Why I Want To Be An Artist

End of Day
  I thought about titling this post "Why I Wanted To Be An Artist" but then I realized that would make it sound like I used to want to be an artist and don't anymore, when the truth is that I've never wanted to be an artist more than I do now, which is good because I am an artist, and I want to be what I am and what I've aways been.

Another truth is that I'm fond of long, run-on sentences.

Mort Gerberg, when asked if it was true or false that he had always wanted to be a cartoonist, said "I probably always was one, right from the start, but it took me years before I allowed myself to be one."

That's pretty much true for me, too.

"This is the way." - Rumi
I recently realized that I am actually afraid of making the declaration "I am an artist." Because if I say that, someone might take it away from me. Because when I say that, I am claiming a profession, a calling, that has all kinds of assumptions made about the person following that calling. And I hear an echo of my anthropology advisor from over a decade ago asking me if I'd taken a vow of poverty. True story.

Another true story is that I like sentence fragments. There's a reason this isn't titled "Why I Want To Be A Writer."

It's really silly to be afraid that someone, somehow, will take "being an artist" away from me, because nothing can really do that, as long as I'm alive and breathing. But I had a rough childhood – I'm a survivor in many ways – and making art is what I want most in the world. Back in the day, things I wanted most had a way of being used against me. So I learned to hide what I wanted, even if it meant that what I wanted couldn't be enjoyed. At least then it couldn't be used against me.

A Trio of ACEOs - July 2013
I've been hiding for years, in one way or the other. I've been awfully vigilant about compartmentalizing my life, which has always been the safest option. But the thing about hiding is that it limits growth. And the only way to really be an artist – to be anything involving creativity – is to learn and grow and grow and grow.

To be an artist is to either bare yourself to the world, or to become really adept at putting on a series of masks that somehow hide and reveal yourself at the same time. I haven't quite figured that out yet. But I think I'm about ready to stop pretending that I haven't been saying "Here I am, I'm an artist" to the world, and just say it.

Hi, my name is Stacy. I'm an artist.


  1. Hello! I just wanted to tell you that I just discovered your work last night (I was searching for watercolored narwhals) and I just love your art. It is just full of love & warmth and the quotes you choose... ♥♥♥ The one here, "I know you're tired..." brought tears to my eyes. Thank you so much for being an artist! (Adding you to my bloglovin feed!)

    1. Diana, thank you so much for checking out my blog and for your kind words! Much appreciated. :)