Updated: Mar 8
It is 2021 and there is still a large stigma around the arts.
If you are part of the art community, that means you have met a few people that recognize your talent. These people gave your confidence that small spark in needed to pursue your dreams. Well, for every two people that cheered for you on the sidelines, there were about eight that told you to keep it as a hobby. Am I right?
Now I know what you are thinking: “just don't hang out with those people; cut out that toxicity!” Well this is a bit more difficult to do when this eighty percent of people include certain friends and family members. Maybe you don’t want to waste your breath fighting them because you know it is pointless. Maybe you don’t want to say anything because these words are slowly starting to resonate and you are afraid that if you open up the conversation, they may actually convince you to abandon your dreams. Believe me when I say the following: when you find those two magical people, become their friend and keep them on speed dial.
And yes, one of those friends can be a dog.
The weird thing about being an artist, or at least a visual artist, is that there is not much of an “in- between” when it comes to our careers. You are either the broke, starving artist that lives off of KD mac and cheese, or the Jackson Pollock kind. It is hard to keep going when everyone is telling you otherwise. The programs we sign up for in schools are underfunded and not all students are even aware of the opportunities they offer, if any. I could not tell you how many conversations were cut short when I begin to tell people what I do for a living.
I say “I’m in the arts”. They hear: “she is not an intellectual. She did not take school seriously enough. She is looking for the ‘easy’ way out”.
I'm not joking. Those are words that have been said to me.
But people do not know my academic history, nor should they belittle my intelligence because I knew I was meant for something a bit different than the classic 9-5.
But then, you meet people that say “ok, maybe you have some talent”. Those people are usually not talking to the abstract artists. In my experience, people look at my work and see pretty colors and effort but never try to look past it. They only see ‘”talent” when I begin to dip closer in to the realism spectrum of visual arts. Now listen, I have great respect for those artists who have the talent and patience to tackle hyperrealism and even simply realism. The closest I ever got to that was impressionism, but here’s the thing; it worked for me.
Detail of Adia, 2021
Our talent is not measured in how many art styles we are able to produce. However there will always be someone who is constantly trying to convince us that there are not enough seats at the table for everyone. These people do not know what they are talking about.
Abstract art became my passion because I was able to adopt it as a new language. It was the purest form of expressing my words, thoughts and desires. I did not need everyone to understand it. I do not need everyone to agree with it. But when actions were insufficient, and words were not enough, creation in an abstract form became my new voice.
Detail of Exalt, 2020
When people question you about your decisions and career choice for YEARS and they still do not understand why you are not listening, it is because you understand something that they do not. You understand your passion, and that drive that you have will allow you to push through all the fears that people try to instill in you.