I watched this video derived from an audio track of an interview with radio personality Ira Glass. And it’s basically an answer to all my doubts of being an artist.
Yes. You read that right. I said artist. You know, I didn’t always aspire to be a writer. Ok, yeah. I always wanted to write. But I wanted to be so many other things too. An artist. A psychologist. A singer, although I can’t sing. A reality star. (That last one is a joke because who in her right mind would ever want that?!)
In college, I pursued art. Wait, scratch that. Let’s go back further. In 6th grade, I wanted to be an artist. I would doodle and draw, deliver my drawings to my family members and solicit feedback. When I realized I wasn’t as good at drawing as Jennifer Wasinger, I stopped drawing for a while.
Fast forward a few years to high school (zip zoooopp swish!) art was an easy choice for an elective. Of course, Art 101 was full of football players and potheads and basically anyone who didn’t want to do actual work. I was one of the best “artists” in that class but that wasn’t too difficult. I just cared a lot. So I moved on to Basic Drawing, which became more specialized. I didn’t realize how many talented artists we had at Maize High School. I started to doubt myself. I’m not good enough to continue, I thought (pretty much every day).
Then came college. I spent my freshman and half of my sophomore year, undeclared. Finally, I’m not sure why, but I declared Graphic Arts. I love design. I wanted to design. I LOVED my hands-on art courses. I’d spend hours drawing. Hours. I only got better and better. Drawing is one of my TRUE passions.
Then came Design I. I was terrible with gauche. What the hell is gauche anyway (I thought at the time)? Because, I’m more a sketch artist, I struggled to make neat paint swatches and execute with clean lines. My poor craftsmanship carried over to Printmaking as well. I’m pretty sure my Printmaking teacher had a stamp with my name on it that read, “Ambitious designs, but your edges are very untidy.”
I began to get discouraged. People would tell me that no graphic designers were getting jobs and that it was impossible. Most GD majors aren’t designing at all.
So I quit.
When you get to 1:07 in the video, that’s me in college.
I quit. I switched to Liberal Arts in Communications. This was a ridiculous switch considering I’ve seen countless T-shirts that read “I have a degree in Liberal Arts. Do you want fries with that?” I guess I just thought it’d be easier to write.
I did pretty well in Communications and I was lucky enough to get a job that didn’t require me to bathe potatoes in peanut oil. I love writing. No, I’m not a designer by trade, but I do design things. And I love the balance of writing and creativity that I get to experience nearly every day (Yeah, I’m one of the lucky ones).
But every now and then I wonder what could have been. If I’d watched a video like the one above. Or, if someone told me that being disappointed in my work was just part of growth.