When I was little, I thought being an artist was the end all be all. That artists were like royalty. We had a family friend who was an artist, Fred Petrosky, and he was almost a celebrity in Northern Michigan. I thought he was the coolest thing since sliced bread.
I was very, very shy as a child and throughout high-school. I’ve been creating art since as long as I can remember, but I always felt so intimidated to show it to others. In highschool, I took all the art classes they offered, but whenever I would bring something home, I would hide it so that no one would see. Strange, I know. There were a few exceptions. I wasn’t scared to show my art in art class, I suppose because I was with others of “my kind.” And, I did enter three student art shows that our local credit union put on, winning several first and second place prizes. I suppose it was that I loved art so incredibly much, that I held it in such a high regard that I felt like I was either an imposter to the art world, or that I would be seen as an outsider among my peers.
One thing was for certain, I definitely never had the galls to call myself an artist. There were a few instances where I was asked if I was an artist, and I fumbled for words…”uh, no, not really, well…uh, no, I guess not.” But deep down, I really wanted to be. I really wanted to shout, “Yes! I am an artist! That’s me! That’s what I’ve always dreamed of being!”
Saturday night, I had my first opening night for an art exhibit that I have ever had as an adult. I have one painting in a gallery, amongst a slew of very talented people, a few of which are well-known around my area. It took a lot of guts on my behalf to even enter a piece of my art into a real, live gallery, and so much more yet to go attend the opening and mingle with the artists as if I am one of them.
Not long after I arrived, someone approached me and asked, “Are you an artist in this show?” Oh wow. WOW. There it was, that silly question I have such a hard time with. I had to answer. What to say? I mean, I’m in a gallery. My painting is over there on the wall. “I suppose…I think…I am…” I gathered up my gusto, took a deep breath, and tried to sound confident as I said, “Yes, I am an artist.” I had to say it several times that night. It was good practice, and got easier each time. In fact, I’m kind of liking it now.
I’m an artist. I’m an artist. I AM AN ARTIST.
Cool. I think could get used to this.
I love EVERYTHING about this post. The part where you talked about hiding your art hit close to home, because I did the same thing. I'd share my art with the people in my art classes, then hide it from everyone else. Especially after college. I NEVER showed my friends anything I was working on. I am so happy for/excited for/proud of you and your show and YES girl, you are an artist… and a very talented one at that 🙂
Thanks Jenn!! I can't believe that you did the same thing? What's wrong with us?! LOL. Thank you Thank you Thank you. It feels so good to hear those words. And the same goes for you!!
Congratulations Kim! I'm so excited for you. Just to clarify you are an EXTREMELY TALENTED ARTIST. From your biggest Aussie fan.
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Thanks Caylie!! Blushing! You are so sweet and that means so much to me. Thank you for the support!!! =D
Funny I never liked being called an "artist" it always seemed like someone was calling you "sensitive" and not in a good way. It always seemed so self indulgent to me, like going to a therapist and talking about yourself non stop for an hour. I even had two shows and got freaked out both times. Thought I could handle it the second time but nope…all that attention freaked me out. Ha! I could never be famous. I like to think of myself as a professional–I am a graphic designer not an artist and I am even having issues with the words graphic designer now. Weird huh. Great blog btw! Keep up the good work! : )
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Ali – Thank you so much for stopping by! I hear what you are saying and think you are not alone in feeling that way. Actually, I am very “sensitive” and perhaps that’s part of the reason I felt uncomfortable with the word artist. It’s taken me my whole life to embrace my “sensitivity” too. I have to say, I LOVE your blog. Thank you for opening my eyes to it…it’s going on the blogroll. I also must say, had I stumbled across your blog on my own, I would have most certainly called your an artist, but not thought about that in terms of self-centeredness, rather a way which says you have an amazingly artistic eye…a way of understanding beauty. You are most certainly a professional too…you graphic design skills are striking.
I just watched this video interview Flash Rosenberg and in it, she says she never liked being called anything that ended in -ist or -er. Looks as though you aren’t alone 🙂
Wow! I saw this blog from etsy. I really like this story, many people can relate to this! I've finally reached that point in my life where I CAN call myself an artist and be proud of it. But in the back of my mind I know I'm "not" an artist because I never had any shows to showcase my work. You should write a blog about the process of getting a first show 🙂
Hi Alan! I’m so happy you stopped by and that you can also relate. It is a bit comforting knowing that others are having the same experience, although of course, I would love everyone to be able to follow their dream full time! Well, the show I was in wasn’t that hard to get into…lol…all I did was drop off my work and I think she accepted nearly everyone. BUT, that would be a wonderful topic and I will definitely put it on my list of topics that would be great for this blog…especially if I can find a guest blogger with more experience there. 🙂
This was a wonderful post. Totally made me tear. I feel similarly so it was a kindred spirit sort of moment. Congrats, you deserve praises. 🙂
Aw, Olivia! I'm so happy to hear that it touched you that deeply! I do think we are kindred spirits. I'm so glad you stopped by because I love hearing from you. I want to know what you are up to these days!!