Finding a niche, and owning it...

As an artist, there is always the question of, "what the heck am I going to do with these talents?" This question can come from ourselves, our family members and friends, and pretty much anyone who catches word that we have chosen art as a career. It's a difficult question to think about, let alone answer. 

Throughout the foundation years of my schooling, I was lost. I knew what styles I was drawn to,  but I always felt like I was posing as someone I wasn't or trying to cram my pieces into categories that weren't quite the right fit. I was jealous of my classmates who effortlessly settled into comics or fan art. I envied how easy it was for them to come up with an idea for whatever project was assigned. 

Then, in a moment so fleeting that I don't even remember it, I decided to sketch a dog onto a piece of linoleum in my printmaking class. My motivations behind this were simple, because I like dogs and it was a subject that could see myself and others enjoying. There was no complex meaning or notes of activism. It was simply a dog, because I liked it. BOOM. Floodgates opened. I spent the rest of that semester cranking out different dog designs and playing with the different ways I could print them. My pace of working accelerated and I was chomping at the bit to start on the next design.

Without even trying, I had found my place. I had unknowingly made the connection that art shouldn't be hard. Art shouldn't be hard because we all have something that is so basic and vital to our very soul that is worth sharing with the world. I had always known I loved dogs, just as I had always known that I loved making art. All it took was a moment when calculation and wracking my brain ceased and that passion and message made its way onto the paper. 

I am blessed that my place in the art world became clear so early. I am lucky that I accidentally experienced a lapse in my quest for purpose, in order to organically realize how my skills are best executed. My advice to those out there like me is do what makes you happy. If watching paint swirl in your water cup makes you happy, find a way to share that with the world. If drawing naked ladies with flowers in their hair makes you happy, then eff those Instagram guidelines and do it! If watching the effects a filter has on a photograph fascinates you then find a way to translate that message. Once you surrender yourself to the subjects and concepts that make you happy, commit to them. Devote yourself to serving your purpose. If you do, I promise others will connect with that passion. And with that connection, the opportunities are limitless....