When I was in grade school the title of “artist” seemed to me a fancy term that, even though I was drawing all the time, didn’t feel I was worthy for. People would call me an artist, and I was like “nawww, artists are super awesome talented people who actually make stuff people want to look at and get money for it!” And I always thought that being a true artist was something that was out of reach for me because a) I was well aware of my own laziness and inability to get determined about anything due to my shit for confidence, and b) I was being told by multiple ‘trustworthy’ adults that ‘artist’ is a job that makes you no money unless you can make it big as an awesome Disney animator or something. So I thought, being an artist is probably not what I should be aspiring to, because I will probably end up as a poor, talentless, unloved loser. So I stuck to drawing on the side, just for fun, a little hobby of mine, just doodles and weird stuff, no real practice or projects or nuthin’.
Then I moved to Portland, and here the name ‘artist’ had completely different connotations than it did in Idaho. Here, artists are everywhere, but people who are artists are big hipster snobs. Or at least that’s the impression when seeing someone at an easel at the waterfront, or are simply looking at someones weird art in a gallery. An artist stigma here is an over-idealistic, super activist who only makes super abstract surreal things out of wood and glitter and toys, and that don’t make any sense to anyone except for the creator who was trying to sell the message “stop polluting.” When I started hearing about THAT type of artist stigma (which is totally not true at all, by the way….it’s only a teensy bit true….) then I was thinking, “Good thing I didn’t stick with that whole lame artist thing, or else everyone would think I was some stuck-up, smarty-pants, hippy jerk-wad person!”
But THEN I was in college for two years. I was studying the sciences. I was going to help cure Alzheimer syndrome, and find the answer to immortality, dig through peoples brains and find out how this weird gross body actually WORKS. But science, though amazing, is HARD! Harder than drawing, and definitely harder than playing videogames all day.
Suddenly, I was in Art class. And also suddenly, I felt happy. Misunderstood, but happy to be given a reason to do something is actually relatively easy for me.
And after some contemplation, I came to the only reasonable conclusion that would help me be happier…
I’ve always been a drawer and story maker and world creator, so fuck it, I’m going to do what I’ve always done. The thing that is easy for me! I’m going to be AN ARTIST! I’m going to do whatever the heck I want. I’m going to make graphic novels, write zombie stories, write storylines for videogames and Dungeons and Dragons campaigns, design characters for them, and design band albums and t-shirts and skateboard decks, and I will be AWESOME, and the only person who needs to think so is MYSELF.
That is the sound of me sticking my tongue out at everyone who says I shouldn’t be an artist. Mostly my family.
I’ll help the world in my own way, become immortal in the old way, and draw zombies eating my biology professors and hipster art peers’ brains! Creating, for me, is easy, and I am lazy, so easy is the only way I am going to make it through this life. I want to cure diseases, help people, become immortal, but its mostly beyond my abilities, so I give that duty to those who were blessed with a sense of hard work and a perfectly functioning cranium. I can help people in my own way. I already have some ideas…And what do I need money for, anyway besides a tiny hermit house in the woods?
Not really sure why I suddenly wanted to rant about this. Probably because its only recently that I decided to allow myself to actually let myself do what I like, and now, every time I refer to myself as an artist to non-artists, people kind of roll their eyes or get this vacant look on their face, and I am just super attuned to it right now. I AM REBELLING! When I was a kid, I remember “artist” being a perfectly legitimate aspiration for a kid, but then it became an aspiration strictly for kids. Art is almost overrated here in Portland, but its basically the same issue. Feeling very self-conscious about carrying around the huge portfolio around campus….and on the bus…
But its okay, I’m a changed woman. And it’s all thanks to the realization that I have a choice of not giving a fuck, especially towards what people think. YAY, NOT GIVING A FUCK! YAY, ULTIMATE FREEDOM!