Tuesday, November 21, 2017

In between

Awkward, man.

I'm not a professional artist. (Obviously.) I love to draw and have a lot of fun experimenting with art forms, but I've never taken any kind of class to teach me how to draw and I've never pursued it in a professional capacity. 

As far as art goes, I'm decent. Better than average with a pencil, can make an appealing design or express an idea with visuals. But if you consider me "an artist," I'm nothing special at all compared to people who dedicate their lives to it. And I'm also not trying to be.

But it's kind of weird to be in between. I enjoy interacting with other artists in my fan community, and much of the time they're really talented and accomplished artists whose work blows me away, while the other part of the time they're very young or very inexperienced artists who have a LONG way to go. Honestly I also have some friends who are my age and would love to draw better but haven't come even as far as I have in honing their skills, and again it's weird to be in between. To be able to look at very amateur work and think "yikes, well, I'm sure they'll keep practicing" and then turn around and look at incredible work and think "welp, I'd never be that good even if I DID decide I wanted to."

To be honest I'm probably about that way as a singer too. People who don't sing or don't know much about singing hear my performances on karaoke sites or YouTube and tell me in complete seriousness that I should be a career musician. And yet I can imagine these same recordings being mocked as cringey or being opportunity-ending disasters if they happened on a worldwide stage. For the everyman, I'm pretty good. For people who know what they're talking about, I'm mediocre.

It's awkward, yes. But truthfully? I'm at peace with it. 

I really am.

We have this obsession with excellence in our society. As if you have to do something professionally (translation: for money) or try to make a name for yourself in that field, or else it's a waste of time. It's NOT a waste of time if you're enjoying yourself. 

I make fan art from my favorite cartoon because I love having a chance to imagine the characters doing and saying things I find amusing or touching, or working out some ideas of what I think characters would say to each other if the show were to give us a moment with them. I do covers of my favorite songs because I love the songs' messages or really enjoy making something pleasant to listen to--it's fulfilling, and fun to engage with others who enjoy what I've made.

There's nothing quite like creating your own stories, which for me is something I think I DO do well enough to do professionally (well, I mean, I've been paid for it), but it's okay to have hobbies and it's okay to NOT have a goal of "progressing" or "succeeding" with them. Just enjoying them is reason enough to do them. People engage in all kinds of hobbies that don't create anything, and they're rarely asked to justify why they enjoy going to movies, having a picnic with friends, playing a sport, going out dancing, going to concerts. It's weird that solitary-by-nature activities like solo arts are so often considered less worthwhile unless they're your career. 

I'm okay with being in between.


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