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Having a birthday at 57 is a bit strange, the balloons and clowns from my youth have long gone, and so are my aspirations to conquer the world. A birthday in older age can sometimes be frustrating, for me it’s a call for reflection: what have I done for real this year, in what way did I enhance the people I love, what changed in me and what did I manage to share with others, have they gone unnoticed this year?

As an artist the worst thing is to be unnoticed - to create, exhibit, teach, sell and still be unnoticed. From the many travels I had lately the common thread of many artists’ comments is about their current situation, their quest to bridge the gap between anonymity and recognition.


It’s July 2014, two days after my birthday, I am in Berlin now. I made a decision that I’ll buy myself for each birthday, a month in which I will do whatever I want. Last year I spent a month in Kathmandu, next year I would like to taste Korea.


My reflection about this past year is that there were too many times I wasn’t at all autonomous in my decision making, too many interferences in the artistic and creative process, even in my studio the time I really spent in creating is 10% so I took the computer out of the studio. Emails - kaput - means more quality and creation time. 

One of my reflections was that I am not afraid anymore to say I don t know. When I was young I was sure I knew everything. My family got angry when I got lost in London but I refused to ask for directions. Not anymore. The notion that the older I get the less I know hit me when a young scholar in Izmir explained Sufism to me. If something comes out naturally with no effort or conviction there should be certain truth in it.


 From this understanding emerged the fact that I am trying to say yes more in my life than no. When teaching art I say to the students that the no is always there in order to turn it into a yes, an action is needed and before the action you need a motive and a thought. So if you want to exhibit in a museum and the current situation is that the answer is no, you can research the museum’s goals, recent exhibitions, its curators and their likes. Maybe you can prepare a proper paper that would catch their attention.


Saying yes more than no is a way of life, openness and sharing in life as in the art world enhances human relations and brings boon to all participants.


This is what I wish for myself and all of you, the readers of this short reflection, that we will be more where our heart and natural talent lie and to share our experiences with others.


Have magic in your life

Ted Barr, Berlin, July 2014



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