I’ve been painting this week, and listening to podcasts while I do so. I came across one that I didn’t realize at the time, set me “off kilter” a bit. It has to do with “Imposter Syndrome” and the artist.
In the podcast, the host and the guest were discussing art education and the self taught artist. They both agreed that self taught artists, pretty much aren’t artists because they have not gone to school and been trained as an artist. They also said that people use that as an excuse to protect their ego if someone says their art isn’t good or wasn’t done “right”.
I will admit. It make me bristle at the time. While I went to school for graphic design, I am not a “trained artist”. When people ask, I do tell then I am a self taught artist, because other wise they ask me where I went to school anyways.
So, this morning I had a coupon for an art store and decided that after struggling with trying to use the cheapie brushes I had collected over the years, I was going to get some really good brushes. There were several styles of brush that I don’t have in my assortment, that I knew would be useful to me after watching quite a few YouTube videos of others painting.
I bought them. As I was walking out the door, towards my car, a voice popped into my head that suggested it was stupid for me to waste my time and money on those brushes. It told me that I’m not a “real artist”. It brought up the podcast conversation as proof. I felt that awful pang in my stomach, and the jittery feeling you get when you have screwed up in front of other people watching (though no one was watching me that I am aware of.) But that stupid voice in my head was observing, smirking.
I tried something new this time, and I just told it to shut the fuck up. Yes, I used those exact words. It really pissed me off that I had let a couple of people on a podcast infiltrate my creative contentedness. You know what? It silenced it!
Perhaps I am extra sensitive about that particular subject because I am considering going to college next spring. For arts and women’s studies. Maybe. I haven’t fully decided yet, it is a huge commitment. I may start with just a few classes and see how it goes.
But, it doesn’t really matter if I do go back to school or not. I am still going to be an artist no matter what. I don’t believe one has to go to college to be an artist. I also know that self taught doesn’t really mean self taught either. It means we have taken the initiative to seek out books, and videos that have helped us learn our craft. We spend hours making mistakes and finding ways to correct them. We grow. We evolve. We are artists.