As Artists (or as I like to say, HEARTists), we are all DEEPLY involved with ourselves and our crafts–be it poetry, singing, dancing, acting, playing musical instruments, painting, photography, etc. It seems like many artists tend to start off at a young age, but in other cases artists can find their medium of passion at a later age. But no matter WHEN the spark ignites, it’s just a FACT that we’re ALL pretty damn “sensitive about our shit,” to lovingly recall the famous statement by one Ms. Erykah Badu.
I know for ME, I have ALWAYS loved to create. You already know my artistry story from previous entries. But one thing I never really talked about is the NEGATIVE side of my love of creating. Yeah, I grew up always loving to draw and write. If I wanted to do it, I did it. Such was the childhood innocence of having no fear or limitations on my own Imagination.
But then I grew up; and as I grew up, I began to venture for sources of inspiration OUTSIDE of only myself and my childhood interests. I began to look at the work of OTHER artists. At first it started out as sweet, innocent, new inspiration…but THEN…after time passed…my Mind began to warp and play tricks on me and SOON I was COMPARING myself to these other artists!
Why can’t I draw like HER?
Why doesn’t my art look like THIS?
How come I can’t execute this technique like HIM?
Wow…his art looks better than mine….
Wow…she has better art supplies than ME…
My artwork is crap…I can’t draw.
I’ll never be as good as XYZ….
And I’ve been struggling with that downward spiral EVER SINCE. Even NOW. What I CAN say is, on the plus side, thoughts like the ones above come less and less frequently, now that I’m out of my awkward, hurting teenage years and I’ve been HEALING and coming into my own as my True, Authentic Self. ALL LEVELS. This includes my artistry and where I am in it.
Now, my current challenge is to NOT allow the fact that I am building a CAREER out of a life-long love and passion turn into my very own PRISON. The stressing about what you can or can’t do in comparison to SOMEONE ELSE. The worrying about what other people do, say or think of you and what you create. Trying to think of things to create that you think OTHERS would like, not even putting YOURSELF first anymore. And PLEASE…PLEEEAASSSE don’t get me started on when MONEY gets into the mix. 😦
It’s like you’ve allowed the world to steal your joy. You can create, become rich and famous (or not), but still get caught up in the madness of the world, but you can’t stop NOW….so all there’d be left to do is to ask yourself, “Yes, I’m creating art. Yes, I’m getting the world’s attention and feedback. Yes, I’m getting all the things I’ve ever dreamed…but am I HAPPY?”
What I mean is…I must ALWAYS remember my values both as an Artist AND as young African woman overall. I must CONQUER and completely DEFEAT my fears, because BELIEVE ME…they’re still there. I told you from the very opening of this blog site, I am NOT coming to you as someone who has ALREADY triumphed over ALL obstacles. I want you to be with me AS I PROGRESS on this Path of mine, and as you do the same on yours. ❤
All these wonderful things have most definitely been coming my way, and I’m so thankful and grateful for them all, but that doesn’t mean that things don’t get a bit rocky at times.
With that being said, I would like to bring your attention to an article that was written just this past Friday by Talib Kweli. He wrote an article titled, “In Defense Of Ms. Hill,” and all I have to say is, this article was RIGHT ON TIME in so many ways. In addition to the fact that I appreciate how there’s SOMEONE out there SOMEWHERE who’s actually defending the honor of one of music’s most gifted artists, what I REALLY appreciated was the words of wisdom that can be applied to ANY artist, famous or not.
The artist is a human being, not a product…the artist is not forever in your debt because you may have purchased a product from them at some point.
That’s just a quote from the very BEGINNING of the article. The points I’ve been making stem from an ARTIST being the cause of their own detriment to certain extent, but this ARTICLE Talib wrote emphasizes on the WORLD being the cause for the Artist’s detriment. The selfish demands and blatant disrespect of the Artist…simply for expressing what HE or SHE wants to express in relation to his or her own craft rather than respond to the DEMANDS and COMMANDS of the world.
This was such a refreshing read, I’m going to print a copy of this article out for myself and hang it up on my bedroom wall. It’s THAT real for me. This article literally SAVED me from MYSELF. I encourage you to read this excellent article, which you can find right here.