Last year, one of the essays I wrote for Hello Humans was about accepting myself and declaring myself an artist. I had been many things: an accountant, a teacher, a restaurant owner to name a few - and I always made things. But, I was slow to recognize the soul-wrenching desire I had to make art. I'd like to hear from other artists about their experiences - my thinking is broad - I'm interested in process, idea, design creation, execution style (slow & methodical, compulsive, and the dozens more I can't even think of). This is a subject that truly fascinates me as I am from a family of all kinds of artists and musicians. I would truly LOVE to hear your story. And I would love it if you include the "How I Became an Artist" part.

Here's a small part of mine:

Hindsight

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Please feel free to message me if you prefer. I have no agenda here... I'm not writing about it or collecting data or anything like that. I think I'm going through some sort of metamorphosis and want to see and feel those connections and common ground as well as learn more about artists in general. I was sort of "late to the game" and am educating myself I guess.

I should also note that I've read many, many of the introductions that have been posted and have enjoyed learning so much about so many artists.

I relate deeply to your sentiments about accepting and declaring myself an artist... and to much of your hello humans article... thanks... 

Kat Bailey said:

Please feel free to message me if you prefer. I have no agenda here... I'm not writing about it or collecting data or anything like that. I think I'm going through some sort of metamorphosis and want to see and feel those connections and common ground as well as learn more about artists in general. I was sort of "late to the game" and am educating myself I guess.

Thank you, Stanton, for reading. I apologize for taking so long to get back to you. I started using Instagram in anticipation of an upcoming show and I can only adequately keep up with a couple of social media platforms simultaneously. I won't give up Facebook anytime soon because it's how I stay connected with my family. 

What the essay doesn't say is that for years and years I said, "I make shit" (not "stuff") because that's what I would say to people. I have a sister-in-law who is on the snooty side I guess and she asked me once a few years ago, "when did you learn how to do all this" and I said, "I've always known" ... she had a hard time accepting that answer. I wonder if my life would have been different if I'd spent thirty years saying, "I'm an artist and I teach school, which I love, to pay the bills"

Stanton M Frey said:

I relate deeply to your sentiments about accepting and declaring myself an artist... and to much of your hello humans article... thanks... 

Kat Bailey said:

Please feel free to message me if you prefer. I have no agenda here... I'm not writing about it or collecting data or anything like that. I think I'm going through some sort of metamorphosis and want to see and feel those connections and common ground as well as learn more about artists in general. I was sort of "late to the game" and am educating myself I guess.

Perhaps this is a common theme among people who feel a pull toward some sort of artistic/creative expresion... but generally don't pursue it, until at some point they submit a little to the pull and start exploring this artistic side with various expressions... yet still not feeling theirs is valid enough to be called real art, and to call themselves artists.  I'm in my 40's, used to draw a ton as a child, once in a while would attempt some sketches in adulthood, but then, in the last year, as if I had to release the gate... purchased a stack of posterboard, sealed them with oil based primer, bought a gazillion old house paint partials from a 'recycled' art supply store for cheap, and started slapping paint around.  It felt amazing! It feels amazing still! I don't know what I'm doing really but the whole process is so much fun to me... I think "What an idiot for not doing this sooner!" :)

I like the sense of 'declaring myself an artist' which you write about. As a young man I tried to work at drawing but never received any encouragement. But when I turned seventy I sat in bed one evening and drew my first line drawing on my 7" Nexus tablet. It appears on my Art Colony page - a train travelling over the hills, travelling back to boarding school in South Africa sixty-five years ago.

That drawing was really about memory and an idylic childhood. That childhood was all about the African veld, the hills, the mountains and the valleys, the sky - the bright blue and often unclouded sky. It was never about people because my childhood was spent almost alone on the farms which my mother rented but never farmed - different farms evey year. But it certainly was idylic in the way in which I spent my childhood - always roaming over hills and valleys - always wanting to see beyond the horizon. It was a lonely world but it was wonderful.

