One Year Anniversary

It feels like a new cycle is starting. A year ago, I decided to launch this blog, and I’ve been thrilled by what it brought me so far. Happy anniversary to TheMoonsTheyChange!

If I’m being completely honest though, the idea of having a blog came from a sad realization: my artist website had become rather lifeless and inactive, and I disliked the overall static impression it made. Indeed, in the last five years I took my time to explore new media (painting canvases, going back to weaving) and I worked mostly alone on several projects, without necessarily wanting to expose them yet.

On the one hand, not having pressure to work fast enabled me the necessary time to deepen my work, learn new techniques and experiment with them. On the other hand, being alone made me slowly distance myself. Over the years, I became a bit of a cavewoman, spending my days in the studio, working like a little ant and having conversations with imaginary friends – often times from cultural radio programmes on France Inter. A part of me loved that peace of mind. And yet, I started having doubts about my choices.

This is how my website slowly became inactive. One could think that when a website is not updated, it is on the contrary a good sign – a sign of being too busy in the real world! But this is not the only reason and looking back, I realize that I must have wanted to take some distance from the art world. Indeed, the secrecy and the general mistrust that can be felt among artists made me uncomfortable. Part of it, I feel, can be explained by the general anxiety of many artists to expose their works: maybe it will be too late – What if someone had the same idea and worked faster?; or too early – Is there an audience ready for this?

These doubts often result in developing an attitude where it’s preferable to be mysterious and avoid talking about our art, at all. So, in order to keep control over our works (and limit the risks of being revealed or even copied!), we suspect everybody to potentially one day be talking too much to the wrong person… and by doing so, harming our chances of success. So we carefully hand-pick the ears and eyes that will witness the stages of our process and inevitably limit the amount of potential relations that could emerge. This also leads to building relationships based on strategy and calculation over welcoming open and spontaneous connections.

The Ceilings Are No Good for My Feelings, 2018-19
Staples on polystyrene ball

Writing this text brings back bittersweet memories. I realize how people that I thought were trustworthy managed to “steal” my work in some way or another. Indeed after my BA studies, I applied for jobs in many fashion or design companies who, after an enthusiastic interview, would only propose me internships. These were unpaid or paid the strict minimum allowed by law (when I was paid at all), in other words just enough for food expenses. I was young, and craving for experiences in my field, a field that I was discovering with a share of mixed feelings. By the end, I worked mainly for free for almost two years.

Saying that, these internships enabled me to travel: I worked in London, Paris, Como and Brussels, and I was never asked to make coffee or photocopies! But, I was asked to push myself sometimes to the limit and to be totally available and devoted, sharing my original ideas freely without considering the consequences. For example, I remember once showing my portfolio to the textile head of Kenzo, who flickered through my woven samples with a cigarette in her hand, confusing my book for an ashtray. Along the same lines, I had painted some prints for a fashion designer hoping to have them bought, only to discover them in her shop-window six months later.

And so, when the Tel Aviv Museum (see Wild Growths) made it clear that they would not acquire the pieces of my year-long installation in their premises, I started to recognize a pattern. Even though there were no promises as such – the deal was that they would pay only for the transportation of these monumental pieces – a part of me hoped that I would have a better experience in an art institution.

It’s therefore no coincidence that after that, I felt the need to distance and protect myself from the art world while continuing to create at my own rhythm. Funnily enough I was already quite isolated when Covid-19 struck! And as much as I had needed this time alone, the newly imposed restrictions provoked some kind of internal resistance.

charcoal on paper, 2011

Sometimes, looking for straight paths can take longer than following our hearts. This last year and a half, I have learnt to be more at peace with myself. I was ready to listen, to lower the expectations, to be humbler. I began seeing some beauty in the process too, in the little victories. For example, I feel so much pleasure and excitement when I finish writing a text for this blog. It isn’t a big thing like preparing a show or even finishing a painting, but it’s very rewarding since it touches people straight away. Readers react, and some even tell me how, through a text, I give them food for thought for the day. This immediate response is refreshing.

I guess launching a blog was a response to the lack of contact around my art. The previous imaginary discussions found a voice in these texts. Moreover, writing this blog made me spend more time looking at my pieces and emphasized the desire to share them with others in all simplicity. I therefore worked for the past few weeks on reviving and updating my website. And I am excited to finally associate this blog to my “reborn” artist-website.

I invite you to go from here to the paintings, other works and exhibitions sections and even find a piece to purchase… who knows? Enjoy the visit!

Shana Tova to all, let us be surprised by this new coming year!

Love, Ethel

2 thoughts on “One Year Anniversary”

  1. Je suis contente de te lire, dans cette matinée oú le soleil brille dans mon salon et où mon esprit voudrait vaquer et ignorer la chaise, le bureau et l’écran dans la pièce à côté. C’est très agréable de lire tes écrits, il y a comme un rythme, un doux chemin, que j’ai l’impression de comprendre intimement. Une tasse de thé parfumé que je bois en ta compagnie, en silence tranquillement.

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