“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” ― Pablo Picasso
Most days I spot something I want to take a photo of. This has been with me since I was young, when I would snap photos on my family farm with my Barbie camera. For my father’s birthday one year, I gave him a still life drawing I had done of him working on the farm, that I had reproduced from a photograph I took. I took a winter photography course with my best friend in grade school, where we learned how to develop black and white film on weekends with our local photographer, the guy who snapped our school yearbook photos. I used my techniques to capture the ice storm’s effects on my farm in 1997, giving my grandparents a framed photograph of their yard as a gift.
In high school I participated in drama and visual arts classes, thinking I may try my hand at moving to New York at some point to work on Broadway or join a group of artists or writers. As a teenager, I could often be found scouring fashion magazines, then designing my own sketches for the day I may become a fashion designer. I spent the summer of my last year of high school painting a mural for the library, which is still displayed as far as I know. Instead of theatre or the fine arts, I chose a sensible course to study in college ― print journalism. It was a mix of photography, creative writing, pagination and copy editing. In my spare time I styled photo shoots of friends in order to compile a portfolio for a fashion magazine internship I never summoned the nerve to apply for. I loved to read magazines, write stories, capture moments in time on film, but I struggled with the idea of working for a fashion or lifestyle publication. I didn’t think I would fit in.
Instead I’ve spent the last 10 years drifting in and out of art galleries, museums and boutiques, wondering if I could ever do something similar or I guess more accurately, let myself go and forget about my self-doubt in order to create something as honest. When I find myself in a new city or town, these places are often comforting to me, perhaps because I spent the two years before I moved to Australia working to promote artists’ works and educational programs to the public. Galleries always feel especially warm and calming (it could be the complimentary wine at the vernissage)…but it always seems restful. There are a lot of programs linking art with mental health but sometimes it’s as simple as going to a place where you can escape into someone else’s thoughts or perceptions of the world. View their experiences and try to interpret their meaning. Or just sit and stare at a canvas or installation. I have even created a Pinterest board so that I can get inspired online, wherever I may be.
I recently purchased a series of reproductions of 1860s woodcut prints of the Brisbane Botanical Gardens, view of Government House in Sydney, the habour in Fremantle and a beach in Melbourne so that we could have a reminder of Australia when we move to Europe. I will frame them for our future home (or apartment) and think of all of the places we have visited on the other side of the world. On weekends I will most likely explore our new neighbourhood and city with a coffee in hand, escaping into the local galleries, museums and shops when it’s raining, too chilly or just for a bit of respite. If we have a family some day, I will continue to visit these places, seeing them through a new set of eyes. It’s one thing I love about the arts, no matter where you go there will always be a community built around creating. Maybe some day I will join them, for now I will continue to admire from afar.
More online inspiration: