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In seventh grade, my art teacher told me I had a lot of talent. The year after that, I couldn't enroll in any more art classes because I had to take a foreign language. I have not had any "formal" art training since that point, though my ego is still fueled by Ms. Noelde's statement.
Seventh grade was also a year I focused heavily on art as a coping mechanism. I was still undiagnosed with Tourette's and my anxiety was at an all-time high. The only thing that ever helped was art class. Even if I was around classmates who were more skilled than me, concentrating on my own creative process distracted me from the chaos in my mind. It was mindfulness before I even knew what it was.
The week the world went on lockdown, I immediately coped by pulling out my stash of art supplies. They were a bit dusty since I tend to abandon hobbies for long periods of time and then decide that I am passionate about them after all.
While I call myself a "sometimes artist", I really only played around with photography and manipulated photography as an art form for the past few years when I finally stopped being as shy about my work. For the first time in a while, I drew with ink pens, molded clay, painted with watercolors, and anything else I felt like doing. And yes, most of them were pandemic related. I drew Typhoid Mary, a plague doctor, people in masks, the coronavirus, etc. My way of coping with the pandemic was apparently facing it head-on in the things I created. The absolute terror of every unknown thing was funneled into little doodles on scrap paper.
I've downloaded goofy photo editing apps, like Vaporgram, a vaporwave-themed art app where I can mix early 2000's nostalgia with 2010s angst and random pictures from my phone gallery. (No, this isn't a sponsored post, but if Vaporgram would like to sponsor me, I wouldn't say no.)
I created all sorts of silly memes for no reason other than to make them. I'd like to think it's a way of rebelling against my own obsession with being productive with anything creative I do. It's okay to create because I want to, not to change the universe. If I want to change the universe with my creativity, it doesn't have to be today.
Even over a year later, I'm still turning to art once more for comfort. But now I've expanded to experimenting with drawing apps, doodling without a goal in mind, sometimes very much drawing with a goal in mind and being disappointed when it doesn't turn out perfectly. Then remembering I wasn't even aiming for perfection in the first place.
I think what keeps me motivated is a meme or some reshared tumblr post about how an experiment with two groups of people. One group was instructed to create a piece of pottery as perfectly as they could. The other group was instructed to make pottery, no matter how it looked. The second group was the one who improved the most. I obviously don't know if this even happened, but I have learned throughout my own experiences that trying and doing is better than sitting around and ruminating on how to create the perfect piece of writing or art. I've learned more through practice than I have sitting and saying, "Wow, I wish I could write/draw/paint/whatever like that."
So, what art will you create today, even if it sucks?
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.