I Used To Hate My Art

Once a long time ago, there was a younger me. Bright-eyed and not bound to several expensive plastic model-based hobbies. This younger J did not build models nor did they like mecha anime. I thought the genre was stupid!

During those days, my opinion of my art was vastly different than my opinion of it today. The concept of anything abstract was lost on me due to the forceful push from art teachers that abstraction was just a joke. I loved it though. Loved the concept of bright vibrant art with no form or thought.

There is always a sense of internal shame that I felt. Real artists did not do abstract art. They painted people and scenery. Or at least that is what I thought back then. I was also deeply embarrassed by my art.

There came a peak to these feelings when my parents put me into an afterschool program called Raw Arts. RAW is a nonprofit art program for kids that is based on art therapy techniques. It began as a program for incarcerated youth but grew in its success to the greater youth of Lynn, Massachusetts. The program is entirely free and runs off of donations. They allow grades down to kindergarten to high school seniors. It preps kids for art college or helps them to put together resumes. They also hire teens to work there as well. The programs run from music productions, photography, poetry, and so on.

I loved Raw despite how I felt as a kid about it.

It made me feel happy to create what I was making but at the same time the anxiety I felt was terrible. I had been told my entire life that art was only meant to be the classics like DaVinci and so on. At Raw, however, we were taught about Picasso, Kusama, and Rothko. My brother got me an easel one year for Christmas because I had taken up painting dragons and such.

There was one project we had worked on at Raw which was these abstract art portraits. They were mask portraits with oddball portions and vibrant colors. Large eyes, odd noses, and wacky mouths. The project was going well until we were told they were going on display. My stomach tensed and I panicked. I ended up getting sick the night of the gallery show. Nor did I take it home to keep.

I stopped painting shortly after and just kept to small sketches until I was too busy preparing for college to find the time to create anything else. Creativity was shoved aside for pencils and scantron sheets that would determine my academic placement. Joy traded for a future biology degree that I would grow to hate.

Then the summer after high school graduation my brother passed away. I stopped any remnants of creative hobbies I had left, choosing to chase that biology degree. I was always terrible at math. My freshmen year of college ended with me having a 1.25 GPA, being royally screwed, and being on academic probation. Burned out, exhausted, and a mess.

My advisor told me to take the summer off and come back in the fall. I listened. What other choice did I have besides finding a job and working in the summer? I found a nice little farm job and got into a comfortable groove.

One day I had gone to one of my local comic bookstores, appropriately named “The Comic Book Store”. I had gone in looking for comics and came out with a box of what I had assumed to be an action figure.

Boy, was I wrong when I opened the box and found Gunpla runners?

Once assembled, something had changed. It was fun! I enjoyed building this little IBO kit. Not much made me happy during that time. Grief tends to do that to a person.

It was an instant hit. Plastic crack indeed.

One kit became two. Two became three. Suddenly I found myself deep in the hobby. Things were looking up. During my builds, I would listen to podcasts and come across one about criminology, the study of crime and criminal behavior. As much as I hate to say it, I like criminal minds. Just not as dramatic.

Something about that sparked a decision that led me to march into my academic advisor’s office a request a degree transfer at the end of the summer. Bless that man for putting up with my oddness. Along with being my advisor he had been my English professor. He had hoped I would pick a business degree. To quote him I had a “unique” personality that people found interesting. It always makes me laugh. For most of my life, I had been deemed too unique by other adults in my life. Told to tune it down a bit.

The switch was made, trading life sciences for social sciences. A switch that I would never come to regret. My grades quickly improved and shot up my current GPA, as did my interests in the arts. I began to follow creative individuals who painted their gunpla and the urge grew. I wanted to do that to my kits.

So, I took the leap, prior thoughts and emotions be damned. I painted my first haro. Then a second. Then a third. Each paint job is more daring than the next.

I took in art media like a dry sponge in water. Books, lectures, and any art programs I could get my hands on. I eventually started painting on canvas again, even managing to sell a few here and there. Now I have more canvases than I know what to do with. It felt empowering like I was finally doing justice to my inner kiddo that had been denied these feelings after so long. Of course, I had my hesitations but that would not stop me now. I was in too deep to stop.

Now I just tend to laugh off those anxious thoughts. I do not care if others like my art. It is not for them, it is for me. I paint for myself. I build for me. For that nervous kid who had been too scared to leap.

Art experimentation had become the norm for me. I try to find something new to do every year. Last year I played around with rattle cans more, which quickly became one of my favorite paint mediums. Textured paints grew on me more than I had thought they would. The bumps and ridges captured my eyes.

There may be odd paint jobs that may not be my favorite, but I do not hate my art now. I adore it.

As this year ends and goes into the new year I am hoping to dig even further into my art. Try new mediums. Try new things. Paint and explore.

It is exciting!

I have a list of projects that I’m excited to work on in 2023:

  • Customizing Halo weapons (needler, plasma gun)
  • St. Judes build off
  • Planetary haros
  • Tyranid minis.

What do you think? Drop a comment below and let me know, I’d love to hear it.

Have a tuesday everyone!


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