of your artworks.

If I could, what would I change about myself?

Oh, the 10 sentences probably wouldn’t be enough.  I would change everything and ultimately probably nothing. Anything I would change would take me away from the person and what I do. It would affect the choices that got me here and I doubt any of it would make me more satisfied or happy

What has been my greatest success at work?

What really surprised me, and still surprises me to this day, is the success and encouragement I receive on social media with my work. Not that I can buy anything for it, but I have met so many, talented, highly interesting people all over the world through it, which I would not have been able to do without this success. I wouldn’t want to miss that in any case.

Where would I most like to live?

I would love to live by the sea. That has always been my dream. However, I am so rooted here that this will probably never be an option for me.

If I could afford it, I would buy a house near the beach and spend a large part of the year there, inviting all my friends to visit me.

What is my most precious possession?

My family.  It’s not a possession, but it’s the most valuable thing I have in the world.

What is my most distinctive quality?

Ambition. When I want to do something, I fiddle until I can do it. And selfishness. But not in a negative sense. I can only be there for others if I am doing well for myself. That also means saying no sometimes, even if it’s hard. Taking care of ourselves is something we should not neglect.

What is the place in my city that inspires me the most?

There is an old castle ruin in the middle of our village. The Kerpen Castle in Illingen. It is always fascinating to imagine the hustle and bustle and life in these old walls. It’s also a wonderful place to linger.

Where do I prefer to eat and drink in my city?

Definitely, at my place. But right after that comes the restaurant L’Aubergine, owned by a good friend and where my eldest daughter is the chef. You have to go a long way to find a better selection of food and wine.

Which books have influenced my life and how?

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

This series of books by Douglas Adams, originally written as a radio play for the BBC, captivated me from the first moment. So abstruse and over-the-top and overflowing with imagination. Of course, this is not classic world literature, but I am also inspired by lovingly oblique narrative prose.

You only die once. What music would I listen to on my last day?

“Element of Crime” and “The Eels”. Both bring enough melancholy and poetry to suit the occasion.

Who is my hero or heroine in fiction?

I don’t tend to admire heroes. But I am most likely to admire a character who succeeds in making his or her way despite all the adversities of life.

Who are my heroes and heroines in real life?

My heroes are people like you and me. Life and everyday life demand so much of us, and all those who manage to cope despite all the adversities are heroes to me. Hospital staff, firefighters, single parents…. I could continue this list endlessly. 

What film would I recommend seeing once in your life?

“The Fabulous World of Amelie” It’s beautiful narrative cinema and the soundtrack is wonderful.

What role do stories play in my life and work?

A big one! I love a good story, and when they inspire me, they unconsciously flow into my work as well.

What do the words “You are the storyteller of your own life” mean to me?

Clearly the same as “You are the creator of your own happiness” We are responsible for ourselves. As I wrote above, we have to take care of ourselves. Who should do that if not ourselves? It is the same in other areas of our lives. You have to actively respond and act on it. Waiting for others to do it for us cannot be the plan. 

Who is my biggest fan, supporter, accomplice?

My grandson Ben. At 3 years old, he really is the biggest fan I have.

Which people or companies would I like to work with in 2021/2022?

I don’t want to name anyone here. I would like to find a reputable art agent or gallery to work with.

Which people from my profession who can really make a difference to my creative career would I like to meet in 2021/2022?

No one special. My mind is open for every really serious and interesting collaboration.

What project in 2021/2022 am I looking forward to working on?

I have just opened a solo exhibition in Ettlingen in Baden-Württemberg. Furthermore, I’m in the process of promoting a wall calendar with 13 prints of my work.  

Where can you see me or my work in 2021?

Until 09 October my work can still be seen in the gallery WerkStadt in Ettlingen.  Apart from that, I don’t have any plans for this year, except for smaller presentations of my work around here and it’s always possible to visit my studio

What do the words “Passion Never Retires” mean to me?

The feeling of being alive.  Only those who feel passion can feel life pulsating.

Which creative people should Peter invite to tell their story?

This is a series about talented women, so I’m naming a few women I’d like to know more about Anita Ognjanovska, Instagram:  @anitaognjanovska, a Macedonian abstract artist. Rita Bernstein, Instagram: @ritabernstein, I think she’s a really interesting storyteller and I’d love to learn more about her and last but not least Carola Kastman, Instagram: @carola_kastman, I really like this consistent style and darkness in her work.

How can you contact me?

The easiest way is linktr.ee/vjochum  or @jochumvera on Instagram

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