[ leia o texto em português, aqui :) ]
When I decided to go to Law School – yes, I'm even a bar member, but this is a subject for another talk – I never thought that I had to make it to the supreme court or be the next Michelle Obama to justify my career choice. When I told my friends and family that being a lawyer was my professional dream, I don't recall anyone, not even myself, questioning my ability to do so and, when I expressed my desire to be a good attorney, I was never tormented by the feeling that people would find me pretentious. But saying out loud you want to pursue a career as an artist seems very different.
For some reason, when talking about art and creativity, there's this unspoken belief that you have to be exceptional, or it is not even worth trying. And well, I gotta tell you (and tell myself too) that this is one of the greatest lies ever invented. Or, does every computer engineer need to be the new Bill Gates? And all architects have to be like Frank Lloyd Wright? I could go on with these examples forever, but I think the misconception is clear: being exceptional is not a precondition for any activity – actually, engaging with the activity is the prerequisite for being exceptional – so why do we let this belief stand between us and our desire to make art?
There are many ways of answering this question. There's the habit of comparing ourselves to others and how this is getting more intense with social media. There's also our willingness to think about money and value, fame and success, and so many other concepts as if they were the same thing when they're not. But from all the perspectives this question allows, there's one that seems special because it is not only an answer, but also a way out: we know very few artists, and we know them very little.
If we keep thinking about other professions, it is very easy to get to know the life of an average lawyer. We usually have a cousin or a friend of a friend that went to Law School, but even if we don't, the information can be easily found. But when the subject is art, things can get a little bit tricky. Not only is it is more unusual to have an artist friend but also, very often, creativity has been repeatedly suppressed in our genealogy. Stories about grandmothers that were talented seamstresses, uncles that were amazing storytellers, and great grandpas that played the piano beautifully are more common than we would like to admit. But generation after generation, those tales are told as the legends of the "talented relatives" and not how they should be: the stories of our artists, or at least our artists in potential. In our imagination, artists are the people in books, museums, and magazines, but actually this is a small (and very unrepresentative) portion of who is doing art all across the globe.
But don't worry, I said there was a way out and here it is: thanks to our hyperconnected reality, the lack of information is no longer a problem. Artists and creative people, in general, are more and more open to sharing their daily lives and processes online, and, with a little bit of attention and curiosity, we can access a much greater diversity of references than before. While doing that, what I've come to realize that, the more I follow the creative process of others (and not just the final result), the more I read about lifestyles and stories that are completely different from my own, the more I'm getting comfortable with the idea that there are many ways of living from your art. And this is not only a way out but also a one-way ticket for a journey in search of a personal and intimate way of doing the same.
This article is part of "profession: artist", a content series about assuming sensibility, art and creativity as your work.
written by Marcela Monteiro
Marcela Monteiro is a writer who creates narratives in multiple formats and platforms. Her production stands out for a very sensitive point of view that frequently gravitates around everyday sensations and feelings with which everyone can identify. Graduated in Law and Mastered in Communication Sciences, with emphasis on Internet and New Media, Marcela has already worked for advertising, content and public relations agencies, producing articles, scripts, and integrated campaigns for several clients. In addition to that, her work has already been published by Glamour Magazine, Casa VOGUE, and the Portuguese newspaper Público.
to face my greatest challenges. I left a lot behind - a country, a home, material possessions, a rising career and so many people. Many say I was brave, but I know deep down that I didn't have much choice. I heard a call from my soul - that had been screaming for years.
Keep your inner child inspired and curious, your teenager always rebellious, humility in the heart, determination and dedication running in the veins. And never forget to have fun in the process.
We have built the idea that masks are negative distortions of who we are - or of who we show ourselves to be. But as a person who likes to see both sides of a coin before taking any sides, I learned to recognise that we all have dualities. And instead of letting ourselves be taken by them or using them in negative ways - and somehow losing our own essence in that process - I have learned to acknowledge and embrace these parts of me - and turn them into daily choices - and tools.