What Does Success in the Arts Look Like? - Interview IX with Jessica Kallage-Goetze

Jessica Kallage-Goetze - Artist

Jessica is based in Munich and works with a variety of materials ranging from glass, wax over plaster, just to mention a few. 

What are your thoughts on fame in the arts?

To be honest, I haven't thought much about it so far! It's a topic that might become more relevant in later days but at the moment it doesn't concern me much. I am actually wondering what fame is and who gets to define it? The definition in the German dictionary Duden says: „Fame is defined as highly acclaimed reputation, which a person enjoys by virtue of his outstanding performance and skills.“ 

What is your approach to rejection as a site of success?

I try to not take rejection and refusal personally as I really believe that art and life is like a wavy sea with ups and downs. If I'm lost, I show up again. What really matters to me is to stay centered and being true to myself. My most important core believe that keeps me going is: PERSISTENCE.

Any thoughts on income and financial stability and success?
A sentence from Saatchi crosses my mind: "„[...]Beeing a good artist is the toughest job you could pick,  and you have to be a little nuts to take it on.“*

*(Quote about artists from: My Name Is Charles Saatchi and I Am An Artoholic, p. 66, Phaidon: 2009.)

Jessica Kallage-Goetze, Humo Bulla

Jessica Kallage-Goetze, Humo Bulla

Do you have role models for success and who are they?

There are certainly role models that I can think about. People whose art I admire or whose lives inspire me, and whose path I find sort of exemplary. In consideration of our recent times I feel also close to institutions and people who make an appearance outside the popular paths, outside of the mainstream and chose to work there. These people resonate with me and have been guiding stars on my believe system. To mention just a few names wouldn't do justice to all the people who I leave out, but to name a few examples: Eva Hesse, Alicja Kwade, Sibylle Peretti, Kiki Smith, Norbert Prangenberg, Caspar David Friedrich, Jackson Pollock are certainly people who have influenced me during my lifetime. I'll add one more person from the past who is at the moment often on my mind: Alexander von Humboldt.

How do you define success in the arts?

I think that first of all success in the arts equates to fame, meaning that others notice what you do or which ideas you are developing. For me personally, success in art doesn't only translate into fame and recognition. It's not that I am opposed to this definition, but there are so many artists that are unknown to the general public and not present in the art market, whose work would deserve to be recognized. In my my opinion we should detach success from its mere definition based on the external evaluation of others. Everyone should define for himself what success is and not rely on external definitions. To me success means, growth through many small steps.

To be more concrete, this can mean to complete a sculpture, or a leap in my artistic practice, an artistic residency in another country.  In General, success is to have the opportunity to be able to work in a concentrated and focused environment. Where observation and experimentation are the major methods, leading to innovation and development. Time is essential for success, you need time and courage to keep going.

Your thoughts on success in the arts and race/gender?

Oh no... I can't help myself but I absolutely detest the word gender... I really believe that we are all deeply connected and equal in the core. We have an almost identical gene code and currently scientific experts assume that we have the same ancestors. In our deepest self we are related to chimpanzees who liked to draw in the dirt with a stick.

Jessica Kallage-Goetze, Schaukelnde

Jessica Kallage-Goetze, Schaukelnde

What advice on success would you give your 18-year-old self?

Focus on your inner self and try to escape every now and then from the the acceleration of progress, in order to slow down a little.

Read a lot... about society, culture and nature. Try to travel a lot and learn to understand the country and people. Each trip will enrich you and broaden your horizon.

Another good advice would be: keep your idealism like a friend for life and the honor your creativity.

This interview is part of an ongoing series. Have a look at the others: