How did you feel the first time someone called you an artist?

For many of us, being an artist is something we have been exploring with a mix of excitement and fear. What if I have no real talent? What if what I make looks awful? What if people think I'm too big headed because I want to be an artist? Stepping into this art making world is an act of bravery. Showing our art to others takes a tremendous amount of courage and faith. How did you get here? What is your becoming an artist story? What have you done to continue to follow your creative heart?

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Great discussion, Su!

I think I knew I was an artist ever since I was 5 years old and had fantasies in kindergarten of drawing huge murals across the chalkboards in class.  Sometimes our teacher would give us all a piece of chalk and let us draw for 10 minutes on the chalkboard, and I often drew horses, but they looked funny and I could never figure out why, until another kid would point out that I forgot to draw the mane.

As a kid I had big ideas for paintings and drawings but I never had the right materials to work with - there's only so much you can do with poster board and glitter. I actually remember being frustrated with poster paints because they just turned muddy and dull whenever I'd try to mix colors. 

By the time I was a teenager my parents started taking more of an interest in my art and bought me proper art supplies. When I finished high school I pretty much knew that my future career would revolve around art in some way.

I consider myself very lucky that my parents nurtured my creativity and noticed my penchant for art, because many people never receive that kind of support or encouragement at home. I hope that here at the Art Colony we can provide a safe, fun and encouraging atmosphere so that everyone who visits feels empowered to explore their creative, artistic side!

bravo to the teacher who encouraged creativity and allowed you to color on the chalk board!!!!
Although I barely remember her, she must have been pretty cool.  I remember she also brought in a huge cardboard box (the kind that refrigerators come in) and cut one side of it open and drew dials and controls on the inside, so we could pretend it was a spaceship.  It was big enough that we could put our tiny chairs in there and pretend we were on a mission to outer space. It was great!

Like Thaneeya I think I always knew I was an artist, although that got a bit lost with life etc until a few years ago. However, I think it's only in last year that I've been introducing myself as an artist and hearing others say "this is Sue, she's an artist". Every time someone says it I get a tingle of excitement.

I got inspired to start this discussion because of talks I've had with many artists and aspiring artists about that first time they called themselves an artist or hear someone refer to them as an artist. It's a turning point for many of us.
I grew up with a very talented sister I knew was an artist. I admired her paintings and her 3D fabric sculptures as well as her perfect sense of color and design. But most of all, it was the six foot tall dancing snoopy from the peanuts cartoon that I loved. We taped it to the ceiling in our bedroom!
My first creative success came in publishing my writing. The first time someone called me an artist I was in my 20's. I was selling my jewelry and prints at an art fair when a woman asked me if I was the artist who made the earrings she was buying. Over time I got comfortable with the label and started using it myself. Selling my art was the turning point for me. That's when it became real.

I've only been making art on a regular basis the last year.  I've always had a creative spirit and dabbled in lots of arts and crafts through the years.  I was a quilter for quite some time and then became a plush toy maker (currently that is my business). 


But as far as the first time someone called me an artist, it was recently.  I shared this story with Suzanne but I will share it here again.  I recently took my 8 year old son to a drawing workshop for kids.  The instructor introduced himself and then my son asked him if he was an artist.  The man said yes.  Then my son said, "My mom is an artist too."  I got so embarrassed.  My cheeks got hot and I walked away before he could ask me any questions.  I don't feel like I'm qualified to consider myself an artist since I have had no formal training and have only been doing this for less than a year.  I have always admired artists and their talents and have wished I could do what they do.  I see now with lots of practice, I can get some good results.  I'm having lots of fun on this journey and look forward to see where it will take me.  I continue to learn as much as I can and experiment with different mediums and styles.  I don't think I've found my style yet.

Thank you for sharing this story Stephanie! It was my inspiration for this discussion. ; >
Hi Stephanie just because you haven't had formal training doesn't make you any less of an artist. I also think finding a style is also not necessary. If you look at many of the artists here (eg Thaneeya) and elsewhere, we produce artwork in many different mediums and styles, although we usually have a main one we produce in the most.

I can relate to Stephanie feeling embarrassed.  I, too, am new at this.  I've had a passion for art since elementary school and took art for four years in high school.  Life happened, I left my passion to advance in a career, marriage, and three children.  Yet 24 years later, my husband bought me a large art supply which re-ignited my love for painting.  I created an art studio in our basement.  I've been painting now since December of 2009 and have sold several pieces in 2010.  A few months ago, one of my relatives introduced me to a friend and said I was an "artist".  I blushed because I had never been called this and didn't feel adequate to hold the title.  I've never had any formal training or schooling other than highschool which was a distant memory. Since then, I'm becoming more used to the idea and am aspiring to further my abilities.  I'm entering two paintings in a local art contest for new artists.  I only wish to receive a critique from the local/regional artists who will be judging my work.  I don't expect to get far, but I'm taking the first step to see what could potentially lie ahead for me.  These stories are great to read and I love that you posted this question!

Thank you so much for sharing this Susan. I believe this is a critical conversation for developing artists. It is one I am often engaged in with coaching clients. We often circle around this way of defining "real" artists as something we are not. I still consider myself a developing artist. I did not go to school for art, I went to school for work. I never believed it would be possilbe to make a living as an artist so I studied communication and graphic design.

Art has always had a way of finding me no matter what i was doing for work. It squeezes into the cracks of my life and keeps me following my heart into the next creative exploration that catches my eye. I teach art in community education programs to help myself remember to make time to create. I often work with older women who haven't picked up a pencil or a brush since high school. They have time now. And a longing to give voice to those creative urges that have been bubbling inside for many years. I am so happy to hear that you are listening to yours!

I was kind of surprised because I had never thought of myself that way. It was cool.
It's fun to step into this new way of seeing ourselves. I still think it's cool after 15 years experience selling my work! It never gets old to be an artist and to have others recognize this is the frosting on the cake. Thanks for sharing Laurie!

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