I'd like to consider myself an artist- a developing artist - an average apologetic artist, an absent-minded, often frightened artist, but an artist.
Most of the time, this is a wonderful thing to be. Little fragments of the ordinary can take on a magic significance when you are struck by inspiration. Every day is a search for some new perspective.
Metaphorically, it's like you're wearing cameras for glasses and you're continually shifting the focus to different objects, trying to find a way to capture the light bouncing off the surfaces, frame it properly, and then snap the picture to reveal a unique truth.
Songs you hear, people you meet, places you go. all become potential content and inspiration for the next project.
Ok, so that's the glorified side of the artist coin.
And there is most definitely a flip side. And sometimes this flip side can totally upheave everything.
For starters there is massive insecurity. As everyone knows, art is subjective and what may mean something beautiful and wonderful to me may not be worth a lucky penny to someone else. Your mission may often seem like chasing a mythical unicorn.
And you ask yourself why you do it; if your time and effort is really worth it; and whether you really have what it takes.
The second thing is the complete lack of consistency. Being an artist does not mean that you have a mental storage of all things wonderful waiting at your disposal. Being an artist means keeping your eyes peeled, ears peeled, and idea bucket in hand. You are desperate and vulnerable. It means sitting at the piano patiently waiting for the strike of musical genius to hit you.
Or staring at the blank sheet of paper, with all the crumpled failed attempts in the trash can behind you. Basically, it means having the patience to accept the multiple failures before the one success. So to be completely honest, it is usually beyond your control when genius hits. OR if it hits you at all.
There is also temporality and therefore urgency in every idea. which can often times result in an upheaval of to-do list priorities. Studying, working, talking with friends. those things are thoughtlessly put aside in order to give the flash of inspiration your full attention. If you can't abandon the task at hand physically, the mind goes on a rendezvous with your idea.
In summary being an artist can feel like having a bipolar imaginary friend - depressive and maniac states both included.
But in the end, it all comes down to raison-d 'Ãªtre. And I think I speak for all other artists when I say that whether our efforts (our art) add up to anything or not in someone else's eyes is completely beside the point.
We really don't have any say in the matter.
Anna Toth is a J.N. Burnett graduate and is currently in her first year at UBC.