I have always been an artist. But I have rarely owned the title, term, profession, vocation, or identity. I make art but I did not identify myself as an artist. And why? You might be familiar with the reasons:
- I am not good enough. Every time I make something, I look around me and there is something better, deeper, more profound (and this, incidentally, is also one of the reasons why I did not pursue singing or writing either – because there is someone out there who is just better)
- I am not technically skilled in art
- I don’t have a story to tell with my creations
- I feel like a fake. I look online and offline for inspiration, but really, I feel like I’m just copying
- I end up not liking most of my creations
A few months ago, I started painting like crazy again. I drew my inspiration from unusual places, from personal stories, and from in-the-moment feelings. And also! I got reminded of the many many museums I have visited or researched – the pieces that fascinated me the most, aside from the well-made ones, are the ones that told strange and real stories. Art is not just about technical skill. Art pieces are pieces of souls and stories that fascinate us and stir us in some way.
Not good enough? Not technically skilled? Not creative enough? Create anyway. Create for yourself first. Create to tell the story inside you that you may not yet be aware of. Every mistake, every wrong colour combination, every single piece, is a story of you, where you are, your learning, your journey. If you end up not liking what you have created, keep it anyway. Write a little note about it. Put it in a drawer. And one day, go back to it. Read what you wrote, look at your creation. THAT is part of your story.
Others may make better art or technically better. But they are not you. They are telling their stories. You can tell yours too. And it is yours. Uniquely yours.
This has helped me SO MUCH in creating art again, singing again, writing again, starting things again. It is tough to be tough on myself and aim for perfection all the time. I think there is such a thing as perfection paralysis when you would rather not do anything than do something imperfect.
Great things are not made that way. In fact, great things do not happen at all when things don’t get started in the first place.