Critics are everywhere.
In life, there will always be people telling you who you should be, how you should act, what you should believe or what you should create. But that does not mean they need to hold a power over you or your beliefs.
Recently, I have had to constantly stand up for my art, and my beliefs and experiences that are used to create it.
Whether it's comments about photography not being art, that I just take “pretty pictures,” or that all I do is photograph beautiful landscapes that have no meaning, it all has the potential to confuse my art. But I do not let it.
No matter what it is that others see, my photos are so much more than just pretty pictures; they are, in every sense, experiences, fear, adventure, love, getting lost in the middle of the desert, chasing sunrises, staying up all night, illegal camping, hours of hiking in the complete darkness, being in awe of nature, lost lens caps, broken phones, ripped sleeping bags and so much more.
I make my art for myself, not for others because – in art, as well as all other aspects of life – problems arise when we confuse others’ priorities with our own.
My art is an extension of my being, of my beliefs, of my growth and experiences. By living this way, I have never been afraid to make work that others do not accept or approve of, or think is art.
Making the work you want to make means setting aside the doubts of acceptance and reward, and in turn, finding nourishment within the work itself.
My art is my definition of art, of life, of beauty; therefore, to me, it does not matter if other people accept it.
Yes, it most definitely is a reward when they do, but when they don't, it does not discourage me or urge me to quit wanting to do those things, nor does it make me think of myself as less of an artist; if anything it makes me more.
Becoming an artist consists of learning to accept yourself, which makes your work personal. I feel that statement to the bottom of my soul. You need to know who you are, what you believe in, and what you live for to make great art. You need to be comfortable with yourself and stand up for your art daily.
Because at the end of the day, I would rather make something I am proud of and have everyone hate it than create something everyone loves but I am not proud of.
Along with this, you need to challenge yourself and the fear of others accepting your work; otherwise, you will never be able to make something you are proud of.
I am challenging myself daily as an artist and as a human; I find that my greatest work and growth comes from challenging my fears however small or large they might be.
In this light, my fears become more of a construct, an obstacle, not an end-all, be-all of my life or my pursuit in making art.
When you act out of fear, your fears come true; they take over you, your art and your soul, unless you learn how to challenge them, channel them and let yourself grow through them.
Every fear that I have motivates me and pushes me, it lights a fire in me that makes me want to overcome more, push myself more, create more.
So, I do not fear others. I do not fear myself. I do not fear the present. Or the future.
I simply am.
I challenge myself.
I do not see fears as barriers, but as chances to grow and be pushed. I embrace them.
I flaunt them.
I am confident.
I am ready.
As I believe that every artist should be because if you haven’t realized yet, everything in life is dangerous. Everything in life is an adventure.