See what I did there? I’m clever.
So, here’s the thing. I
am not normally try not to be a whiner. I try not to be depressed, hell, I try my damnedest to find the positive in things and get on with getting on because that’s what life is about, right? Bad things happen, we get over and get on. And even if I do end up whining, or crying, or being depressed, I know that I’ll get up and keep on going because I really can’t do anything else about it.
It’s just sometimes things get to me. Not many things, mind you. I’ve come to terms with a lot of things. Not everything, but a lot of things.
That being said, art is one of those things that I haven’t come to terms with. The fact that I have to fail at something, I have not come to terms with.
Yes. I’m sad to say. Apparently, my many years of people telling me I am absolutely talented got to my head and I took it upon myself not to take art classes as a kid and thereby set myself light years back as an adult.
That, my friends, is what the lawyers and Shakespeare call hubris and it. is. a. bitch.
Hubris, like Karma, will take you down a bunch of notches and make you question a lot of things. There’s a checklist. I’ve seen it.
Now, hang on, you say, this is supposed to be a writing blog. It’s not supposed to be a ‘pity me’ blog where the author gets to whine about how they’re not good enough because their ego was given a healthy bruising by reality.
Ah, you are correct.
Here’s the thing, the perspective, if you will. The reason I am whining is because my ego has been bruised (badly) and because I realised that I’m not as good as everyone says I am. And that’s a good thing.
If you’re in the arts, the worst thing you can do for yourself is surrounding your person with other persons who spout nothing but good things about your work. If every single one of those other persons simply gushes about how awesome your (insert artistic endeavour here) is/are, they may be boosting your ego, but they’re doing you no favours. None.
Because people who always say “omigod how awesome you are!” are doing one of a few things (in no particular order):
1. Blowing smoke
2. Being nice in spite of their true opinion
3. Want something
Now, that isn’t to say you have a few honest souls in the bunch, who honestly do think that your (insert artistic endeavour here) are the greatest thing since sliced bread. And they are fantastic to have around, because seriously, if you’re around an artist/writer for any length of time you will realise how very delicate we actually are and how easily we do bruise. We need that boost, that ego pick me up, because, who doesn’t?
What we don’t need is that ego boost and pick me up all the time.
Getting into art school has thrown me in the midst of my peers, some of whom are much more talented than I, and others who are (literally) just starting out. All have had drawing experience, but very few of them have kept up with it and so, are re-learning skills that they might have lost. What isn’t there, is a sense of ‘I’m better than you’, rather, it’s a contest to see who can grasp the concept of two point perspective better. A contest that I am seriously losing.
Because f&$k two point perspective. It and it’s stupid dual vanishing point.
And, again, that’s a good thing. And maybe I made up the contest. Just a little bit. To make myself feel better.
Understand that there is no contest in art school. Everyone is learning, and at some point, everyone is failing.
Although, we seriously need to think of a better word than fail. Because for a writer, a rejection letter is often considered a failure. It’s not, though. By definition, failure means you can’t do something no matter how hard you’ve tried. Writers don’t fail just like artists don’t fail.
NO ONE FAILS AT ARTING!
I’ve gotten a few rejections. Doesn’t mean I’ve failed, though it certainly feels like it, it just means that I wasn’t what they were looking for. Apparently I’m pretty alright with two point perspective in theory. I know I can do it, I’ve drawn two point perspective scenes before, but when made to point out two point perspective in a picture, I have the damnedest time figuring out what the hell is going on. Doesn’t mean I’ve failed, it just means that I need some serious help. There is never a rejection in art. Any art. Oh sure, it can (and does) feel like you’re not good enough. But the secret is, you are.
It’s called a learning process. And, if you surround yourself with equal parts criticism and ego boost, you’ll round yourself out quite nicely.
And the learning process involves everything artistic. Writing, playing the guitar, teaching your pet goldfish Molly to wait tables (that is an art form, mark my words). Whatever it is you do, it is a process. From A to Z. There are steps in between. And like any good process; it takes time, it takes acceptance (of not just what you can do but what you can’t), and it takes a whole helluva lot of getting over yourself to really appreciate the enormity of the thing.