I have loved to create since I was very young. When I was young, my dream was to be a writer; I grew up with lots of imaginary friends and stories inside my head. I used to write a lot, I would read them to my friends and family. Sadly, as time passed by, college and university studies had replaced my time and freedom to create. After I graduated, I started working, like most of my peers at that time, I pursued more studies hoping to get registered as an architect. Those few years, I tried so hard to gain professional experiences, getting exams done, I thought I was going on the right path without much thinking, but… deep inside me, something else is calling me. My long-lost imaginary friends are calling, my stories inside me are crying to get out of me - that was when I decided to write again.
Being an artist is not a straight-forward path for me. I thought I wanted to be a novelist, but languages seem to be my weakness. I have gone through a maze to explore ways to express myself, I am still exploring, and I think I will be forever doing so. I love to create, I love storytelling, it does not matter how I do it. I guess this is also why I feel most comfortable calling myself a storyteller than anything else.
Though I don’t have children, I often ask myself what I want to tell my next generation, do I have a story to share? If I am given a chance, I would love to share my story of pursuing my dream with them.
“We need to be responsible for our loved ones while pursuing our dream.” I once heard this from a fellow artist. This sentence has since been registered solidly in my mind. Many years after I started pursuing my art, I still live off from my daytime job, and doing art part time only. I used to feel ashamed about it, I hated myself not being good enough in art, I hated myself not being brave enough, I hated the lack of time to do what I truly love, I blamed my life… Well, I still do sometimes, but I am learning not to. In fact, I am learning to be proud of it because I know I do my best every moment.
For me, it takes courage and great confidence to walk this artistic path daily, mostly because I am not a person with much self-confidence. I often find myself not good enough and that my work is not presentable. When I had my first ever meeting with a potential client for a mural, I was so anxious, I didn't even know what to say nor what to present. My good friend who is also an artist told me “fake it till you make it”. With this very reminder, I went to the meeting, got the commission, and completed my first mural in a public market! I am forever grateful for this opportunity, and forever grateful for all the people who trusted me before I believed in myself. Therefore, please believe that we can do more than we probably think we could, so DO FAKE IT because you WILL MAKE IT!
A couple years after I started my art journey, I began to take a step further to apply to open calls to artists. It’s never easy at the beginning, because I got rejected all the time - it was pretty discouraging. There were so many negative voices in my head “see, you are never good enough!” “you can never compete with all the other talented!” “people are all professional artists, you are nothing”, on and on… To a point that I was afraid to apply more because I was afraid to face failure. Until one day I got an email from a lady who was one of the juries from one of the open calls I applied to. She asked me if I was interested in working on a project with her, she said though I wasn’t chosen on that call but she liked my work. Half a year later, another lady who was also one of the juries of another call I applied to emailed me and said the same thing. They are like an angel who picked me up and told me not to give up, I am not NOT good enough. We never know how one event would lead to the next, and perhaps the next one is even more suitable for us, everything happens the way it is for a reason, and we have to believe it is for the better. From that time on, I told myself to never give up no matter what. Yes, rejection is still discouraging sometimes, but I decided to buy myself a great gift for every 10 rejections I get! This is my way to turn disappointment into motivation - haha - and it works!
So here I am, keep on pursuing, keep on going. I still feel down and lost…. in fact it’s quite often I feel sad, it’s like a cycle of my artistic journey - I go strong, I get discouraged, I self doubt, I ponder, then I get up again and walk further. I wanted to share this story with you because I want you to know you are not alone if you are also striving hard for your dream! It is not easy, but we should be proud of the fact that we are trying hard! Give ourselves a pat on the back, soar, always love and always hope!