So I drew that train travelling to the school which I never enjoyed attending. My school life was always spent at boarding schools - from the age of five to seventeen. It was always the travelling to and away from schools each holiday that counted the most because it was at those moments when I would look out of train or car windows and see the African veld move past as I travelled. And the veld was always beautiful, whether it was the Karoo desert or the highveld or the Drakensberg mountains. And then years later it would be the Rift Valley in Central Africa where I would descend to the flat land below, passing villages until I reached the Shire River. The silence there was magnificent - a silence which only Africa can offer.

So after drawing that train journey I gradually returned to drawing more regularly. Strangely the biggest 'break' came while recovering from a stroke at the age of seventy-nine. I had to decide what to do with a life now being spent in recovery and which life I thought might just last for a short while. So once again I went to back to drawing and I have discovered drawing on memories - which is what art is all about to me - has given me purpose, insight and strength for the next day. Definitely drawing is all about memory - just as story writing is all about memory. And what is more exciting than being able to visit the past once again; to return to those forgotten times and places...

Wow. Such a great story. I think there is a common theme and I love to see how people express it and I love hearing about "the pull" and how it manifests itself with different people.  Of course, there are a lot more details about the search for materials and all that, but my "Hindsight" story pretty much tells how my gate opened. Thank you so much for sharing! (and apologies for not responding sooner... I've been trying to build an Instagram following and I don't have a lot of brain-power for social media these days).

Stanton M Frey said:

Perhaps this is a common theme among people who feel a pull toward some sort of artistic/creative expresion... but generally don't pursue it, until at some point they submit a little to the pull and start exploring this artistic side with various expressions... yet still not feeling theirs is valid enough to be called real art, and to call themselves artists.  I'm in my 40's, used to draw a ton as a child, once in a while would attempt some sketches in adulthood, but then, in the last year, as if I had to release the gate... purchased a stack of posterboard, sealed them with oil based primer, bought a gazillion old house paint partials from a 'recycled' art supply store for cheap, and started slapping paint around.  It felt amazing! It feels amazing still! I don't know what I'm doing really but the whole process is so much fun to me... I think "What an idiot for not doing this sooner!" :)

What an amazing story and journey! I am so glad you shared (and apologies to you, also, for not replying sooner...). I, also, feel art is in the stories (ie... memories) and that is why I love folk art and always have. I have gone through a couple of periods of feeling "blocked" lately, but when I break through that, I simply cannot paint fast enough. Art has become everything to me in my private, intimate world.

Gordon M said:

I like the sense of 'declaring myself an artist' which you write about. As a young man I tried to work at drawing but never received any encouragement. But when I turned seventy I sat in bed one evening and drew my first line drawing on my 7" Nexus tablet. It appears on my Art Colony page - a train travelling over the hills, travelling back to boarding school in South Africa sixty-five years ago.

That drawing was really about memory and an idylic childhood. That childhood was all about the African veld, the hills, the mountains and the valleys, the sky - the bright blue and often unclouded sky. It was never about people because my childhood was spent almost alone on the farms which my mother rented but never farmed - different farms evey year. But it certainly was idylic in the way in which I spent my childhood - always roaming over hills and valleys - always wanting to see beyond the horizon. It was a lonely world but it was wonderful.

So I drew that train travelling to the school which I never enjoyed attending. My school life was always spent at boarding schools - from the age of five to seventeen. It was always the travelling to and away from schools each holiday that counted the most because it was at those moments when I would look out of train or car windows and see the African veld move past as I travelled. And the veld was always beautiful, whether it was the Karoo desert or the highveld or the Drakensberg mountains. And then years later it would be the Rift Valley in Central Africa where I would descend to the flat land below, passing villages until I reached the Shire River. The silence there was magnificent - a silence which only Africa can offer.

So after drawing that train journey I gradually returned to drawing more regularly. Strangely the biggest 'break' came while recovering from a stroke at the age of seventy-nine. I had to decide what to do with a life now being spent in recovery and which life I thought might just last for a short while. So once again I went to back to drawing and I have discovered drawing on memories - which is what art is all about to me - has given me purpose, insight and strength for the next day. Definitely drawing is all about memory - just as story writing is all about memory. And what is more exciting than being able to visit the past once again; to return to those forgotten times and places...

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