Im Arian. I live in the Texas Panhandle, my dog is a crazy Catahoula and I love her, I paint/draw/create and am studying Art History.
I spent a lot of my life humbling myself and telling fellow classmates and artists and drawers and doodlers that I wasn’t THAT good. That they had more talent than me. They were better. I spent a lot of time building them up instead of being honest with myself.
I am that good.
I chat with my classmates in my ceramics class, most of them studio art majors, and I’ve seen their works. They are good. I’m better.
This semester I know I come off as arrogant, but you know what? I am. I won’t lie. They ask me what my work is like because I’m new and they’ve never seen it. I show them.
They say “Yeah. You’re right. You are that good.”
And I am. And they’re a bunch of lazy asses and it makes me feel good that with my arrival there’s a fire lit underneath them all. They are frantic. They are more motivated. They have competition.
And I am a threat.
Transferring into an art department of kids who never had someone like me to come up against. Mediocrity won’t fly anymore.
My mother told me to be confident in my skill. She calls it a “gift”. She supported my art and told me honestly when I had room to improve. She loved everything I made, but she is the only person who has ever given me constructive criticism. I never realized until she left the country how my mother was my best critic.
I am my worst critic and it took me a long time to not be shy about showing my work. I thought I was good but I could be better. The truth is, it is a gift. I am so very lucky to have a gift and I’m lucky I can share it with the world.
My sister and I would never be good athletes! I couldn’t run very well and she can’t jump more than a centimeter off of the ground. We both started as singers. My sister is a soprano. Her voice is so pure and high and clean. I miss her singing. I was an alto and I would’ve been a good one had I loved singing as much as she did.
I moved on from choir into theater, then theater into 2D art (where I wandered between different mediums and methods) and now into ceramics. And I know I should be humble, but I will be honest here. My mother says I have a gift and she could be right. I can do anything if I try and do it well.
Except for sports. I just can’t run or catch a ball!
The truth is, if I really enjoy something I’ll put my whole being into it.
I thought I loved painting. Actually, I love to draw. But someone told me drawings aren’t “high art” and I took that too seriously. Eventually I tried my hand at collage work. I love that too. I like to paint but the single medium bores me.
I draw fast and passionately. My hand and charcoal are one. I move with a rhythm like I’m dancing. It’s the only time I feel like I can dance. My eye and hand skips around the page. I don’t linger in one place for very long.
So what does that say about me?
It says I bore easily. It says I like to try new things. I don’t stay with a series of ideas very long. It says I like to move, move, move. It says I hate being stationary and stuck. It says my mind is always running and turning things over. It says I like new things.
When I was a kid I rearranged my bed room every month. As an adult, when I feel depressed, my whole place is switched up. Moving sucks, but it’s nice to be in a new place.
Just because I don’t stick with one thing for very long doesn’t mean I don’t finish it. I just finish it before everyone else does.
Since I was 5 (and maybe earlier, but memory starts to take hold in a child around the age of 5) I remember scraps of papers and crayons. I remembered tracing pages in coloring books.
My sister loved Tweetie Bird. We were at day care, and while everyone ran outside to play I stayed to finish tracing Tweetie Bird for my sister. I wanted to imitate the dark lines from the book so I tried again with a felt tip marker.
One of the aids came to ask me if I was sad because I wasn’t outside with the other kids. I told her I wanted to finish my drawing. I didn’t yet know the difference between tracing and drawing. She saw my Tweetie Bird and was shocked. She really thought I had drawn it.
As she called other ladies over, I felt like a fraud. I knew I had not drawn it. This Tweetie wasn’t my creation. I didn’t yet know what borrowing meant. All I knew was that it wasn’t mine. I had only copied it.
Later on in art classes, certain methods are considered “wrong”. Tracing. Copy/paste. Collage. Photoshop. When I took a break from school, I learned that all forms of creation is art. Collage and photography and cut and paste and tracing and overlays and quilting and crocheting and wood working and cabinetry and……And. And.
How I learned that all forms of making was Art.
When I was 13 I came home one day and stopped drawing. It took my mother a little while to notice but she did. She noticed quietly. She would ask if I wanted left over map pencils to color with or point out an art box at the store. My interest was gone. I didn’t want to draw anymore. I don’t even remember why now.
The summer I turned 14 I was about to enroll in high school. She drove my sister and I to the school and in the car she asked if I would be taking art. I told her no. I wasn’t interested.
In the cafeteria, as we filled out paperwork and talked about classes, my mother told the counselor I was a talented artist, who excitedly penciled me in for art.
I think about that day some times. I was a little upset with my mother, but I know now I wouldn’t be where I am had she not said something.
I painted my first painting in that class. It was Vermeer’s Girl With The Pearl Earring. It hangs above my mother’s mantle. I’ve been hooked ever since.
How my mother saved the artist in me.