Through the years, I’ve listened to plenty of excuses from people who do not get involved in the arts. I’ve made some of them myself!
We talk about how we’d like to be part of a particular artistic endeavor, but then claim we aren’t good enough to sing or dance or act or draw with the real artists.
Too often, we let things like self-doubt, fear of failure or embarrassment, or others’ opinions keep us from following our artistic instincts.
What are some things we can do to feel more confident?
Learn From the Masters
So you haven’t found your own artistic style yet? Then mimic someone else’s!
Salvador Dali wrote, “Those who do not want to imitate anything, produce nothing.”
When you’re just starting out, it’s helpful to learn from those who came before you. You don’t need to write the Great American Novel today, but you can certainly start by writing a piece of fan-fiction. Or maybe you are into anime? Try learning to draw your favorite character. Soon enough, you’ll be drawing your own characters and maybe one day creating your own animation.
Believe in Yourself
If art is something you love — whether it is performing, painting, or playing music — then don’t let someone else’s opinion of you keep you from your passions.
Will there be people who are better than you? Probably, so learn what you can from them. Maybe they have some tips for you to help you in your practice. Remember, though, that they don’t have your unique voice and perspective, so don’t lose your own voice.
Will there be people who aren’t as good as you? Most definitely, but you’ll do better in this world if you help build them up. There’s always room for more artists.
Believe in Your Work
Are you worried that your voice isn’t good enough to audition for the musical? Does it seem like your ceramics project didn’t turn out the way you imagined? Are you afraid you won’t get a good grade? Well, you won’t have anything until you try.
If it still doesn’t turn out the way you expected? Then try again!
If it still doesn’t work? Then let it go. At some point you will have move on to your new project. The creative process takes time and practice. You might never create your masterpiece if you labor over one project.
Enjoy the Experience
So maybe you got an ensemble part in the school play and not the lead. Or maybe you feel stifled by the parameters of a particular art class assignment. Try to find a reason to learn and have fun.
Maybe you’ll get to hang out with some people you don’t know that well and you’ll make a great new friend. Maybe you’ll get a chance to cheer someone else on and be a team player. Maybe you’ll learn something about yourself you never knew before. If nothing else, you’ll make some great memories.
Pursuing an artistic endeavor is never a waste of time, no matter how big or small.
As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Every artist was once an amateur.” Keep at it, keep trying and leave the excuses behind. Hopefully, we’ll see you soon in the Arts Center.
By Peggy Bergin
Ms. Bergin teaches theater and photography, is Director of the Arts, and leads the development of our arts curriculum.