In one of my first art classes back during my time at DigiPen, one of the required books we had to read through had this certain painting. Now, it was nothing special, it was just some boats on water. Rather rough. Turns out, it was created by a man named Alfred Wallis. Wallis was a retired fisherman who took up painting at the age of 70 “for company” after his wife died. He used leftover ship paint with crayons on pieces of cardboard boxes for his work.
This man died in 1942, across the ocean from me. Out of some quirk, I see a piece of his in a book, making enough of an impression on me to look up more about him. From what I can read of Wallis, he started creating art to fill a hole, something just for him. There wasn’t too much care in being right or wrong in what he did, just that he DID.
How do we lose that? If you ask a child if they like to draw, they’ll invariably say “yes.” If you ask in adult if they like to draw, how FEW of them will say “yes?” And I can just guess that the reason is because they think they CAN’T or that it’s just not worthwhile.
I think… I think we have to stop losing the feeling that we can create art. Stop letting the pressure and the critique and the attention and the comparisons get to us. Let’s just make things, make them as best we can, and improve ourselves in whatever way we wish to. You have NO IDEA who you are impacting with what you create, don’t lessen that impact by diminishing yourself.
And that’s the hardest thing to do. But whenever I start in on that downward spiral, I try to think of Alfred Wallis again.