The hardest part of being an artist is not feeling like one.
Deep down, I wonder every day if I’m a ‘real’ artist. I don’t live and breathe my work. Heck, sometimes I go a week without drawing (though I’m miserable during that week). I don’t smoke or do drugs or wear vintage, paint-splattered clothes like artists should. And yet, here I am, selling my artwork like a ‘real’ artist.
This fear (and that’s honestly what it is) started in art school. I worked in a medium no one else did with a subject matter that didn’t convey a political or social message or a historical nod to long-dead artists. Heck, it didn’t even express some sort of dark, inner underside of me. In other words, my art told a childish story; my art was a joke. A joke the teachers didn’t know what to do with.
I was passed around, pushed toward other media, and told to get ‘serious.’ But I couldn’t. For some reason, I loved the way I worked. I graduated and then, unlike most art students, I started a business selling my work (I have a promise to my business-major mother to thank for that). Yet, even that accomplishment didn’t make the feeling that I was a fake go away.
For months I feared I’d wake up and everyone would have realized and have boycotted my shop. Orders would stop and I’d have to go back to retail or something equally awful.
I still get that fear inside of me when I have a week without a sale. But I realized, in one of those epiphany moments after I’d been crying (yes, honestly crying) because nothing seemed to be going right, that I was made to do this.
The universe designed me to create artwork.
My stubby fingers are shaped for a pen and my near-sightedness is perfect for my love of detail. My addiction to reading gives me endless inspiration. And my overactive imagination gives me the power to create new stories (along with horrible nightmares, but that’s another story).
So, you see, whether I’m a ‘real’ artist or not doesn’t matter because I’m doing what I was made to do. I was made to make people laugh with my silly, old-fashioned, pen and ink drawings.
Do you ever feel like you’re not a ‘real’ artist or knitter or writer or PR person? If so, ask yourself if you were made for it.