I came across this ^ little piece of writing on tumblr (my favorite source of inspiration) years ago, and it now hangs on a little bulletin board above my desk. It serves as a reminder of why I’m trying so hard to be an artist. I guess I should share why.
I do art because I have to. I don’t know how NOT to. It just pours out of me. I absolutely crave taking photos, sketching out ideas, putting the world onto paper, making things and figuring out how to put it together in a visually interesting way, writing out my thoughts until my hand starts to cramp and I start to fall asleep. In my life, I’ve had countless other hobbies, but I always came back to art. Almost everything I love is connected to some form of art. And I see life more clearly though the lens of my camera. I’m drawn to anything that makes you feel something. I’m constantly seeking the things that matter, whatever they might be. I’m always in a little dream world in my head, just wandering. My life made a lot more sense the moment that I realized the things that made me the happiest and the most alive were the moments that felt fleeting, the moments that I wanted to capture in a photo or put into a piece of visual art, so I can remember how beautiful life can be. That’s the feeling I’m always striving for when I make anything; I want to make something that, when I look at it, I simply feel happy and peaceful. Life can be hard. Relationships (of any kind) can be hard. I want to make things that ease that stress, even if it’s just for a second. Looking at something beautiful can break that cycle of negativity in your mind, because it slows you down. It gives you perspective. It allows you to drift off for a minute and then re-focus on positivity. More than anything, I just like how art and making art can transport me to a place where I feel such a sense of wonder. I like to feel like I’m floating.
The reason I’m talking about this is because I struggle so much with the realistic details of starting an art business. I’ve been working on building all of this for over a year now, and in some ways, I’m great with it. I have a clear vision for what I want to do, and I see the big picture of how all the business parts fit together. It’s just those details that make me feel absolutely insane. I’m not a salesperson- I didn’t inherit that gene from my dad. Despite my history of excelling in math, I am not a numbers person. I’m basically obsessed with social media, but marketing does not come naturally to me at all. All these little things that go into setting up and running a small business give me a headache (literally) and make me wonder why I’m doing this at all. I get so wrapped up in these details that I can’t even figure out what the point of it all is. So I force myself to pull back from it all, and re-focus on the big picture (that comes so easily to me, it’s ridiculous). I’m doing this because I want to create things that that are beautiful and things that matter. I want my work to be my passion, and I want to be able to create as much and as often as I can. I want the thing that comes the most naturally to me in the world to be the thing I get to do everyday. And I want to be me. Creating things makes me feel like myself, and I just love how serene I am when I’m in the process of designing, and then the intense pride and excitement I feel when I finish a piece and I like how it looks. That’s the reason I’m doing this. That’s what makes all these petty details (the ones I don’t like at all) worth it. Someday when I look back on all this frustration I’m feeling, I hope that it will have been worth it.
I have to constantly remind myself of these things:
- There is a learning curve in all this; I have to cut myself some slack because I cannot build a business overnight. Especially when I’m 23 and have no prior business experience. (I think I just get so ambitious, thinking I can take on the world, that I don’t have enough patience for things that take time).
- I have already done so much. I have to say, “Seriously, Michelle, look at what you’ve done.” Ambition is good, but I have to constantly remember that I’m proud of what I’ve already been able to do.
I felt like I needed to write about this, because I really struggle with this every day, even in the midst of creating something new and feeling happy about it. My mind is always my biggest battle. I never know if anyone knows what I’m talking about, because I realize that I’m a bit of an eccentric and, for the most part, a hippie and a daydreamer. But I’m sure there are other people who enjoy art the way I do. If there weren’t, art wouldn’t be as big of a part of human culture as it is. And this need for art goes back to the beginning of human existence. So if you’re out there and you’re just as much of a dreamer and a wanderer as I am, let’s be friends.