Sometimes people ask me how I became an artist? It’s not really something I think about very often, I suppose I grew into the role. I always loved making, drawing and imagining for as long as I can remember and it just never went away. I tried to suppress it for awhile thinking it was for the best and perhaps it was time to grow up. This just made me deeply unhappy. I hardly earn a living and instead rely on my carers allowance I get for caring for my disabled son, teaching workshops and getting involved in arts education and outreach.
If someone buys a piece of my work like a toy or painting I have learn’t that instead of feeling grateful you should feel proud. Don’t brow beat yourself for wanting to do this more than anything in the world, stop feeling guilty and realise that without artists, makers and creatives the world would be utterly dull. You are contributing more to this ball of rock than you will ever know!
My top tips for being an artist are:
- Wake up early. Missing out on half the day is not good for the mind, early morning light is beautiful to work by. If it’s winter and still dark outside invest in a good light that warms and inspires you.
- Create a ‘work’ area. The smallest corner can be transformed, for many years I worked at a tiny writing desk with postcards, clippings and ephemera taped to the wall in front of me because I had no window to gaze out of.
- Turn your day job into art. If you’re currently working in another field like retail, office work etc there is no reason why this cannot become part of your art. Collect scraps of paper, note down things people say and set yourself a creative task for the evening/weekend.
- Experiment. You don’t have to spend lots of money on equipment and supplies. Try dying scraps of paper or fabric in tea. Look in skips and dumps (I have found some awesome things in rubbish piles) re-use pieces of wood, damaged books. Oh the possibilities are endless.
- Funding. Amazingly you can apply for funding to aid you in research and solo projects. Also check out Artist Residencies, a chance to travel, work and meet other artists on a low budget.
- Be bold. People might laugh, family members will probably disapprove because it’s not a proper job. Just remind them their favourite item of clothing, picture and even the chair that their sat on was ‘created’ by someone. Now see them act a little sheepish. The world needs you and your creative brain!