I’m a self-taught artist. I mean, a reeeeally self-taught artist. I floundered for a long time...mostly before the internet was what it is today. Here are five things I wish I'd gotten in the beginning! No, not the beginning of time. We're talking 1999.
1. You don’t need a fancy degree to be a "real" artist.
This held me back, at least psychologically, for too long! I feared I would never be respected as a "real artist". Don’t believe the hype! In days of yore, you needed paper credentials a little more that you do today. With the internet you don’t need all that paperwork to be 'a creative'. You've now got access to the entire world...you can find an audience.
I’m not saying don’t go to school. I’m only saying don’t be discouraged if you can’t... or if you just didn’t! It’s 2014 and you can teach yourself anything…at any age. Now. You can do it right now!
Two (of many) examples from my go-to file:
Darryn James Rae over at Raeart is lots of fun! I look forward to every new video he uploads. This one is 10 minutes long, but I like the content for a first-timer. If you’re just starting out and still feel like you ‘wish you could paint'…watch this video! You can!
My FAVORITE location in the Portland, Oregon area is The Loaded Brush. The others are good, too. I simply like The Loaded Brush most. You will laugh, you will drink, you will paint. They are just regular, creative folks running the show over there....and that's where I did these paintings:
3. You don’t need a 'studio’.
Of course you WANT one. Who doesn’t? A studio is badass. One of those really cool ones with an open floor plan and natural light! But I don’t have one. I’ve never had one. In my 20s I would rent 2 or 3 bedroom apartments even though it was just me. Guess what? I didn’t paint more…and when I did it was often at the kitchen table because the extra space was full of stuff.
I’m way more legit now…and you know where I'm painting these days when I'm at home? In the corner of a bedroom that I also sleep in on occasion. Glamorous. We have 3 bedrooms in this cute little house. My boyfriend and I each have our own 'spare rooms' for when our schedules don't line up. I have free reign of the garage for my ACTUAL ‘studio space’, too..but it’s mostly filled with bikes and tools and it’s often too hot or too cold. It will be a great space one of these days. But today it’s not so much, so I use a cute table from Ikea and a tabletop easel. And I’m doing the best work I’ve ever done.
2. You don’t need pricey ($) materials to make great art.
It’s true. Not for the art I like. And if you like what I do, well, I don’t generally use fancy materials. I’ve tried it all out, though...and I'm sure there are some sweet arguments for 'the good stuff'. But my rattiest brushes are often my favorite. And sometimes I don’t use brushes at all! Some of the cheap-o craft paints produce the most vivid color (basic mixing tips coming soon). Plywood is fantastic! It's inexpensive and sturdy. Just try stuff out! If it works, use it. Somewhere, an artist is digging through a landfill for 'supplies'. And that's cool.
4. Stay true to yourself. Trust your own taste.
Paint what you want! Don’t even bother trying to please everyone. You can't. Not everyone will get it. It means you’re awesome! Seriously. Because you're staying true to your OWN vision.
My personal rule of thumb is this: It’s okay not to appeal to everyone…just don’t offend anyone. Hey, I don't worry about whether EVERYONE loves my art...it's not about that. But I would NOT want it to make someone feel anger or defeat or bad vibes. I have a different brand…and that’s mostly happiness and positivity. (With an occasional side of F-bombs.)
But everyone is different. I like to SEE art that is in your face! And there's room for everyone. If you want to make waves or a big political statement with your art, be just as true to that. And own it ...you'll have to because the internet doesn't forget!
5. You can’t mess it up! (This is huge.)
Okay, you can totally mess it up—you can mess it up really bad. But it doesn’t matter. Not even a little bit. Get to work, though, because whatever you did probably looks like crap! For now. Just push through it! You'll surprise (and challenge) yourself. My paintings go through at least two ‘woah, this ain’t right’ phases before it gets real. I've learned to ENJOY this--it used to paralyze me. Big time.
Kind of on the same note, and a good way to conclude...check out this Jesse Reno video. I took his 2-day workshop at Collage in February and it changed how I paint forever.
*The entire video is the SAME painting. Fun, right? Woo, I feel good!
Feel free to share where you go for inspiration in the comments below!
Up Next: Painting progress!