Today’s blogpost is dedicated to all the people who respond to my art with “I’m so jealous, I can’t even draw a stick man”.
I feel like the party trick of human society is coming up with a random social “rule”, and convincing everyone that it’s legit, and not, in fact, completely surreal. Like the concept of “talent”. We’re brought up viewing art through the lens of “how does it fit within the convention of ‘good’ art” and “how much money will it fetch”. Moreover, we’re socialised to think that you either can or can’t be creative. That’s a big fat lie.
The idea of “artistic talent” is born from a rhetoric that, in one fell swoop, ignores the hard work artists put in, devalues what they are doing, and prevents others from engaging healthily with something they might really enjoy. Absolutely nobody is born with the ability to control a pencil on the paper; the 'natural talent' is simply the desire to open their mind to continuing to create. Pretty much everything else has been gained by that artist working their butt off to realise their creative vision. That's not to mention the concept that art doesn't have to be conventionally "good" to be, valuable to pursue.
I’m one of the many artists made from a child that just never stopped creating. My sketchbook acted as a comfort blanket, enabling me to socialise in a way I felt comfortable; it went everywhere with me, and I drew pretty much every day of my life until my early 20’s. Throughout that time, I struggled hugely with my confidence - but those two decades created a vital foundation for me to start doing wildlife art. And you know what? When I did fall into animal art, I still had a lot of growing to do. It’s always felt very natural to paint the way I do, but when I started I didn’t have a clue when it came to watercolours. 5 years ago, I was dreaming of being able to paint like I do now. And In another 5 years, I’ll be even better still.
Creativity is an innate human behaviour; you do not need to be technically competent at it nor able to monetize your doodles in order to be "allowed" to create. We need to normalise the fact that someone's enjoyment of creating should be the only reason they need to engage with art; similarly, more emphasis should be but on the fact that the more your create, the closer you become to realising your creative vision. And just to prove it, here’s a comparison between a piece from my childhood, one of the first wildlife pieces I did in watercolour, and one of my most recent pieces. I’ve worked so hard to get to where I am, and if I can do it – anyone can. It's all about the mindset!