Earlier this year, I shared my very first collection of paintings. When I sat down to type the launch email, these words appeared on my screen:
For as long as I could remember, from the time I could hold something in my hand and make a mark with it, I wanted to be an artist. And for almost as long, I didn’t feel like I could call myself that. I studied fashion design so that makes me a designer, not an artist. I create brush lettering so that makes me a letterer, right? I also let other people’s misconceptions affect me–of being a “starving artist”, that art isn’t a “real” job, etc. Then at some point I realized, why am I believing these things that aren’t true? And why can’t I call myself an artist–when I’ve been an artist my entire life?
It’s actually not at all what I expected to say! In that moment, these words of how I have felt for so long just appeared on the screen! I don’t know if I’ve ever put it all together or ever really shared with anyone.
Those words made me think about why some things were so easy to say (“I am a brush letterer “I am a dog mom” “I am the biggest Backstreet Boys fan”) and this was so hard. The phrase seemed to be tied to so many things–insecurity in many forms, imposter syndrome, scarcity, beliefs I’ve picked up over the years.
It reminded of the power that words have, in the stories we tell ourselves and maybe more importantly what we don’t tell ourselves, and in what we believe to be true of ourselves.
It’s so funny because from a young age, I wanted to be an artist but as I grew up, I made so many decisions that went against that. And for a big chunk of my life, pretty much from my late 20s to now, I felt lost and many times discouraged, like I just couldn’t figure out what I was supposed to be doing. But it was right in front of my face this whole time! I was just too busy looking everywhere else and unconsciously fighting it. Luckily, all paths ended up leading me back and helped me find my way.
From crayons on the wall to fashion sketches in pencil to brush pens and lettering to acrylic paint on canvas to the mediums and creations in my future, it feels like my journey to becoming and being an artist has come full circle.
It has taken me almost 36 years to say the words, “I am an artist.” Today I turn 37 and as I head into the next year and chapter of my life, I want to remember to embrace those words because it’s who I was always meant to be.
Watch a short process video here.