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How My Day Looks? An interview for NOAR.eu

Liis Koger, a poetess and artist living in Tartu is known for her abstract paintings. Her artwork has been shown at several international exhibitions, auctions and charity events, and next time her paintings will be shown in Italy. What are the daily routines and sources of inspiration for the talented artist?

Profession or calling in life: an artist and a mother

Age: 30

My ideal morning… starts at 5 a.m. I drink a cup of coffee, meditate, set my mind for the day, organize my daily routine, and then myself. I don’t do makeup, but the skincare routine itself is thorough. Then I’ll see if there are any urgent emails and have breakfast. If there’s time left, I’ll do some reading.

The day goes on… The children wake up at 7. At 8 am I take the older (4 years old) one to kindergarten and with the younger (2 years old) we go to the park, from where we return at 9.30 am. Then I start answering e-mails, dealing with the website and social media. I pack and ship artworks as needed. I plan exhibitions, organize transport, write texts and coordinate everything necessary. I discuss some future plans with the galleries and write invoices, do accounting. After that, I’ll take a look if there are any new things needed – usually materials, but recently, the company logo needed an update – or if there are any unusual visits to do in the afternoon (eg to a construction supply store). The child is looking at iPad and there is nothing to do.

At 12 we have lunch, at 13 my 2-year old takes a nap. During 13-15 I create and paint and my phone is on the “airplane mode”, so it is impossible to reach me. After waking up, the kid, Ekke, has late lunch, by which time I am already taking pictures of the new paintings and setting them up on the website, handing over the packed works to the courier, making the necessary changes on the website and making sure everything is up to date and no urgent e-mails or calls are left unanswered. At 4.30 pm we go to pick up Oskar from the kindergarten, then it is a park and/or city time. At 7 o’clock we will return, have dinner, play games. Bathing time after 8 and going to bed by 9 pm.

On weekends… I do not rest. I drive once a week, with the children, to Tallinn and back (we live in Tartu) – I also have a babysitter there, whom I use in an inevitable case – if I have to negotiate, do a wall-painting, or have arrangements regarding exhibitions, etc. There is always a reason to bring something to Tallinn or vice versa. I would be needing to sign something or painting's edges need colouring or something like that.

I paint and work also during weekends, I have never had a vacation and I can’t and don’t want to spend my time doing nothing useful.

Stress is caused… by the body. In most cases, this is well managed if the person is able to control their emotions (which should be a natural skill). My Garmin watch shows, for example, that after a glass of wine, my body’s stress level is higher than it is in a mentally stressful situation. This means that in fact, consuming / doing things that are physically harmful to the body is more dangerous than overworking / sleeping a little.

But everyday little things can still be annoying, for example, if the iPhone 11 Pro screen breaks when it falls on the floor for the 57th time and the next screen change time is Monday and then you have a week, when you have to do things with broken glass, or when a handbag falls from shoulder to hit baby’s nose (when trying to clean up all the ice cream on his face) or the stroller cannot stay put together because the wheels do not lock and it falls AGAIN against the shopping bag, breaking the eggs, and so on.

I am motivated.. by biographies. For example: Elton John’s “Me” and Keith Richards’ “Life”.

I gain inspiration more.. from music and literature than from visual art. I also get a lot of inspiration from nature. And often – or rather? – I am not “extracting” it, it is “being given”. For a really long time, I didn’t sign my paintings as it was weird for me to do so. It wasn’t until this year when I started signing my artworks. It means that for about 13 years I didn’t do it.

Photo: Ruudu Rahumaru

My role models: I really like this profile of Oprah on Instagram, where she is following: 0.

Favourite musicians: From Estonian musicians, Riho Sibul. Last spring, the duo JOYGUNS of Eplik-Võigemast gave a very good concert at Endla Theater. Foreign favourites include David Gilmour, Jeff Beck, Joni Mitchell, Bryan Ferry, Eric Clapton, Leonard Cohen, David Bowie, Michel Legrand, Kris Kristofferson, Johnny Cash, Jerry Garcia, Patti Smith, Creedence, Led Zeppelin, King Crimson, CREAM… Okay, there are lots of them. Pink Floyd definitely. Procol Harum. The Pogues. Peter Gabriel.

A song I would prefer to end the day: “The Power Of Love” – Frankie Goes To Hollywood.

Favourite Book: There are many. Some: “The Forty Rules Of Love: A Novel Of Rumi” by Elif Shafak; “Silk” Alessandro Baricco; “The Magus” John Fowles; “The Eight Faces of Lake Biwa” by Max Dauthendey; “Written on the Body” by Jeanette Winterson; “The Prophet” Kahlil Gibran; "The Book of San Michele" by Axel Munthe; “The Mists of Avalon” Marion Zimmer Bradley. All books by Gabriel García Márquez. Then, I would name Timut Vermes’s “Look Who's Back” for humour category and Artur Alliksaar for poetry category. And Richard Bach’s “Jonathan Livingston Seagull” for children category.

The world would be a better place if people were smarter.

But I believe that the world is already a place good enough, there is no need to “make it better” in any way.

It’s just more pleasant to be amongst people if they are kind – maybe more responsible, taking others into consideration, the idea of this beginning of the sentence leads you there. There is nothing wrong with the world and fortunately, you can escape from annoying people.

My superpower: multitasking, obviously.

My work can be seen next... at the AIAPI (Associazione Internazionale Arti Plastiche Italia) and UNESCO collaboration exhibition Human Rights. The Future’s Shape: Women Can Save The World. Curator: Roberto Ronca. 29.08-4.10.2020 – Campana dei Caduti Foundation, Rovereto, Trento, Italy.