I was born, then I could crawl, then I could walk, then I could speak, then I could draw.
Its always been there for me, the ability to transfer what I see in my head onto paper. From a very early age it was apparent to my parents and teachers that I had the skillset to become an artist.
I had all the tools for a head start, I could draw, I could paint, I could see things in my head and transfer it to a canvas. So why did it take me to 30 to get it right and produce something I am truly proud of? I believe its because of a few things.
Let me take you back in time. All through my 20s I cared way too heavily about what people thought of me. Something I shouldn't have done but something very few people realise or want to admit at the time. Shit happens right? My 20s were still some of the best years of my life and I dont regret anything I went through as it brought me here, talking to you right now. Anyway, throughout those years I had a few stabs at the art world and failed. The main reason for this is because everytime I would paint something I was painting what I thought people wanted to see. The customer was at the forefront of my mind and although I did go through phases of doing ok financially with it, it would never last and I felt nothing for the work I was producing. The passion for the work wasn't there. That was my first major mistake, which we will talk about in more detail another time.
My second mistake was that it took me to my late 20s to learn to be accountable for every single thing, good or bad, thats happened in my life. If I messed up I instantly blamed something else or the situation. From there my interest in what I was doing would fade and I would give up on it. It was almost like I was using it as an excuse to give up. Which brings me to my next mistake, I was a lazy little shit! My 20s, for all they were amazing, were also some of my least creative years. I graduated from art college and a job didnt land on my lap so I ended up with a full time job in a call centre (yes, that old sad song). The years went by, I worked, I slept, I partied in ibiza every summer, and that was about it. Its difficult to get those creative juices flowing when you spend 8 hours a day trying to pronounce your name in a Scottish accent to someone from Kent. That being said, it was still my fault that I wasnt doing what I loved. It was easier to be where I was.
'Ease is a greater threat to progress than hardship'
But then something magical happened. On the eve of june 12th 2015, a fairy came into my room and took away my flying fuck and just like that, it was no longer mine to give. I was 30 years old, and for the first time since I was a child I didnt care about what others thought of me. Thats what turning 30 did for me. Im not saying that it will happen to you too but I am saying that letting go of what others will think of you opens the floodgates of progress. It was also around this time in my life that I really began to take full responsibility for everything in life that had happened to me. This was another major catalyst in my road to truly finding out what I had to give as an artist as it unlocked drive in me like a fuckin super car. I alone was responsible for everything that happened to me, therefore I alone could change the outcome of everything, including my emotional reactions to things that didnt go the way I wanted to.
My point in all this? You are going to fail, a lot! Accept that. Its through this acceptance that the severity and fear of failure will fade. From here you will start to see failure as part of the process. Stop caring about what others will think and take accountability for everything that has happened and will happen to you, good or bad!
You will only be a failure if you give up.
Life isnt a road map that everyone follows. And if you think it is then punch yourself in the face. Life doesnt exist without us and our thoughts and choices. Its not set out until you set it out. You're not governed by life, life is governed by you. We are the choices that we make and we are our own perception of ourselves. We are all the creator of our own story, we are all god in our own lives. (If you believe in that sort of thing)
Even now as I write this I know that there are paintings on my website that I am so proud of that I know wont sell well or sell at all. I also know that I will continue to create artworks that will not sell or fail to impress, and thats ok. I love every painting I create and I learn and grow equally from each one.
There is not one single success story on this planet where the person got it right first time and didnt have to work hard for it. You think you're any diiferent? Exactly! So stop crying and pull your finger out your arse!