When I was seven years old, my second grade teacher handed me an assignment -tell me who you want to be when you grow up. I didn't know all the opportunities that were out there in the world, nor how I fit into it. All I wanted was something different than what I had, because I was already experiencing that. I grew up without a lot of money, so as you can see listed on my paper below, I wanted lots of money. I also wanted a good husband AND lots of boyfriends, ha ha, realistic expectations for sure. Did I become what my 2nd grade self wanted? No. Because this was somebody else I wanted to be, not who I actually am. Learning who I am and what I want to be is something that progresses over time.
I think we all have moments in life when we want to be someone other than who we are. We have an ideal what we should be, and of course, we have trouble reaching that. Becoming someone we are not is unrealistic, nor does it lead to happiness. So instead of reaching for someone else, we should try reaching to become better versions of ourselves.
The first step in becoming a better artist is the MOST IMPORTANT step. It's embracing who you are, so you can let your true art shine. Discovering who you are is a process, not something that happens over night. As an artist this means you will need to put in the time and experimentation needed to find what you enjoy creating. You need to feel comfortable with who you truly are, to be able to express that in your art. You also need to be secure in who you are to share it without fear and keep rejection from discouraging you.
Like modeling clay, we grow up being molded into what we, and others, think we should be. Through this process we learn how to survive in this world. But now is the time to take becoming yourself into your own hands, and mold into who you truly are.
Art is a form of expression, a way to speak, and a way to share yourself. If your speaking or expressing for someone else, who is going to share you? You and only you, can express yourself the best. When you realize you are in control of who you are, you can start a journey of finding your own unique expression. Like all artists before you, it was a journey of embracing their self, their passions, and sharing their unique self that made them the great artists we learn about today.
Being unique is a positive thing! We are not meant to be the same. Embracing this will give you more creative freedom. This freedom comes from tearing down the boundaries that restricted what we thought and felt inside, but were scared to express. What's inside of us does not change. It's the acceptance of our self that does. You are a sum of many different characteristics and this becomes a part of your unique expression.
This unique expression is what will make your art stand out and put you on the path to becoming a better artist. There is no need to try to be unique, you have always been and will always be different than every other person on this planet. You will find that you gravitate towards certain mediums, certain subjects, tools and colors. Embrace this and let go of the fear of what people will think.
There will always be negativity coming at you. This is just part of living in a world full of a variety of people. Art critics are just opinionated people that want to tell you how you should express yourself. Ignore these people trying to control you by telling you how you should create your art. First accept that you are different, love that, and you will gain the confidence you need to face critics without shrinking. Create from your heart, because you want to and for yourself because you love yourself. Not everyone will like it, who cares! No one likes everything and that makes this world full of variety. Let others be negative, thumbs you down, tell you what to do,...but don't let them affect you or change you.
Sharing your art takes bravery especially because it opens the doors for others to see you as you are. To be brave, know who you are and be happy with yourself, even in the process that is required for discovering yourself. We all have imperfections so knowing them and taking them with stride is how we keep them from taking us down.
Now that you have accepted who you are as an artist, it's time to take your art to the next level by learning skills, finding the art styles we gravitate towards and experimenting. This is a journey I will touch more on in my next post. Be sure to subscribe so we can go on a journey of becoming a better artist together. Meanwhile happy creating!