Have you ever been somewhere that makes you feel small and insignificant in the grand scheme of our world? I have. About 7 years ago I was able to visit Alaska with my family, and standing among the mountains, trees, and wide open spaces you begin to gain a perspective of your place on the planet.
Yet the same feeling washes over me when I stand in the middle of Times Square - the feeling that you are merely a speck of dust in the air. This feeling is even further enhanced when you want to make a mark in this world; through art, through actions, or through impressions. These feelings never really fade, but the best any of us can do it try to make a difference anyway we can.
I grew up with crayons in my hands and images in my mind, and my love of art has continued to trickle into my life today. In high school you can take classes on a regular basis without any fear of not meeting requirements for majors, but it doesn't last forever. In my sophomore year of college I declared as an English major, making the choice to focus on writing over my first love - art.
Yes, there are art classes in college, but they are not always accessible for non-art majors. My first and only experience in a college drawing class really shattered my confidence to be honest - the teacher constantly discouraged me, when art had always been a safe place. I still haven't taken another art class since that particular drawing course my freshman year.
So I learned that if I could not find the solace of art in class form, I would have to find it in my own time. After about a year I decided to make an Instagram page dedicated to this work, to share it with people that may appreciate it, or connect with anyone that would be interested in commissioning anything. When you decide to share anything online it is intimidating, you want to know what people think, but at the same time you are protective over the work that you have been creating.
When you submerge yourself into social media sharing, you start to understand how many other people have the same dreams as yourself, but this shouldn't discourage you. Sure, there will always be another account that has more followers or likes than you, but it doesn't mean that your work is any less valuable. One of the most important lessons that I've learned in life, is that if you can make a difference in one person's life then you have accomplished something amazing.
Some days are better than others. Lack of interest in your work can be discouraging, but if you keep working at it success will build. Starting with commissions, my art received some attention here and there, but it eventually led to some of the most exciting experiences of my life.
Through my art I have been able to connect with other people who inspire me, and it is thrilling to know that people I respect enjoy my art. If I had let all of the discouragement that I have experienced, or the feeling of insignificance I have felt in fantastic spaces overpower my judgment, I would not have been able to have these incredible experiences.
Last autumn, I was lucky enough to meet an incredible author who's story made a lasting impression on me because they had seen my art; this has been one of the most rewarding experiences that I have had because of my art. Also recently, I attended a concert and was able to share my art with the artist, they enjoyed it so much that they shared it on their own social media.
Of course opportunity is key, but it doesn't take a lot to make the effort and put yourself out there, you never know who you may reach.