I’ve written a few times about my experience as an art major in college. It only lasted my freshman year, and then I switched to a (highly useful) English degree after that. After changing my major, I often wandered the halls of the art building feeling sad and lost inside. I felt like a starving person with no money standing outside the Bellagio buffet.
Still, I felt like I made the right decision, just like when I dumped my theater scholarships to study art and still to this day feel a twinge of sadness when I hear showtunes.
Why did I leave art?
Lots of reasons, all of which I hope to explore here later because I feel they’re valuable, but one of the biggest reasons is that I felt like art “abandoned” me somehow. Art was like a lifelong friend who turned into a jerk once we got to college. Instead of finding my artistic voice and feeling free and creative, we debated the definition of art and whether beauty has value. The art department praised the new, edgy, shocking, and obscene while scoffing at “decorative objects”, or “pretty” art. Crucifixes in jars of urine were “art”, but a simple drawing with no other purpose than to be pleasing was not. “Hard” art was “good”, while “soft” art was not. Real art was either be sold for thousands or millions of dollars, or not sold at all. Art was for people with money and doctoral degrees, or those who were willing to starve for it.
While I took notes and felt my spirit shrinking, I could only think “Man Art, you used to be cool.”
Don’t get me wrong, I had some good times as an art major. I met some great people and had my moment of zen moments perched on a drawing horse while sketching wads of crumpled paper, but I came into the art program wanting to be an artist, and I left it wanting nothing to do with the art world. The art world was a crooked, elitist place and I wanted nothing to do with it.
Luckily, I’ve come to my senses.
I barely made any art in college. I made art for assignments, but that was about it even though I haunted the local art galleries and put all kinds of good ideas on the back burner until I felt like being an artist again. Last spring, I started painting for fun again and in the fall, Sam suggested that I try selling art. I started learning about the real world rather than the art world, and I realized that it’s not such a scary place after all; at least it doesn’t have to be. I learned about Etsy and met all kinds of artists who are real people and proud of it. (I’m not saying that edgy, post-modern artists aren’t real, it’s just the image that’s not real.)
Most of all, I realized that owning and enjoying art isn’t limited to rich collectors or people with alphabets behind their names. Art can be affordable, approachable, and most of all: fun. It doesn’t have to make a huge statement or be shocking (though it certainly can). Sometimes, art can just be pretty. It can just make someone happy when she looks at it. It belongs in homes, offices, on desks, in wallets, in our jewelry boxes, on our notebook covers, everywhere! Anyone can make it, and anyone can enjoy it. It can say anything or nothing.
Art is for everyone, and that’s one of the messages I hope to send with my own art. I don’t mean that my art is for everyone, because not everyone will like it and that’s fine. I want my art to be approachable, thoughtful, beautiful, and fun. I want it to be accessible and positive. Not everyone has room or money for large art, so I’ve started making small art as well, and I have plans to expand my shop and share my art with as many people as possible.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this subject. What do you think about the art world, or what art “is”?
I’ve been on fire lately, 2 giant items officially crossed off the Handprint List in two months! I say giant not because they’re crazy or expensive. Obviously, I still have a lot of traveling to do, but these two are completely up to me and my own power. No one else can do them for me. Just a few months ago, I didn’t think either of them were possible.
If you missed my last Handprint List update, catch it here.
So what have I done this time?
- Sell a piece of artwork
Here it is:
Sold. Someone actually paid me for something I created, which is a dream come true for any creative soul who longs to turn their passion into a career.
And that’s not even the most exciting part. I real kicker is that I’ve decided to pursue my dream of being a professional artist, not some time in the future, but right now. I’ve been covered in paint for the last two months and I have a body of work that I’m proud to display.
In the next few weeks, I’ll be launching a new website to showcase and sell my artwork. This site won’t be a replacement for Handprint Soul, but rather an extension of it. You can still read my posts about intuitive eating, passionate living and creative healing here on the main site, but if you interested in viewing my work and reading about my life as an artist, I’d love to see you on this new site. I’ll announce it when it’s ready to be unveiled, but until then you can catch me on Facebook and view works available for purchase on ebay.
Here’s a taste of what I’ve been up to:
So that’s a taste of what I’ve been up to. I’ll let you know when the new site is ready and I hope to see you there! Until then, I’ll be hanging around here and on Facebook.