How do you become an artist?
Any artist you ask will tell you some thing different. Some say you learn to be one, some say you become one, others will say you are born one. In all honesty I have no idea how they come about, and all I really know is my own story. So today I thought I might share that with you.
My Art Story
It has always seemed to me that I’ve been drawing, colouring in, making images my whole life. I don’t really remember a time in my life when I wasn’t being creative in some way. Though it was in my 6th class that we were given sketch books and encouraged to use them. Our teacher would mark them and give little tips. I filled three of those books over that year and knew that I wanted to draw forever.
Here are a couple of the drawings from those sketchbooks, I still have them.
When I got to high school I started to see the problems of going to a small country school. We had an art teacher, but she was primarily a ceramic art, so we did a lot of pottery. The second year we had another one, and she was great. I wanted to keep studying art, but then, at the end of the year, she left and we never had another one. I was left on my own to pursue drawing and painting, but I didn’t know what to do. My mum was great and would buy me sketch pads to draw in, but without any guidance I didn’t how to improve. I was lost. I continued trying to copy what others did.
Once I became an adult I tried to get painting lessons from a local who did them, but he ended up teaching me to be a signwriter instead. I came to Melbourne to continue that, but it wasn’t meant to be. Signwriting is or was a tough gig for a woman. I started working and while I always had a sketch book and pencils, I didn’t really pursue it too much.
I got into photography around 1993. That was great for my creative outlet. It gave me a different way to approach it. I learned how to develop my own images, and print them. We turned the bathroom in our old flat into a darkroom, and when we moved here I did it to the laundry. In the end I decided that photography was too frustrating, I couldn’t do what I wanted to do to my images. I started looking for different outlets, I did decoupage, folk art, you name it I was trying a lot of things. I even wrote a novel and a play, but neither were very good. It took me a long time to realise if I wasn’t being creative then I would be bored. I had to be creating something and if I wasn’t then I would get restless.
It was around 2002 that I decided enough, it was time to find out if I could, could I be an a real artist. I was going to go back to school. I applied for some art classes and was accepted into a Visual arts diploma. A two year full time course. Unfortunately, the major was photography, which is what I used to get into the course. It was good, but the photography was driving me crazy a bit. On the plus side, I got to do drawing, painting and printmaking as well. Loved them all.
At the end of 2003, after the first year, I decided to see if I could get into a fine arts degree and applied to a couple of places. I was accepted into one of the best places in Victoria, the VCA or Victorian College of the Arts. It had a long history in the Australian art world and some of the most famous artists went to it. though it is usually referred to as the Gallery School. I got in there to do printmaking, but I spent a great deal of time learning to draw a lot better and through it some painting. I also did a lot of conceptual work when I there. It was an amazing experience.
I graduated in 2007 and then continued with some conceptual work after that with a few exhibitions. I also spent time painting and learning how. I loved painting.
In 2009 I got back into photography through my daughters cycling. I would photograph the races and then my camera started turning away from them to the landscapes around me. I gave up the cycling in 2012 and since then have concentrated on my own thing. It was during that time that I made the decision that I would just do photography and give up all the other things I was doing. It wasn’t a hard decision. I have found that I never needed a lot of motivation to do it, but with painting, for example, I did. It took me a while to realise that I like how clean photography is. It is never hard to clean up after it, just press Ctrl S and away I go.
So over the last few years I’ve pushed myself to try new things and to experiment with what I know to find new ways. I really like where I am with my work right now. I’m really looking forward to seeing where I go from here. I have already shared that with you.
Do you have a similar story? How did get to your art practice? What would you like to do?
I have some images of my art. I think most of you have seen them already before, but it is nice to revisit them.