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.