"The Struggling Artist," is a narrative piece on the dangers of mental health and anxiety in an artistic world. As an artist, it's been a stressful endeavor to tackle especially as a young aspiring artist. The life of a young aspiring artist is but a stressful one, with the constant thought of being inadequate and the constant thought of wanting to better yourself and wanting to create the best piece.

I drew this drawing a year ago and it always stuck to me. Creatively, I wanted to work with this idea and reimagine it realistically.

photo by Jay Evans & Jose Ruano

photo by Jay Evans & Jose Ruano

photo by Jay Evans & Jose Ruano

photo by Jay Evans & Jose Ruano


The mannequins in the photo represent the skeletal anatomy of a figure when you first draw someone. Metaphorically they also represent my anxiety and stress, the stress of wanting to do art but not knowing what to do; plus the inevitable stress of wanting to create meaningful and amazing work. This piece almost becomes the social ideology of being inadequate, and having stress become the being of who you are. As the mannequins themselves are incomplete as my thought process as an artist is parallel. My character represents the struggling artist, a puppet to the game of the art industry. A being forced by their own creations to make choices artistically that they themselves have no control over. As my character slowly gains their own autonomy and attempt to create the portraits himself.

The inspiration behind this piece was for a bad experience I've had with a professor roughly around this time last year. During the course of that semester, I've felt depressed and shadowed over by a peer of mine who I once considered a best friend. He was always trying to rival me and always tried to outshine any of the work I'd do and would even ridicule it. The original struggling artist piece was even derailed by my professor who always seemed skeptical over my work and suggested I'd make my "best friend" be the subject of the piece. This caused a huge form of stress and depression and caused me to create an art piece I personally did not enjoy. It only made matters worse when during my final portfolio review, when my professor ridiculed my career goals and my major and simply told me, "I don't think you're cut out for that major. I don't think it's right for you." while my "best friend" went on for his review with a happy face and a jokingly and expressive conversation with my professor. Only to look me in the face and have the nerve to say, "I think the professor was hard me" as if joking around and having a friendly conversation was a harsh critique. This built a big form of depression and desperation to create a better piece, and thus the drawing formed itself and I became more apparent on wanting to create this piece and serve the message. Although you may feel shadowed by the world around you, and your work may feel over bearing, you are the best you and everything you could ever make- is... Special.