Thursday, January 7, 2016

On Being a "Real Artist"

What is it like to be an artist?

Feeling like a "real artist" is something that took time to develop: 

In college, I talked myself out of the art major--I told myself it had no real career value, after all. Right out of college in 2001, my best friend and I had standing art dates every week for months, but I wasn't an artist. When I lived abroad and worked part time, I relished in the extra time I had to make things, but I wasn't really an artist. When I was unemployed for four months in a new city in 2004, and I made everyone I know elaborate Christmas presents, well, I guess I was an artist. In grad school, every personality and career assessment I took for my career counseling class indicated that I am ARTISTIC over everything, then comes Social, then Realistic. (This is John Holland's RIASEC model for career counseling. It's great.)

In 2008, I finally embraced the title. I am an artist! It took at least 14 years to identify myself that way. Sheesh.

Even then, sometimes I feel more legitimate than others. Examples of when I've really felt it: when I got business cards for the first time, when I made a flyer advertising a class I wanted to offer, when I made my first website, and each time I've been in the Fort Collins Studio Tour.

Last summer, Michelle Venus, the Development Director at our local radio station, KRFC, came to my studio. In a moment of not-so-confidence, I told her I wasn't sure I was ready to be on her show Support Local Culture. This was her second visit to my studio and she practically begged me to believe in myself and my value to the arts community.  It took me another five months of thinking about what she said, and hearing other artists I know and like on the show before I finally applied to be on. Today marks another moment when I can confidently say, "I am an artist." I am on the flippin' radio, talking about my art! A committee of three people agreed that I should be on the show! Holy smokes! I am an artist!
Michelle put this lovely collage of my work together, and you can definitely see my style shine through. You can hear me talk about my work and what it is to be a "real artist" by clicking here.

Here are some behind-the-scenes photos of our recording session. It was really cool.The whole thing took about 20 minutes. Michelle asked me a few questions, encouraging me to answer with full sentences since her words wouldn't be heard in the final piece. I loved the huge microphones and the quiet, quiet room. Headphones were optional for me.

Thanks to Michelle Venus and KRFC for the opportunity. It was a lot of fun, and a really helpful part of my journey so far along this "professional artist" path.