Work Story: Drawing Happy Birthday Monika

Monika wrote me that she wishes to be happy more often than unhappy!

Happy Birthday Monika

This drawing I drew on a Nefit Bosch tear-off paper block. The block consisted of forty sheets of paper (when I started the project). And has a postcard size (14,63 x 10,46 cm (5.76 x 4.12 in).

Monika wrote me that she wishes to be happy more often than unhappy! What a real wish this is and so relatable. ❤️ And it was a delight for me to draw her this drawing. I felt such good energy while drawing and thinking about her wish. And I hope this energy comes through via this drawing.— Wishing that Monika can be happy more often (than unhappy). 

Monika is also a contemporary artist, and she had sent me a fantastic photo of herself multiplied. She holds her hand next to her mouth. A gesture we know from when a person is whispering something or is trying to make what they are saying heard better. As the receiver of her photo, I can see she is saying something. But I cannot hear what she is saying.

In itself, this photo looks easygoing and funny. Monika wears a colorful blouse. Her hair is tight up in a knot, and her blue eyes pop up from her face. But I feel the photo might be deeper than this first impression. 

While preparing for the drawing, I googled Monika to get to know more about her. And to check out her art. And I came across a short documentary by RD Productions about Monika and her work. 

Monika has impaired hearing, and later in life, regained a part of her hearing by receiving hearing aids. She explains that this changed her perception of the world. This translates back into her art. And with this, lets us too, see and hear this connection of the senses. 

The colors in the drawing are intense and boldly alive. And I have pierced Monika’s ears with little earring-like hearts.—Like jewelry. And one of the Monika’s in the drawing, I drew one of her ears as a heart. She has found a way to use her uniqueness and to translate this into art. I have respect and love for this strength of hers.

I have divided the drawing into two parts. One bigger, left part (2/3 of the paper), where we see five happy Monika’s. And a smaller right strip (1/3 of the paper) with one Monika in the rain of unhappiness, less bright, a gray blouse, and with her hair, less perky. 

These Monika’s are facing each other, divided by a words border of Happy Birthday. But they could also be in dialogue. The Monika’s on the left, supported by a wall of the words Happy. Which, they voice to the somber Monika on the right. 

How does Monika talk to herself? What is her learning method? Does the Monika on the right listen to the Monika’s on the left? So that she can have more happy days (than unhappy days)?

Monika herself has the power to create this new reality. And I think she is already doing it. For her twenty-seventh birthday, she has allowed herself a drawing made especially for her with attention and love.

Today, 4 August 2021, Monika celebrates her twenty-seventh birthday. I wish for Monika that she can always find a way to encourage herself. And that she will be happy more often than unhappy!

 Happy Birthday, Monika. I wish you: More happiness always.

The Happy Birthday Drawings are part of an ongoing art project, where I make small drawings for people for their birthdays. 

I then send them a YouTube video. In where I sing Happy Birthday and show their Happy Birthday drawing. And I send an email with the digital version of the Happy Birthday drawing.

Would you also like to have a drawing made for you on your birthday? 

Then please email me: 

⟶ Your day of birth 

⟶ How old you are going to be (optional)

⟶ A photo of you (optional)

⟶ What your birthday wish is (optional)


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