All through high school I wrote in my journal, “I want to be an artist.”
I kept writing it through my first several jobs after high school Somewhere in the midst of becoming the Director of Public Relations at a private high school and coordinating all the graphics and newsletter and visual lay out work for the school I transitioned to saying, “I am an artist.” One day everything shifted…
I asked Carmen Torbus about her experience identifying herself as an artist. I’ll share her heartfelt reply with you. Carmen’s book, THE ARTIST UNIQUE, is the subject of a series of ongoing posts. I hope you are enjoying them…
Here’s Carmen’s answer and a piece of her current work…
I asked, “When did you first assert to the world at large, without qualification, “I am an artist?” And she answered…
The truth is, I’m not sure I have without qualifying it. (Suddenly feels the urge to hang head in shame.) I still feel a little funny in my stomach when I say out loud that I am an artist. I feel like an artist. I paint and create and play with art supplies, (and here comes the “but”) but what I love more than anything is the process. I love painting. I love making a ginormous mess with paint. I love adding words and doodles and images and text. I love learning new techniques, playing with texture tools and experimenting with color.
But does that make me an artist? My heart tells me it does. But my gremlins ask me questions like, “Who do you think you are anyway?” and then I question if I’m really an artist at all, and I compare myself to others and start the measure up game that never ends well. Then something else happens.
I get the urge to go sit in my studio. When that urge strikes and I lean into it, something deeper starts to stir. I sit there in my chair at my art desk and I look at my art supplies and my art journals and my in-progress canvases and my blank canvases and my paint brushes…. and I instinctively reach for a tube of transparent yellow iron oxide paint and squeeze a little onto my palette and dip my finger in the paint and start painting. And in that moment, I know, unequivocally, that I am an artist.
I may not always be fully prepared to assert it to the world at large, but if I assert it to myself often enough, and if I lean into my instincts enough, I’ll get there.
I think more than anything, my calling is to encourage, inspire and believe in other creative women on the verge – to empower them to lean into their own urges and instincts, until they are ready to believe in themselves. That to me is another form of art – and that is the artist I am – to my core.
More from Carmen and my ongoing exploration with Polymer Clay next week.
In the meantime…remember the words of Benjamin Franklin (although it is sometimes attributed to Thomas Jefferson) as you creatively head into your own celebration of Independence Day…
Those who would give up Essential Liberty
to purchase a little Temporary Safety,
deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.