|Zebra in Colour by Jeannie Hart - Prints Available.|
There are several things I found out about myself while travelling through parts of the UK. One thing I realised was that I could draw. I know that's a bit funny, an artist who thinks they can't draw. However, there is a fine line between thinking you can be an artist and being an artist.
The first step to being an artist, is to have some sort of talent. The second step though, is much harder. It requires faith that you have something worth showing to other people. And the third step is where you have to sit back and say aloud that you are an artist.
It took me a long time to realise that other people do actually like my artwork. On one hand, I always tell people, "don't care what other people think. Make art for you." And I honestly believe that in that first step you need to say this, make it your mantra. It will help guard you in those early days when you are still developing your art form. However, their does come the time when you must step outside the studio and show your work. I've found that in those early days of rejection from every gallery, that you have to realise that your art, whatever it may be is not everyone's cup of tea. The nice thing is that there is this wonderful thing called the internet--where people can showcase your art and connect with others who like your brand of wonderful. To this day I have still, not sold a single piece of artwork in my home-town. This makes me a bit sad, and when I'm at home, I have a hard time saying that I am an artist. But the third step, when you have to sit back and say aloud that you are an artist--is hard.
The first time I said I was an artist--as in that was my profession I prefaced it with, "I guess I'm a professional artist, I mean--not really." This is where support from your support network really helps. My most trusted friend looked at me and this was the following conversation:
"Jeannie, do people pay you for artwork."
"Well, yes--but it's not really artwork--it's all commercial stuff, graphic novels and stuff. I'm not a real artist"
"Do they pay you in real money?" he asked.
"Then you are a real artist."
And I just stood there in the doorway thinking about what he said. Someone, several people in fact were paying me to do artwork for them. It may not have been my version of art, but you know what? It required my talent, my eye, and a point of view that only I had. After that day, I proudly say, "I am an Artist."