You heard it here first, I’ve been fooling everyone. I’m a fake.
I’ve copied everything I’ve ever done from other people. I mean, I didn’t even know how to walk on my own. I watched my parents do it and thought, “hey I can do that!” I learned how to walk, talk, dress, and eat from those chumps, can you believe it? Hehe… suckers.
Obviously I’m being facetious, but I have a point. Tell me one thing, just ONE THING, that you learned how to do 100% in your own power. It’s a fact of life that we learn how to survive from our predecessors. We learn about the world, our culture, and our beliefs from our families. We don’t just paint our own canvas from scratch, there are layers upon layers, centuries of learning, that we can’t even see.
Show me a teenager who was born wearing punk/goth/emo/insert-current-trend-here clothing. Who didn’t have that first day where they were sure everyone was going to find out that they were just faking it. Sure, maybe there is the odd case where a kid was raised in a household full of goths/punks/whatevers, but I think most of us would agree that is the rare exception and not the rule.
So where do we all learn this “imposter” theory, this “poser” theory that says if we are not fully committed to a thing and it wasn’t tattooed on our bones at the age of 6 that we are somehow less than worthy. Don’t we all start somewhere?
As an artist, I’m constantly thinking thoughts like this. “I’m not as good as they are, what am I doing here?” “Why am I posting my work when it’s clearly not at the right level?” “I can’t make tutorials when my work looks like this!”
Again. We all start somewhere. An artist isn’t born an artist, I don’t care what anybody says. Maybe some children show interest/aptitude early on, but of course how their parents react and accommodate that can play a huge factor. There is no fetus that can draw a photo-realistic portrait, know what I’m saying? (But boy, wouldn’t that be an interesting ultrasound?)
Artists are a wildly self-concious bunch and self-criticism is a common complaint I see among many of them. Budding Picassos excitedly put paintbrush to canvas, only to realize that a blind squirrel could stumble through paint and make a better piece. A brave few decide to press on, and maybe even have enough courage to show other people the art that they are making. We know we are not masters, but we are excited that we created something.
Why can’t we just keep being excited about creating things? Why does there always have to be this deluge of criticism and judgement of whether we are truly artists? Artists are people who create things. People who make things that would otherwise not exist. Maybe my definition didn’t come from Webster’s, but this isn’t a graduation speech anyway.
I create things. I am an artist. Maybe not by your definition (and if that be the case, kindly stop reading my blog, please and thank you), but I want to own that label. We don’t need labels to make us happy, but I’m tired of feeling like I can’t call myself something I love. Being an artist, and calling myself out as such, helps me feel more like me.
At some point I drew in stick figures. I am slightly better than that now, and I will continue to draw those exemplary human-ish representations until they are even better than they are currently. I might have a long way to go (and I may never catch up to that en utero DaVinci) but if I stop creating things I’m pretty sure something inside of my head will explode or implode or make a general mess of your carpet.