Emile responded to our open-ended prompt to reflect on her experience of putting her art out into the digital world.
On Being an Artist
I have never considered myself to be an ‘artist.' That term always seemed so far-fetched and almost unrealistic in my mind, despite the many years I spent producing art of my own. In high school I took a higher-level art course in which we had to produce a number of artworks of our choice to be exhibited at the end of the year, throughout which I discovered the ‘great’ artists I truly loved, like J. M. W. Turner, Paul Cezanne and Vincent Van Gogh.
This time of exploration of various mediums and styles was one of the more enlightening periods of my life and I spent countless evenings browsing through art books. I was given opportunities and the materials to create freely and develop my own personal aesthetic. This turned me into a creative-minded individual who attaches great value to exploring visual aesthetics in our daily lives.
However, nowadays, the digital age is truly pushing the boundaries of what art means, with anyone being able to share their works just through uploading their content on social media. In fact, some people post photographs on their Instagram accounts that are as worthy as some traditional photographers out there. The same goes for illustrators, fashion designers, and other creators out there that might just be starting out or trying out doing their crafts as a hobby.
Visual art, whether it be traditional or digital illustration, embroidery, type design and more is flourishing in this digital space, and it makes me wonder just how much more I could have done had digital platforms been more popular at the time I was first developing my art.
My Journey to Becoming an Artist Entrepreneur
I have, as far as I can remember, been very moved and interested by visual aesthetics within my surroundings. I explored photography, using my friends as models for my creative expression, have made collages, painted, and so on. However, more than that, I have always observed, soaking in all the strange and the beautiful, savoring those moments and soaking it all in as inspiration.
Photography by Emile
If you’re anything like me, you will be utterly shocked that there are people who do not care at the slightest about what things look like. Me, I am fascinated by visual arts, the world of packaging, that one brushstroke on that oil painting in a museum, the really slick website design I just stumbled upon, and so on.
In the digital age, social platforms like Tumblr, Instagram, Designspiration, Pinterest and the likes allow creatives to find and save images to moodboards for further reference, which was not as easy even just a decade ago. I remember saving images off the web, printing them and hanging them on my walls for inspiration, but nowadays it’s so much easier to have everything literally in your pocket, on your phone, for when you need it.
About a year ago I became an entrepreneur and launched my own creative brand that I am growing, slowly but surely. It all started with several bird illustrations that I started selling as postcard prints, and with time this pushed me to do more, create more, discover more, and continue building this brand into something I am proud of. I have pushed myself to new territories and am looking forward to creating on a regular basis and immersing myself in this world as much as I can.
Inspiration in the Digital World
What I find wonderful about being a creative in the digital world is the ability to get support and learn from people who are exactly in the same place as you.
Hands up if you are trying to make it in this world as a creative!
There are so many incredible visual artists out there sharing their journeys and offering resources to help others succeed. I myself am still in the process of making creativity my vocation and I know that this does not happen overnight. Being self-sufficient as a result of my own creativity would be a huge accomplishment as, after all, that would mean I am doing what keeps me inspired.
Sadly, inspiration is not always there for me, so I spend a large part of my daily routine searching for visual triggers - the images, designs, artworks, and objects that make me appreciate the design and creativity in all disciplines. Long scrolls through Instagram are my vice, but discovering new creatives and being able to be part of their community is what makes me very glad to be living in our digital day and age.
Inevitably, being a creative today means a lot of comparison (as for anyone actively living in the age of social media). There is so much content everywhere, that eventually it’s easy to end up lost in a vertigo of doubt, self-loathing, and artist's-block. On the other hand, it is incredible and empowering to see how many fascinating people are creating things that they love and that they are excited to share with those who will listen and look.
Comparison is the killer of joy, as Mark Twain has said, but in the digital world, this also allows you to contrast and scrutinize your own work, be encouraged and inspired to try something new, or to find ways to better yourself. I love having the ability to create something and share it with a community of people who are attracted to the visual aesthetic I have created within a matter of clicks.
This is part of a series called In First Person, in which digital natives respond to an open-ended writing prompt.