Blog: How I Became an Artist

Christine Alfery

Posted on December 04 2017

Blog: How I Became an Artist

Featured image: Going Home I

I was never very good at anything. I couldn’t read, I hated math, science did not suit me. Why? I believe I have always been a visual learner, I could not learn like a normal kid. And I was dyslexic. Back then when I was in school these labels did not exist. And I had to learn how to live with my supposed abnormalities. I survived because my teachers noticed I liked to make things with my hands so rather than let me be constantly disruptive in the classroom they put paints, paste, crayons in front of me. That was fine, but I only became frustrated because I was not included with the others. This frustration was a positive for me, it made me struggle with my deficiencies and taught me that my individual struggle was the most rewarding thing that happened to me in my childhood. The coping skills still serve me today, and I face new and different struggles daily.

The creating thing followed me to college, I would study to learn how to become an artist. I thought that I could be taught to be an artist. In college I learned technique, I learned how to draw a figure, how to draw a hand, how to mix paints, and how to design a great composition. These things did not make me the artist I am today and did not make what I created “art.”

It was only years of struggling to survive as a technician a crafts person, did I discover what it really meant to be an artist and what it meant to create a work of art. I could not be taught what it meant to be an artist, I had to discover it and the struggle was extremely important in the entire process. I was not born to be an artist as I used to believe, my historical foundation was based on my inability to learn like others and my struggle to be like them. Now, after many advanced degrees to prove to myself that I was ok, I was normal, I realize how valuable lessons of struggle and survival, and unique independence and being different were. I have discovered that those who did struggle and eventually find themselves are stronger today for that struggle. Lessons that others never had the opportunity to learn because they were normalized. Lessons of difference, uniqueness and the struggle to be independent, and to honor my individuality.

I became an artist later in life even though I have created what I called art all of my life. What makes me believe I am an artist today and wasn’t before today? The concepts of liberty and freedom.

Liberty and Freedom in Art.

I personally chose to be an artist because of the liberties art allows me to have and use in my life and for my own happiness. Liberty as I understand it is being free, within a society, from any oppressive restrictions. Being free as I understand it is not being enslaved or forced to do something by another. Art and artist should never be enslaved or forced to do something by another.

These values of freedom and liberty, these values that I hold and work towards in my life, are, I believe, I why many “wish” to be labeled as an artist. But we are not born with these values and wishing for them will not make them happen. That is why all individuals who want to be artists are not artists. These values need to be discovered. And once discovered they need to be held on to tightly.

These values, they are not created. These values need to be discovered by the want to be artist. When an artist discovers these values for themselves their work becomes independent, and uniquely individual. Unique in the sense that the art work is different, distinctive and extraordinary in its composition and concept. It is unique to a specific artist.

I do not believe we can create ourselves

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