Why I Became an Artist
Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.
Every time someone asks me how long I have been making art I say, "As long as I can remember!" following with the quote that Picasso said. In the culture that I grew up in there was an art class in every pre-school, elementary, jr. high, and high school grade. I was always surrounded by art in school. I am always refreshed by what I was creating when I go visit my parents. Most of the walls in their house are covered by art that I am so over, but as I grow older I find it as a reminder of where I came from. I look back and I see that I was always making something. That my parents supported me and encouraged me to keep drawing. Whether that was painting some plaster bowl with a christmas tree in it, or a dragon that somehow was missing the bottom half of its torso, or the cheetah that I spent ours drawing each spot and smudging every one with the side of my hand, I was always into something. Now, I would say that as you become an adult you have different ways of expressing yourself. You might be more meticulous than others, and some might be more abstract. I would say I was somewhere in the middle. I never made the perfectly straight lines but I scribbled enough to get what I was going for.
Art was a way for me to win the awards in school, so I kept doing it. I had a hundred kids in my class and I just happened to be a little farther ahead with transferring images to paper. I latched on to that security and praise and rode that wave all the way through jr. high and high school. All of those gold pin awards that someone would win for academics, I would win for my art. I had an excuse for my bad SAT and ACT scores, I was the artist. Heck, even I could draw hair when I was three years old!
I don't know if you can tell in this picture but I am a momma's boy. Apparently I couldn't decide what piece of hair to make her left arm... Hah!
Over the years I didn't have very much formal teaching but there were a few summer paint classes I took growing up and I remember meeting with an older teenager that told me, "You are so much better than I was at your age." Hearing encouragement like that had a big influence on me. I'm very thankful to have always had the support of my teachers and parents.
I always share with people how I used to go up in the attic when I was younger and watching my dad do these abstract color pastels. He has this box that I always thought was a gold mine with all of these dirty pastels, but he would pull one out start scraping them across a sheet of paper and color magically spread across the surface. Above are a few pieces that he did, sorry for the poor quality.
My mother was a hair stylist for many years and she also did film photography while I was in the peak of my growing years. I remember how passionate she was about going through her film slides with her magnifying eye piece and circling different slides she liked the most.
I ended up getting a fellowship scholarship to go study art in college but ended up dropping out because I didn't know why I was creating other than for myself. I got a studio and just created what I wanted to make and thought I would magically make art that said something. It has been a long growing process the past six years since then.
Art has always been a peaceful place for me. I go to it to express myself, to share my heart in ways that I can't put into words. Creating something gives me words to have a conversation with someone that I don't know. Art began as a curiosity and grew into a way to be acceptable. It then evolved into a way for me to express myself and connect to other people. It's how I reach people in ways that I would never have been able to. I have different experiences and see others around me experience things and I feel this obligation to help others see what I see when I'm dreaming. When I day dream it is this constant slideshow of images and little video clips playing. I used to day dream so much in high school that I used to get made fun of. I have so many things in this cloud in front of me that I have let the rain fall onto a canvas.
I have been reading a book by Gary A. Molander and he says, "Art finds its truest purpose when its creator attempts to make visible the invisible.... Love is an invisible concept. So is patience. So is forgiveness. In its purest form, art enables people to see love, to see patience, and to see forgiveness."
You and I understand that art can be used for so many different things and I'm sure there is so much commentary on it and discussion, but for me I want to use art as a way to help people see themselves and the world in a new light or remind them of something. Creating began as curiosity and a way to feel accepted, but now I see it as an obligation. As Molander says, "An artist is a heart condition, not a job." I don't care if I get rich being an artist. Yes, I want to support my family and be able to help others, but my heart connects to others through it. As the picture below shows, we have gold in our hearts. We have so much of it that we sometimes don't know what to do with it. It has been given to us and we are to let it flow through us. I sometimes don't know what to do with what I have been given. This gift of art. But I know that I am here to share it with you.
If you are interested in buying this print as a reminder to share the gold that is inside of you, it is available in my store.
If you have been holding back on creating something, do it. If you think it's too late to learn a craft, it's not. If you find peace and joy making something, share it. You never know who it might impact.
I have a question for you, what is holding you back? You have been gifted in some way that is meant to be shared with the world. Comment below and let me know.
Until next time,