Get yourself a cup of tea (or coffee, if you're so inclined), a nice blanket to make you feel fuzzy inside and sit down, today I'm going to tell you a story. This story will be told through words, gifs, pictures taken by others (and some by me).
This story is partly personal, it might have some sort of anecdote in it, or it might just be dribble. Let's see shall we?
What I took away from both of these articles is, as human beings, we often get caught up in categorising ourselves and what we do. Stereotyping, if you will. When you're in high school, you're a student and when you begin working full time, you're whatever profession you decide to take up, right? I thought so too, until last year.
Almost two years ago I got the best email I've ever received. I had gotten into art school.
I felt pretty damn good about myself and my work. Knowing that actual respected artists viewed and validated my work was one of the most amazing feelings in the world. It was also great because I knew that all of the time and energy I had injected into my work wasn't for nothing.
I had made it, I thought to myself.
When orientation started, I was so, so, so young. I was excited to learn and eager to meet other people who were also going to be studying fine arts / photography. People were creative in their clothing choices, their haircuts, their accessories. I remember being spellbound by a girl doing sculpture who had made a headband out of barbie dolls. So awesome.
But then, I felt the pressure to also dress to match my personality or mood. I found myself picking things out of my wardrobe thinking, this will make me fit in. Don't get me wrong, I love dressing up, I'd love to have crazy pink, purple, turquoise blue hair and wear everything from Gorman, but at the time (and even now), I didn't have the money to look the way I wanted and that made me feel very awkward.
Like I said before, we get into the habit of stereotyping ourselves and others.
But it's hard to do what you love. I became so obsessed with a very one dimensional image of what I was supposed to be because I attended an art school that I constantly questioned, what's wrong with me? Why am I this way? Why can't everything just be easy for me?
You see, while I enjoy creating art and looking at art, I'm not an artist stereotype. I'm not always mysterious, I don't always dress differently. I'm not achingly thin nor do I consider myself to be vulnerable. I like exercising and running and to me, that doesn't fit within the artist aesthetic that I have in my head. I felt like a fraud and despite whether that was true or not, that thought ran through my head day in day out.
Both of these women I admire for different reasons. I love Kusama's artwork, her idiosyncrasy. I love Lorna Jane's philosophy (move, nourish, believe) and her commitment to her health and her dreams (two very important parts of my life). But at the time I was in art school (and even a little bit now), I felt like these two amazing women just don't go together. You cannot be both Kusama and Clarkson, can you?
This quote was like a warm hug. It reassured me that I don't have to be what people expect of me just because of my job or what I'm studying. I have the choice to be whoever I want to be. If I want to be an artist and run marathons, then there's nothing wrong with it. As long as it makes me happy, then that's all that counts.
That's fine for every day life and all, but when you're trying to market yourself / your work, projecting yourself as a multifaceted being is difficult.
One minute I'm inspired by the delicate, sensitive work of someone like Laura Makabresku.
Or by the intricate journal drawings by Gemma Topliss.
And in complete contrast, I'm inspired by popular culture, television and films, nostalgia and internet culture.
BTS of Freaks and Geeks
RIP MSN Messenger
Le'gogh by Nismo4banger
After I think about all of my interest areas and inspirations my head kind of becomes a big whirlpool and everything gets mixed up and confused. I don't know what I like and I don't know where I stand.
I end up feeling torn between two worlds; the soft, sensitive aesthetic and popular culture, and I just don't know how to market that. How do I pick a Tumblr theme for that? How do I show both of those worlds in my work?
Eventually I just forget about it and change my Tumblr theme regularly or my ideas for projects go out the window and the circle begins again. I'm inspired by something, I think about how this could work within my current aesthetics and interests and then get overwhelmed because everything is just a mishmash.
And now I'm here, writing this blog post of how I would like to embrace my multifaceted-ness but how difficult I find it because of marketing and my personal budget to spend on clothes, make up, hair / my general appearance, and how annoying it is that I feel like a blend of everything I've interacted with in life rather than a solid shape that fits in a cookie cutter like everyone else seems to.
Don't get me wrong, being fluid and open to different briefs in my work is a seriously important skill but I often feel as though I haven't found my niche yet, like so many other people seem to have and that really frustrates me.
Visual representation of my mind when I feel like this
If you experience this at all, please feel free to vent or share your suggestions of how I can harness the best of both worlds in the comments below.
And now I'm going to go and watch some Lizzie McGuire because we all know how much better it is than Hannah Montana.
Hope you enjoyed your blast from the past,