I grew up as a fine artist. I learned to paint with oils and watercolors via semi-private lessons at the age of twelve after learning as much as I could on my own. People told me, “You’re so talented!” I won every contest and competition that I entered. I repeated AP Art in high school. I was commissioned at a young age to make art for real deal adults. I was confident but it was completely dependant on what everyone else thought. On how they valued or understood my work.
Fast forward twenty years. I’ve had my fair share of humbling experiences. I’ve wrestled with my “life’s work.” I’ve felt insecure, excited, unsure and proud of myself. For every one thing that I make that I love, there are hundreds of attempts or failures that taught me something. Sometimes people love something that I made while I secretly hate it.
Recently, The Wonder Jam (the creative studio that I co-own with my husband), won a creative award. Our client entered some of the work that we had created and it won. I was telling a friend about it and made an off-hand comment. Something along the lines of, “Yeah we won. Which is nice. But I already knew the work was great.”
What probably came off as egotistical, to me, feels comfortable. It felt like an “ahh finally” moment. I would rather be proud of the work that I make, for the people that we serve, every day by myself than be awarded and recognized by everyone else. And I’m finally getting comfortable saying it out loud.