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  • Lotus Magazine MC

yours truly, elena

When I first started college, one of my biggest struggles was trying to get myself to make art. I’ve been drawing since I was young, and have been passionate about it for years. With academic stress, friendship dilemmas, and COVID hysteria all impacting me during this time, none of these things made me want to start drawing again. Art block is one of those things that is extremely hard to overcome when you haven’t created art that you’ve liked in a very long time. I also struggle greatly with perfectionism, which only stacked onto my art block. When I noticed “mistakes” in my art, I would rip out the page it’s on and start over. Having this relationship with my art was exhausting.

Before college, I was in an AP Art class. My portfolio was an unfinished mess, and I was not interested in the concentration that I picked for myself anymore. As a result, I created art that I didn’t like for quite a long time. The pandemic hitting around the time I was supposed to complete my portfolio made it even harder for me to find creative inspiration within myself. I spent most of my time during quarantine playing Animal Crossing and intentionally not focusing on my art due to severe burnout. There would be times that I would still draw, but it never felt as fulfilling as it once did.

This all changed in the fall semester of last year. I took a photography class that helped me learn new skills in that medium, and it also surrounded me with like-minded creatives. I was praised highly by my professor and my classmates for my work during critiques. A part of me made this academic praise the forefront of my self-worth as an artist. While this is a mindset I have grown out of since, it really helped to hear such positive affirmations about my work. It pushed me to really keep going. This semester, I took two courses that seriously helped me escape my chronic art block: Digital Drawing and Intro to Graphic Design. Not only was I learning so much in these classrooms, but I actually was incredibly proud of the art I was making on a weekly basis. At this point artistically, seventeen-year-old Elena would have never believed that I kept going at the rate that I did. They also would have gasped at the fact that I finally stopped tying my self-worth with my artistic work. At the end of the day, the only person who has to really be satisfied with my art is me. Yes, it’s nice to get positive feedback from time to time. However, I never realized how damaging it was for me to tie my confidence in creating art with outside influences. Just because people aren’t kissing my ass over my art doesn’t mean that it’s not good. It does not take away from the passion I had while creating.


Yours Truly,

Elena

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