Tell us what defines you as a person.
Unfortunately, this just so happens to be probably one of the most difficult questions I could possibly be asked. I would have to say that figuring out exactly who I am is probably one of my biggest struggles in life. I don't know who I am – I don't now, nor have I ever truly – and I hate to try and give an explanation for something I can't put into words, especially since words always seem to hold such a sense of permanence in an ever-changing world. I'd rather be recognized for and defined by what I make and what I do in my life than by how I would describe myself (and trust me, I have attempted this far too many times to entrust in it any confidence). Life for many, including myself, is a search for identity, and art has always aided me in that process, whether it be in the form of writing or photography or whatever else happens to fancy me at the moment. I feel we all get caught up in how the rest of the world views us, but I'd rather be an impression to someone than a face. So I would like to define myself through my art and my writing, and perhaps, maybe, I would prefer to be defined by that and that alone. How did you find out about deviantART and why did you join the community?
Clearly, at least based on what I see so far, these are all going to be very difficult questions for me, but I'll try my best to recall... I've always been an introvert, and early on in my teen years, much of my social life existed online. I drew confidence and comfort being able to deliberate over what I showed to the world, especially as a faceless identity. I joined deviantART four years ago, though I can't for the life of me remember why. A friend probably introduced me or I might have just stumbled upon it. I can't remember if I'd started photography before or after I joined the site, but I know that I started experimenting in photography around the same time, again for God knows what reason. I think I became an active member because for one, I was immensely inspired by the work of the fantastic artists here, and secondly, because of the support I received from the community, even for the pitiful quality work I was producing at the time. In my opinion, one of the best ways to grow as an artist is to view and be inspired by the work of others, and that's what brought me to become a member of deviantART. When and how did you discover your passion for art?
For a while, a large-scale drawing of a dinosaur I created when I was three or four sat framed atop the cupboards in our kitchen. My parents said that my preschool teacher had showered me with praise for creating depth in my work by drawing the long-necked creature at an angle, which was apparently unheard of for children that age. I don't think I ever discovered a passion for art; art was always just a part of my life. Throughout elementary school, I was the awkward and gangly child with a full foot on the rest of the student body as well an unfortunate amount of acne. Often I felt most appreciated and most accepted by my peers because of my art. I would draw all sorts of little things, which I would hand out to the students who would crowd around my desk during work-time, among other small, modest accomplishments (a drawing contest at Olive Garden and the back of the school's yearbook two years in a row). No, even now I would not acknowledge that I was ever particularly talented in drawing, and I for the most part refuse to draw at all now. I became passionate in writing when middle school came around and then aspired to become a published novelist by fourteen, which never happened of course, even with the level of support I received from my teachers. I always possessed a passion for art - it just manifested itself in a variety of ways. Art provided me with a sense of purpose that I constantly and irresistibly craved. What inspires you the most and when do you think your creativity is at its maximum?
Inspiration is such a struggle... as is motivation, but those two words might as well be synonymous for what they're worth. I think I am inspired most when I am able to fully appreciate the world around me, and become blissfully immersed in whatever good exists in the world. We all need to take a moment to forget everything once and a while. Like they say, ignorance is bliss. On the other hand, when I've hit rock bottom, I frequently equally as inspired, yet completely hopeless at the same time... The truth is, the world changes, people change, we change, and you just have to find a way to work with whatever you got. Take your circumstances, whatever they may be, and use them to your advantage. When we are most emotionally vulnerable is when I believe we as artists can create our best work. What do you think you'd be doing if you hadn't chosen this path?
I don't even entirely want to think about it, to be honest. I can't imagine myself being happy without art in my life. When I was younger, I was quite the ambitious child, and I wanted to go into medicine, find the cure for cancer, yadah yadah. I don't think it would've been a terrible path for me to take by any means, but my life is as unstable and unpredictable as the ocean. I feel the life of an artist suits me far better, even if it does not guarantee me the same sort of success. Still, I believe you can incorporate all your strengths into whatever you choose to do, and I believe ultimately, that is what will make you the happiest. I've personally excelled in math and science, so I would like to explore interactive media and digital technology in college, at least to test the waters. What you have to remember – and what I have to constantly remind myself as well – is that nothing is ever set in stone. You have a lifetime ahead of you to figure everything out, so take your time and find what truly makes you happy. What do you think it's your most meaningful deviation and what makes it special? Does it have a story behind it?
I wish I had a most meaningful deviation. The truth is, I've only recently began to experiment with conceptual and purposeful imagery. In the past – and even now, to be perfectly honest – I've valued aesthetics above everything. I have an enormous appreciation for color, contrast, texture, and on... I personally don't think there's anything wrong with hoping for your audience to just be in awe of the beauty of your work. However, I did recently post a deviation that showed a completely different side of my work and probably would be my most meaningful. My piece, “Sweet Affliction”, is by far my most vulnerable and personal piece. It takes a look at mental illness and self destructive behaviors, and examines the way that it can manifest itself in many more ways than one. This photograph reflects struggles that I face in my own life that are often not obvious to people because of the way that they affect me. Do you have any insecurities regarding your art?
Most everyone has insecurities about their artwork, and if someone doesn't, it more than likely suggests ignorance and conceit. I'm not a particularly confident individual, and if ever appears that I am, it either means I'm attempting composure or I'm trying really really hard. Constantly I'm doubting my work, and I'm always comparing myself to those I believe are better than me. To be honest, though, this approach is what helps me to always continue to improve as an artist. As important as it is to retain some modesty with your art, though, giving yourself credit for your best work is equally important for maintaining some level of ego and confidence. What matters is how your deal with being your own worst critic. There's almost always an opportunity to use that to your advantage and allow that to make you the greatest artist you can be. Did art ever helped you to deal with your life problems?
Likely, I could go into such depth with this... I mean, it's almost sub-conscious, the way that art influences people's lives. Just like eating and breathing, you don't necessarily realize how important art is in your life until it's not. Art has helped me in so many ways. It has helped to utterly transform the way I view the world, and it has given me a sense of purpose in life that nothing else possibly could. What is the one thing you always wanted to do but never got a chance to?
Oh there is so much I wish I could've done... I am chock-full of regret and it torments me daily. I am both an fiercely ambitious individual as well as a rarely motivated one, which really makes for a bad combo. I always wanted to write and finish a novel, I wanted to be taken under the wing of another artist, I wanted to become world famous for something – anything! – I wanted to take classes and learn so many things, I wanted to be able to dance, I wanted to find a way to feel beautiful, I wanted to feel important... I am inherently pessimistic, but I'll take a moment now to say that it is never too late for anything, and you must always continue pushing forward. You are the only thing standing in your way. A few words for our fellow artists?
Chase your dreams. Never give up. Always strive for improvement. Never believe you are anything less than your best. Enjoy life and live it to the fullest. And above all, remember that nothing is so important as your own happiness.
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