My dear (and extremely talented illustrator) friend, seyoung, sent me this list during a time where I was really doubting myself. I think artists are almost predisposed to doubting/questioning the quality of their work, I mean after all, I don't think we're in a business where the quality of our work can always be directly assessed by how much we make. Yes I do realize that to some degree more money does equal a higher quality of work, but honestly I know many cases where this does not stand (on a side note I really want to mention that the relationship between money and creative work really puts me off). Just because you're starting off, doesn't mean you automatically suck y'know? Yes you may still be rough around the edges, and there are probably many things you need/can learn about your trade... and yes you may fail more often than you succeed, but the point here is that you started this because you have a passion for it.
I think the quality your art is equally correlated with finding yourself - hence it's SOSO crucial that you do this for YOURSELF and not anybody else. I know a lot of times when we're starting off, we're always trying to imitate artists that we like... after all, "imitation is the greatest form of flattery" huh? I struggled with this so much (and still do) but at some point I came to realize that my personal work looked so different from the work that was presented to the public, as if it was shot by two different photographers. I think this is why it's so crucial for you to shoot for yourself. My semi-failed (it's semi because I got to 247/365 haha) attempt at project 365/photo-a-day for 2011 really helped me come to terms with what kind of "photographer" I was. I realized that having committed myself to "just shoot" forced me to grow, understand and face who I was as a photographer.
Last year, I had the amazing opportunity to intern for LeahAndMark and if I had to choose to share one thing that I learned and CAN'T afford to forget is that hard work pays off so much more than just talent ever will. You wouldn't believe how much commitment, time and passion they pour into their work, they literally burst their rears ALL.THE.FREAKING.TIME (you'd think they are saving starving kitties all around the world or something). I'm not saying that talent doesn't matter at all, but honestly, what's the point in having talent when you're not applying yourself? Having a passion for something and working hard towards it will be much more rewarding in the end, trust me.
"If you compare yourself to others you will become vain and bitter; there will always be greater and lesser persons than yourself."
So really, STOP IT. I know it's super cheesy but when it comes down to it, you really have to follow your heart. One thing that really worked for me was asking myself, "what is the worst thing that could happen?" and when I took the time to REALLY reflect on it, the answer would never be anything detrimental to my life or those around me. "What have you got to lose?" contemplate on the answer and go on from there. In the majority of cases, you'll realize that you are the only one holding yourself back. STOP IT.
Starting this blog isn't so much about me trying to sell you my services, but rather as a means of allowing myself to be vulnerable. I think there's something extremely invaluable in putting yourself and your work out on the internet for everyone to see/judge. It really pushes you to work harder and to improve yourself... and in the end, isn't that what life is all about?
I want to grow... as an artist, photographer, human being... into the person that I was intended to be.