Iris van den Akker

I’ve always loved drawing for therapeutic purposes. Whenever I’m feeling down, or melancholic, or extremely happy, I try to portray that feeling visually. It’s a way for me to communicate to the outside world how I feel, but mainly to myself. I sometimes don’t understand my own feelings or where they are coming from, and I need to take a moment to understand what they are and how I should act on them.

When I drew this picture, I’ve already felt this particular way a couple of times in my life. Once when I was 18 and moved from a tiny village to a bigger city to study. Then again five years later, when I was done studying, and I took on a job in a large company in Amsterdam. Every single time, I’m so scared. I’m a shy girl by heart and very reluctant to change. But I’m even more scared of standing still.

It’s very important to me to keep growing and evolving and therefore, I work hard on myself and my skills. It’s very easy to sit back once you’ve settled in somewhere comfortable, and I definitely enjoy my own achievements. But if my situation stays the same for a longer period, I know it’s time to find ways to improve myself. I get this feeling of outgrowing my situation, like a plant in a pot that is too small. It needs repotting, and so do I.

I was always interested in visual metaphors, and I keep practicing the way I communicate visually. To portray my feelings is a great exercise: if people immediately understand the emotion, you’ve done it right.

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