One of the most critical roles that I see an artist (and thus myself) having, is that of an observer. My experiences and the knowledge I gain should feed into my work in some way. After a period of intense creativity we might feel a little empty, that's when I know it's time to charge myself with those fresh experiences, so when I go back to the studio the taps can flow again.
I have been making this balance between observation/absorption and creativity a very conscious life choice, particularly over the past 6 years since moving my studio to Athens. I do not work solidly in my studio 12 months of the year. I try to allocate a substantial amount of time every year on travelling, volunteering and other practices such as meditation, or a combination.
Volunteering in particular is something which balances me a huge amount. Contrary to what one might imagine, it is not an act which makes me feel as though I am 'giving' but in contrast I feel of all the things I do to balance myself outside my studio it is the one thing where I feel I am truly 'receiving' the most.
After an intense summer ending a long creative cycle, I felt it was certainly that time of year to recharge and be the observer first and foremost again. After spending some time in Cyprus (where I am from), I decided to enrol as a volunteer in Samos as a carer for unaccompanied minors (refugees who have arrived in Samos, unaccompanied by an adult, and under the age of 18). It has been a life changing experience. The love I have received from these children has been priceless, their unconditional affection and complete lack of any judgement has been an invaluable gift to me. The Christmas holidays are coming up and I look forward to going home to Athens, I've missed my Goddess city. Come 2019, I am looking forward to my next creative cycle.
Psili Ammos, Samos