When you’re an artist, what you do is what you are. Being an artist is one of the few jobs in the world where you can be reluctant to name what you actually are. Because basically you’re saying to the world, oh hey, you know those famous guys, Kahlo, Chagall, DaVinci? I am what they are.
And you’re saying to yourself, okay, all those artists you really admire? I want to be what they are. I want to be that. No, more that that – I am that.
And that can be really scary, that public declaration of allegiance – claiming that you have something in common with people you just about worship. For an introvert like me, it’s terrifying every minute of every day.
I’ve wanted to be an artist from the moment I understood that it was actually possible for me. Before that, I think I had this vision of being an artist requiring something like divine madness, or at least a fairy godmother coming down and banging your head with a wand and saying, “Ok, kid. You’re an artist now!” And then, one day, I just sort of realized that I could call myself an artist, if I only had the courage to claim the title and the understanding that I already was. Because basically, I’ve been making art since I was a tiny little thing.
In August of 2014, I got this wild and crazy urge to commit to doing a collage a day for a month. And I did it. Over the next few weeks, I watched my work evolve before my eyes. I found myself gaining fluency in a visual language that I’d long despaired of saying anything in besides “Hi. Please. Thank you.” Something magical was happening. I think I was being reborn.
Complete with birthing pains.
On one memorable day, I had this absolute meltdown. I was sitting on the floor, trying to take some photographs of my work, and I just…started bawling. I felt discouraged about where I was going as an artist. Ok, that’s an understatement. I felt like my insides were being torn open. In a terrible moment, I felt like throwing out all my art supplies, getting rid of all my art books, saying (screaming) “to hell with all this” and getting a job as a secretary, because honestly, that would be easier than going through the experience I was living in that moment.
I told Barret (my better half, aka, my husband) about what I was feeling. I kind of had to; I’m not sure he’s ever seen me cry that hard. He was encouraging and supportive; really, there never is a moment when he isn’t, which is one of the reasons I love him so much. Just getting all of that pain cried out helped push it back a bit.
It still hurt, though.
I went back to what I was doing, wishing I knew what I could do to make things better. I thought again about creating a new identity for my artwork. It was something I’d been thinking about for months, if not longer, but every time I thought about it, nothing felt right. I looked at some of my most recent pieces of art.
Then, this phrase just floated through my head – “Even crowgirls get the blues.”
And things just snapped into place. Crowgirl. Crowgirl Studio. That was IT. The flash of lightening I’d been looking for. That fit so perfectly with who I am now and what my work has become, and where I hope it goes. Please come with me on this journey.