Brian Cheung


Thoughts, photos and anecdotes from my travels through Norway, Scotland and Finland.


Today’s the last day of my stay here at Bressay, and on reflection I don’t quite know what to make of it. To say it was a total waste of time would be a lie, but I think I just had this expectation of hitting the ground running - happily churning out work like a machine for 30 uninterrupted days. There were so many distractions, and I never settled on some overarching theme or goal that allowed me to gain traction/momentum. People respond to pressure in different ways, and in the past when I’ve had my back to the wall I have been able to ‘get it together’. But being out here on my own with no one to bounce off of I reverted instead to curling up in a ball and procrastinating away the mounting feelings of pressure and expectation. It makes zero sense I know, but when has anything I’ve ever done made sense. 

The more time that passed the less I wanted to commit to anything, the less motivated I felt to work, and the worse I felt about my work. It was a bit of a downward spiral! I questioned why I was here, and I couldn’t find any answer more specific than just wanting to get out here. I need a sense of purpose, not necessarily a master plan laid out months in advance, but a reason and understanding as to why I’m doing this. 

It’s a funny thing when people gush over how much freedom I have to do as I please. But with all that ample space I can’t help but feel overwhelmed and completely unsure of what I want or how to get it. With nothing else going on here I think that doubt just took a hold and dragged me down. I have nothing waiting for me when I fly home in March, aside from whatever opportunities I’ve created for myself here. It’s a daunting thought, and something I absolutely need to face before I get on that plane. 

But I have to stay optimistic. In between packing I plan to smash out one more painting today, and think about what to start on at Sumburgh tomorrow. I’m writing this because I’m not happy with how I’ve made use of the last month, but in no way am I throwing in the towel. Things that go down must come up(?).

shetland, scotlandBrian Cheung