Updated: Dec 8, 2021
To be perfectly honest, I couldn’t say why, but I can tell you how.
I never considered myself to be an artistic child, but unbeknown to me, I always had a hunger to create. Ever since I was a child, I would be creating. Whether this would be drawing, painting, or creating sculptures from VHS Tapes and DVD’s, my favourite would be building towering skylines and cities and knocking them down. Growing up, I loved playing with dolls, I always wanted to play with them but back then, it was frowned upon for boys to play with girls’ toys as it wasn’t ‘normal’. So, I’d create dolls with paper bodies and shredded toilet paper as hair. Okay, maybe not as fun as your normal Barbie doll but it worked for me and got the creative juices flowing.
It wasn’t until I reached secondary school where I discovered my love for art. Secondary school wasn’t an easy time for me, which, I’m sure many would agree with. I’ve always struggled adapting to change, and reflecting on this period of my life, it was a dark, stressful, and anxious time. From day one, your told to figure out what you want to do in life, something that I had never even gave a thought (apart from a brief period where I wanted to be a palaeontologist, and to be honest, still do).
I struggled and felt lost, I struggled making friends, learning subjects that I had little interest in and discovering who I was as a young adult. Then, I discovered art class. It was an hour of escapism every few days, and in those few hours a week, things started to make a little more sense. The teacher would ask us to “draw a house where you can see yourself living in” or “paint a self-portrait”, and a burst of inspiration and energy would pulse through my brain, but as soon as the bell rang it would quickly disappear as I fought my way through the one-way corridors to math class.
Like any other day, I went into art class. We were asked to choose a bird feather and draw it. I drew my feather and submitted it to the teacher as I left. The following week, I walked into the class and sat down, and there it was, my drawing up on the screen as an example of how to draw a feather, you could see it in all its glory, all the fine, delicate details, pencil strokes and tones throughout. I sat and thought to myself, “here, I must be quite good at this?” That day, I went home and drew for hours, it became consuming. I discovered art was my ‘happy’ place where I could detach and escape from the bullies, from the stress, from life.
I feel I gravitated so much to art as I understood the process of creating something influenced by your emotion, your thoughts, and your surroundings. Still to this day, I look back at my old sketchbooks and they are filled to the brim of different drawings, yes, most of them were a little disturbing, but they are beautiful, as this was the emotion I was feeling at the time.
Moving on from school, I faced comments like, “art can’t be a career, it’s just a hobby”. But it isn’t, it is so much more, it’s a mental lifestyle. I’m aware of the implications of creating a financially stable art career, and I’m still figuring this out, but it’s what I love, and it’s what I will pursue.
So, I suppose you could say that this is my “why I choose art as a career” story, but I feel I never chose this path, rather I followed something that gave me pleasure.