Find (or Build) Your Corner
What is important is you find your corner and you're happy there.
A Corner as Unique as You Are
Growing up, I remember there were designated students in school who were known as the “art kids.” They were good at drawing realistically and drew (pun completely intended) a lot of attention for their ability. They were amazing, and I was discouraged because I had already made the decision that I couldn’t do the same so I would need to find something else to focus my time. One day though, I was sitting in Introduction to Art during my freshman year of high school and my teacher showed us a landscape painting. It was a realistic depiction of a few hills with a tree and a fence. I can still picture it vividly. My teacher asked the class what made it “good.” Nobody answered him. My teacher knew I was trying to avert my eyes so I wouldn’t get called on. Of course I did get called on, because that was usually my luck. I said something along the lines of “It’s a good painting because it’s realistic.” My teacher challenged me on that in front of the class, saying something along the lines of “Why does it have to be ‘realistic’ to be good?” It’s a weird example, but it stuck with me. It changed how I viewed art and made me realize that there are different ways of being creative. You don’t have to create something “realistic” or do what other people are doing. You don’t need to do what other people think is cool, pretty, impressive, etc. What is more important is that you find your corner and are happy there. If you want to take pictures of mushrooms out in the woods, do it. If your thing is coloring in color-by-number books, great (as a side note, I think those are making a comeback – and they are so elaborate now!). If your art jam is drawing Danny DeVito over and over again, more power to you. Whatever interests you, go for it. I have a friend who makes pretty elaborate chainmail pieces that would make your jaw drop. That’s his thing, which I have nothing but respect for. I know someone else who enjoys making candle labels with pop culture icons in pseudo-religious poses. Also great. Find your corner and feel comfortable working there because your work can be as unique as you are and it doesn’t have to fit into what other peoples’ expectations of “good” art is.