Comparing our art to others’
Last night, I was checking out some artist’s websites, gathering ideas and just getting a feel for what’s out there right now. I saw lots of wild colors, hard lines, intense movements and fine detail. I heard a little voice in my head tell me “Wow McKella, your art sucks out loud.”
I already felt a little lousy because for some reason, my mind kept replaying some hurtful past events, and one of the ways I deal with that is to look at art, but yesterday it backfired. I felt like my creations weren’t good enough, that my imagination wasn’t good enough, and that my skills weren’t worth developing. The worst part is, creating is a big part of who I am, so believing that my creations aren’t good enough is like believing that I’m not good enough.
I’ve poured way too much work into fixing my self-worth, so I wasn’t going to let this feeling go unchecked. I shut off the computer for the night and went for a walk. I even took off my flip-flops and walked barefoot around my neighborhood (I kept an eye out for glass and stuff, don’t worry.) Something about being barefoot heightens not only your sense of touch, but all the senses. It instantly connects you with the world around you.
I got to the park and I couldn’t help but smile, because nothing feels better than walking barefoot in soft spring grass. I heard the little voice in my head again, this time saying “My art expresses what’s inside of me, and what’s inside of me is enough.”
It made sense to me then. All through elementary school and junior high I made art to express what’s inside of me, and that got a lot of negative attention from my peers.
In high school, I continued to bring out my inner world with art while a lot of my peers focused on studying the outer world. Fantastic lifelike portraits. Trompe L’oeil. Boldly colored animals. I think I only represented something outside of myself when my teachers assigned it. I rarely worked with references and chose to create things the way I felt them rather than how they looked.
I’m more about texture than color; simple compositions, repeated motifs and very loose brushstrokes. Yesterday, I felt like my work was terrible. Today, I feel like it has, and that I have great potential. Sure, I’m using pretty cheap materials at the moment because that’s what the budget allows and it’s better than not painting at all, but I’m not concerned with making gallery-quality stuff at the moment. I’m painting to express what’s inside of me, and that’s it. It’s good enough.
Have you ever compared your creations to those of other people?