Almost every weekend, Troy and I have our ritual of Sunday morning brunch. We basically have 2-3 spots in the area on rotation. One weekend, while waiting for our food we started talking about my newfound hobby, calligraphy and watercoloring! Everything from how I got inspired, to what my game plan was going forward.
Talking to him about art and passions reminded me something about myself. I've always been interested in art, but never in the traditional sense.
Growing up, I was surrounded by a lot of people who were definitely better artists than I was. (Nope, that's not a humble brag.) I had three good friends who were superbly talented. And in my opinion, my younger brother had the most intricate and interesting drawings.
I didn't enjoy drawing because I couldn't get the dimensions right. I actually came to this epiphany when I was in elementary school when I had to draw a horse and a bird for art class. The sizes, the angles...all wrong, and it bothered me oh so much.
In middle school, I took oil painting classes on the weekends. I wasn't so great because I never mastered the details. I remember spending hours on a canvas, feeling OK about it. Only to have my instructor assist, spend 10 minutes on it, and effortlessly turn it into a masterpiece. How did she do that!
Arguably, I didn't spend enough time or invest in enough practice to get to where I wanted to be. But I looked around me, saw so much talent, and decided it probably wasn't for me.
But I was obsessed with photoshop and digital art.
At the age of 12, I discovered what wonderful things you could create with a computer. You can design layouts for blogs, you can manipulate images, and even create ones from scratch with vectors. Unlike today, where the Adobe suite is accessible and well-known everywhere, this was considered uncharted territories for someone my age and background. And to be honest, I never considered it art, or a hobby, or even an "interest." While I spent hours everyday doing it, I didn't really connect the dots to it being something more than what I spent my free time doing.
I know this was long-winded but this allowed me to come to three conclusions.
1. It's not just about natural talent. It's about working hard and putting in conscious effort to get to where you want to be. That's why it's important to document your progress because you can see how much you improved since you started. And it's motivation to keep going. Even if you do have the talent, it's also about acting on it.
2. Don't let what you know to be "true" stop you from discovering new things you enjoy. Just because they don't teach you calligraphy, or whatever-it-may-be at school, doesn't mean it's not important, or worth pursuing. With the internet nowadays, it's so much easier to learn new skills. Everything from Skillshare, General Assembly, to Craftsy.
3. Think about where you're spending your free time. As an Asian-American and first generation child, anything related to art was highly rejected, and so I never really fostered that interest. But looking back, I also didn't even realize that what I was doing could be a career choice. Part of the responsibility lies with parents and schools not fully exposing kids to career opportunities outside of being a lawyer, doctor, teacher. But I think that it is also our own responsibility to recognize passion and interest when it arises and see where it leads us.
That's all! And in case you were curious, I ordered Eggs and Corned Beef Hash for brunch that day.