So ivorylungs started this meme of sorts to inspire young artists, and I had to participate because of how much I’ve struggled as an artist.
First, I should start by saying that I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with art. I love it and at the same time I’m SO incredibly hard on myself for every imperfection that it also brings extreme anxiety to me. Which is one of the reason I LOVE fanart because that anxiety isn’t as present as with my original work. But I digress. In high school all my friends were artists, and they were better than me. I compared myself to them CONSTANTLY. It made me miserable as an artist. I couldn’t even enjoy it. This persists somewhat to this day. Making art is almost a compulsion for me, but because of the relationship that I set up for myself with it starting in high school it’s not a love. Not like it should be. I lost myself along the way and sometimes I think I create because I keep hoping I’ll make something I love…something to top the last thing I made, and it never happens. Don’t compare yourself to other artists. It will do you no favors. Look at lots of art, love it, be inspired by it but never allow yourself to fall into the trap of feeling discouraged by it. I wonder how much more I could do as an artist if this fear didn’t hold me back. Because it will hold you back.
Second. Be very aware of how you handle critique. I almost quit art all together after my first semester of the BFA program in college. I went into a critique that left me feeling so discouraged and worthless as an artist. I believe the word “disgusting” was used towards one of my pieces. Why? Because I was a beginning oil painter and my piece was too dry. Believe me, in the art world the mentality isn’t to lift you up. If you stumble they believe it’s because you never had what it takes in the first place. It’s a cut throat world, and you have to be your biggest fan. So if you want to go to art school…learn how to love the process. Learn how to love to create. Because if you’re too worried about the finished product, if you put your self worth in your finished product art school will be so much harder than it needs to be. Love your peers work, and love your own.
Third: It’s okay to feel like something isn’t good enough. It’s okay to feel like a piece didn’t work. But I guarantee you learned something from making it. I scrap so much of my work, and that’s okay! Not everything is going to be your best piece. Being an artist is a journey and you’ll have highs and lows. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Know what I learned from that piece that was so disgusting to my professor? I don’t paint well on a small canvas! In fact I paint better on wood….6 feet tall by 4 feet wide? That’s the size I paint best in! experiment! Make enjoying art your highest priority because you’ll lose your love of it if you don’t.