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  • Are We Born Artists Or Is It Just Something We Create?

    Black and white male nude torso with strong down light.When I first began this project I brought up the question are we born to be an artist or is it something that we learn.  I talked to a number of different artists and remember there was a mixture of responses.  For me I grew up on a family cattle ranch in the mountains of Montana where I wasn’t really exposed to much of anything creative, yet as a kid I was drawn to coloring and creative hobby type things as gifts for Christmas.  My parents must have recognized some semblance of talent there because they always gave me things that captivated me or mostly things I had to build.    When I colored I worked had to stay within the lines.  My grandmother taught me to cook and sew when I was about ten and I began to make clothing I would wear to school.  My parents tell stories of how I gathered all my brothers and cousins and created stage shows in the barnyard for everyone to see.  I was a drama nerd in high school and created a drama club and began doing stage productions.  I then won a scholarship to the University of Montana in Missoula for theater and earned a degree in performing arts with an emphasis on directing live theater production, essentially creating my own program at the time.  I was mostly interested in lighting design and work anything back stage.  I worked in professional theater for many years until I got burned out of constantly being on the road, returned to Montana, and took up photography.  Looking back, everything about my life has been creative and I feel fortunate to have made a living pursuing my passions.  I still make a living and do quite well with it and still live a creative life.

    So was I born to it?  I am not entirely sure.  I was born with a strong curiosity and probably a stronger ability to make things happen.  I do know as a creative soul my focus becomes more concentrated the older I get.  Downright obsessive.  I am drawn to photography because it is something I never stop learning or growing with.  Though it has become relatively simpler from when I started with, processing my own film, it is still a challenge.  I probably have most every piece of equipment to filter or channel light in most any conceivable way.  I have found one of the key tenants of becoming an artist is to always bring yourself to the creative table.  Every day if possible.  Once you recognize this the world automatically sorts it self out and makes way for your creativity to flourish.  But be relentless in your pursuit.  After a while self doubt and constant questing vanishes and you get to a state where everything becomes a part of your creative evolution.  I learned not to be so critical of myself in the beginning and accept my mistakes as part of the learning process.  I see so many young artists who say this really isn’t very good about something they have created, expecting it to be a masterpiece right from the get go.  It never is.  They give up to easy and find something simpler to do, when this is really the impetus of something remarkable that has completely compelled and engaged them.  Yet they can’t see the remarkable beauty that brought them to it from the beginning.  They are only looking at the end result and judging everything else on that.  First and foremost believe in yourself and trust that all will be resolved.  To realize all of life is a creative process and an evolution along an expressive continuum.

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