I’ve always wanted to be one. Since I was Kindergarten drawing Rescue Rangers when I was supposed to be practicing my letters to elementary school when I drew, in my own opinion, the best poster sized Ninja Turtle print I’d ever seen, all the way to my college years when I bought a ton of stuff to attend my first art class. What did all of that get me? Questions.
Honestly, the biggest bruise to my ego was that first art class when I walked in thinking that my shit didn’t stink and that I would easily be the best in the class. Literally the lady next to me, who’d been doing original artwork on her own as far back as I had been drawing existing cartoon characters was LIGHT YEARS ahead of me in pure talent. It deflated me, and it was the best thing that’s ever happened to me as an artist. I wound up asking myself “Am I really an artist of a pretender?”
Some of you know that I started taking pictures because of this class. I needed a way to keep up with the life drawing and so I’d take a picture of someone and draw that. Not exactly “life” drawing I know but it opened me up to a whole new avenue of art that I’d eventually adopt as the way I wanted to be an artist.
Fast forward a whole bunch of years and I find myself back at the question that I had the first day of that class. “Am I really an artist or a pretender?”
I love being a Photographer and I mean LOVE. It’s one of the biggest accomplishments of my young life. To find something that draws infinite happiness without reservation. However, I still want to be an Artist. I don’t mean a pencil and paper “Traditional” Artist, that particular dream has long passed. I’m talking about using what I love to produce art that I can be proud of.
I very recently had a talk with another artist who’s followed my work for some time. He mentioned to me that my work years ago was more artistic than what I do today and I found myself apologizing. It actually shook me a bit. I’ve felt the same way for a long time but hearing it from someone else really took me aback. I spent a few days thinking about it, I even went back into my archive and looked at my old work. Then I started to think, what I did yesterday is what I did yesterday. I’m still capable of that work, more so now that I’ve learned new things but what I do today isn’t any less art. I still pour everything that I love into it, every shred of knowledge and experience, every bit of my attention and creativity. Isn’t that what an Artist is by definition?
I’ll say this before I start ranting. I’m happy with what I’m doing. I never should have apologized for the course that my art has taken. Art appeals to everyone differently and I really lost sight of that for a moment. I do consider myself an Artist. I do appreciate that people who work with me may want one style of art over another. It’s just the nature of people. Tomorrow is another day, and with that brings another client with another vision and imagination. Art is subjective. But…if you’re paying. I’ll be whatever Artist you want me to be :p