A new definition

[art by Sarah Anderson]

[art by Sarah Andersen]

Someone recently told me that I should redefine what my creativity means to me, and what an artist is, according to me -since I am trying to find my new artistic voice after all the years of the creativity blockages and being all burned out. That way I could start looking for new questions to ask myself instead of trying to find answers to old questions that I’ve never been able to figure out.

I think it was an excellent advice. I need to give my art and my creativity a new meaning – with a new definition.

When I think about how I used to define myself as an artist, I see a lifelong dream, that started when I was 5 years old. I knew that I wanted to be an artist and that I wanted to use my creativity as a focus to get there. As a teenager I used my creativity as a way to express myself and what I was all about. I was bullied in school and felt like a misfit, so my art became my ‘weapon’ that made me feel protected, and I could prove that they were all wrong – I could show them that I really WAS someone, I had something to add to the world, and that I was damn good at it!

Being an artist, or striving to become one, became my identify. I was defined by my dream.

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So I worked hard to become an artist. I’m self taught, so I also did it without any guidance. But after I graduated from art school (as an art rebel), and when I was going for my dream of becoming an artist, I was only focused on catching the dream, of the fame and the success of it. So when I finally was acknowledged as an artist by the art world – I had made my dream come true – but I had also lost it. My dream came true, after so much hard work, but at the same time, the dream itself was gone. I had achieved my goal, I was there, I was home.

I had never thought about what I wanted AFTER my dream came true, and I got burned out from all the hard work. I don’t really think I was ever blocked, I think I was so exhausted that I just couldn’t work anymore. I needed the break, but I made resistance, I tried to make art anyway and I felt frustrated and scared. I let my career spiral downwards and I had to decline a lot of propositions from the art world,  I found myself saying “no” instead of “yes” to collaborations, challenges and opportunities, and I felt like a failure, like I had abandoned my dream – and myself.

But looking back at it, I think it was all good. I needed to take a deep breath and stop to see what I was doing, if I was being true to my original dream. And for many years, I mourned what I lost during that time, but now I feel grateful for that (painful) experience. I’ve learned a lot. And now I get to redefine what I want to do with my gift – my creativity and imagination, and how I want to use it now when I am here, at this place that I was only dreaming about as a young girl. It’s time to find a new dream to catch.

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