For the longest time, I told myself I couldn’t call myself a writer. It was a hobby, not a job, and I chose to prioritize other things above it. So the privilege of calling myself a writer was revoked, right?
No, I very was wrong. I am a writer because I write; because I love to write. And I don’t need permission from anyone else to call myself a writer.
We tell ourselves we aren’t artists, writers, creatives, etc. because we don’t fit the role well enough. We compare how we do these things to how we think they should be done, and when things don’t line up perfectly, we shy away.
But no one is doing it perfectly. Not even the people we think are doing it perfectly are actually doing it perfectly.
I talked about this with Alyssa, my friend, amazingly talented artist, and founder of Design Mine By Alyssa. We talked about how she came to accept the word “artist,” her journey to creating art on her own terms, and her upcoming art show in New York happening (today!) July 20. Here’s a snippet of our convo:
Tell us about Design Mine By Alyssa and how it got started.
It started because I was in a career limbo where I didn’t know what I wanted to do next. I was working at a retail bridal store but then injured my foot, so had some time off. I knew I wanted to continue working in the wedding industry somehow but also wanted to use more of my creativity. With the time off I decided to make a website for Design Mine By Alyssa. Since then, I’ve worked on everything from murals, wedding planning, events, and my upcoming art installation is happening on Thursday, July 20 in New York.
Did you always consider yourself an artist?
No. I used to find reasons why I wasn’t an artist. I would always say, “I never took an art class, I’m not an artist. I don’t know what I’m doing.”
I had to let go of what I thought an artist was. Now I know that because I create art, I am an artist.
I was once working on a nursery room at a client’s house. She was downstairs on the phone and I overheard her say, “The artist is here now; she’s upstairs.” That was the weirdest thing. I was like, “Oh, I’m the artist upstairs.” Because I create art I am an artist.
What would you say to younger artists that don’t feel comfortable calling themselves artists?
If you feel something making it, it’s art. And if you made art, you’re an artist.
What’s one thing your work has taught you that other artists, creatives and entrepreneurs starting their journey should know?
You have to be confident that you can do the job. Be honest with yourself on the things you can and can’t do, then take a chance and push your boundaries.
Tell us about something you created that didn’t go as planned. How did you deal with that?
I was painting a tiny ballerina and I couldn’t get her face right. Nothing looked right; it pissed me off. So I smeared her face, and then I went with it. I smeared some more and I added more colors. In the end, I liked that she wasn’t a perfect tiny ballerina. The mistake and frustration became a vital part of the message and the piece. Sometimes you have to change your plan and work with what you have.
The point is, stop waiting for permission. Better to be doing it your own way than not doing it at all.
With Ambition and Mischief,
P.S. If you’ll be in the NYC area and want to find tickets to today’s very cool art instillation, see here or visit rawartists.org/designminebyalyssa.