One of the biggest things I've struggled with as a person and as a painter is confidence. It's harder to maintain when you know as an artist you will never achieve the level of artistic satisfaction you want in your life. it's inevitable to compare yourself to the greats and where they were in their lifetime at your age as well as your peers. One of the things I have learnt is that taking losses is where real growth lies.
I feel as though there is such a thing in the art world that i've seen many of my peers go through. It's the painting blues, this is a time where you hate everything you produce and your work suffers as a result of the stress this causes. The pressure builds up and you go on a long hiatus from painting, or at least I have. I would console myself and tell myself you need to take breaks from the intense learning schedule of school, your hands need to catch up with your brain and so forth. However, what if I kept pushing through? Would the negative voices eventually quite down giving you control over yourself and your expression again? I was told by one of my best friends and greatest people i've ever had the honour of knowing is that some of the best work comes from pain and dark times. How does one acquire that discipline to keep going in their darkest hours? There have been times where I searched for solace in my craft and the results from that where always peaceful, at least to my state of mind. I reached a place where the world around me melted away and I was consumed. Maybe confidence in ones self and their craft need to be totally separate, them being totally different entities makes more sense.
Not long ago when I was teaching my own class at the school studios I remember being insanely nervous but also excited. I suddenly had moments where I believed I could help the new aspiring artists learn and develop tools they'd need in their own artistry. I had students that thanked me at the end of their term and students that asked for private tuition after as well. I've had previous students track me down on my social media accounts to ask for advice outside of class despite me only being the teacher assistant prior to teaching my own classes. I also had students that had left the classes they were assigned to just to join my over crowded figure class. So why can't I just believe in myself when I know all signs are pointing in the right direction? Truthfully I am too hard on myself and have been told by everyone. What I have not been told is that I am not a great artist, or that I am not a good student or a good teacher. This blog alone took me 3 weeks to pluck up the courage to write. I kept thinking to myself what can I write about on a topic I feel like I lack the most in. The truth is I ruminate over the negative voices in my head that are an agglomeration of all the people that couldn't express their happiness for me or towards me, some of these people are the closest to me. I love them, but it's okay to respectfully break away from the people that aren't doing you any good and trust in your own self. That's actually where true happiness lies.
I think confidence needs to come from believing you are created exactly the way you were supposed to be. Knowing you are special and unique or that there is something about you that just takes the right person to see and champion. I don't mean the type of cookie cutter unique where everyone actually tries to do the same thing but just finesses a little on top to make it their own or tries too hard to be edgy. I mean the type of uniqueness that is unforgivably you, your past, your future and your influences all make you who you are, I believe that's what needs to be challenged into a craft. Even the pain and low times. I think it's trusting that whatever is produced maybe onto a winner. It comes from a pure place, maybe an uncomfortable place, but those are the things people resonate with. If that purity comes from happiness there is still something in you that makes everyone uniquely happy channel that too.
I want to learn to trust the good voices around me, the kind words that never stopped flowing towards me. The ones that always believed when I never did. It's okay to not feel okay, what not okay is to mellow in that for a while and not channel that into something. I think confidence and self belief comes from trust, trusting the words of the positive people around you but also trusting that your own path to greatness will be very different from everyone else's. That's what will lead to greatness in your craft, confidence in things like brush strokes and self belief also comes from trusting that you are exactly who you're supposed to be, it's tapping into the weird and wonderful parts of you that will make your work great and stand out. Giving up is not an option, I have abandoned platforms I exceeded at and was one of a kind on because of the negativity of other artists. I gave up on myself thinking I am taking the higher ground and even took a significant cut to commissions because of it. Self confidence and believing in myself would have never allowed me to do such things. When you're doing something great people are threatened by it, they want you to stop so they can crawl their way in anyway they can. There is enough money out there for everyone and enough space for everyone to be seen and heard. Once we realise that we can reach a state of content and produce work that comes from our true selves. Confidence is probably the single most biggest key to success, if I don't believe in myself why should anyone else?