ARTSPEAKS episode 2: the art of finding your vision

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In the second episode of ARTSPEAKS, I opened up for a personal conversation on the evolution of my artistic voice, and the importance of challenging yourself as a creator to connect with the audience.

audio transcript

Hello everyone, welcome back to the second episode of ARTSPEAKS. Today I’m just gonna be talking to you guys because I feel like I haven’t really gotten a chance to share my vision, and that was really the main inspiration behind starting this site.

I honestly didn’t even want to do a blog at first, that really started as a class assignment. I created the Instagram for GOODAESTHETIC over the summer as a way to get my voice out there and my vision out there, because social media is a great way to do that. The goal of that Instagram was really to challenge myself as an artist and a creator - well the goal was originally to post everyday which I have not been very good with LOL… I really wanted to challenge myself to see things differently and to have a platform where I felt like that was what the goal of my account was.
I guess the underlying theme of what I always try and create is art that makes people feel something. I feel like I'm a person who sees things differently, especially from a creative standpoint. I don't like to do things in a very cookie-cutter way. I can never see myself doing any type of studio portrait photography - well I shouldn’t say that because you never know. That’s just not really my style, I like to do things that are more eccentric and outside the box which is really what I wanted to showcase through that Instagram. I feel like Instagram is the perfect platform to do that because it’s just a picture and a caption and it doesn't get cluttered down with a bunch of other nonsense. It sort of just lets the picture speak for itself, which I think is a huge part of photography.

As far as the blog goes online, I guess my motivation behind that is more trying to share background on how I’ve gotten to craft my voice with others. Maybe a little bit more of the artistic process, as well as letting the art speak for itself. I mentioned before that my artistic style tends to be outside the box and breaks creative boundaries because I guess I just recognize that I’ve always been someone who sees things differently.

I did a series on GOODAESTHETIC’s Instagram a few weeks ago, 19121, about life in North Philadelphia and what I really wanted to showcase through that was the beauty of life here. I feel like if someone ordinary were to just walk down the street they would be like “What do you mean? There's crack needles and the pavement’s all cracked, and someone catcalled me while I was crossing the street, this place is trash,” but I don’t really see it that way. I wanted to use pictures and visuals, I guess words as well but that was kind of secondary, to showcase that you can choose to look at it from a negative standpoint, but there is a lot of history, a lot of culture, there's a lot of struggle but we’re all humans at the end of the day. You can look at people who are less fortunate that you and feel indifferent or you can feel emphatic. Just take it as you’re grateful to be where you are in your own life… it’s all about perspective. Any artist understands that.

As I evolve my artistic voice, I really want to focus more on having those who resonate with my content really feel something, because I think at its core, that's what good art is; the type of art that makes you stop and look at it again, and really think about it, and then think about it again from a deeper level and catch something you might not have seen when you first saw it. That’s the type of content I want to be creating because when the audience feels something, that’s when you start to form this connection between them and you.

I remember one of the first artists I looked up to was David LaChapelle, and I actually just looked at his Instagram bio and it says “creative counterpoint for turbulent times” and that is just such a poignant way to describe where I want my style to evolve to - obviously not mirroring him, but as an inspiration. I mean his art makes you want to look at it again and again and again and the more you look at it, the more you see and I just love that about him and his style. I think if I could find a way to emulate that in my own style, that's sort of the goal of where I want my voice to evolve to.

The more work you put into developing your craft, the more you’ll see yourself evolve. I love looking through my own Goole Drive folders from just 6 months ago and seeing how much my style has changed as an artist and how much I’ve grown because the more you put yourself out there and challenge yourself the more you’ll star to see things from the point of view of a creator. You’ll start to craft your own artistic voice and and it is an ongoing process but it’s one that you can’t just sit and think about.

That was definitely one of my flaws, and something I wished someone had told me sooner. I would always be so mesmerized looking at other people’s art looking at it thinking “man I wish I could create something like this,” or “I wish I knew how to do this,” and one day I just got so frustrated with that. I said I don’t want to be someone who is always wondering "How do I do this? Why can’t I do it?” - I just want to know how to do it.

I guess what I’m trying to say is don’t be afraid to teach yourself. I took classes in school for digital design which have helped me immensely, but as far as photography and any videography, I’m pretty much self-taught in that area, which seemed daunting at first, but looking back, I’m pretty proud of myself. I used to be under this misconception that there are all these limitations, but if you’re always holding yourself back by arbitrary limits you set in your mind, you’re never going to get any better. It’s important to recognize your own strengths and weaknesses and have a realistic sense of what you can do and what you can’t do, but if you’re always just looking at a project thinking “there’s no way I’m going to be able to do this,” that’s frankly a terrible mindset to have.

There’s an upcoming project I’m doing on self-identity and basically the concept I came up with was the visual of putting on makeup as a metaphorical depiction of the process of self-evolution and the type of growth that comes through introspection and thinking about who we want to become, who we are in this world, our purpose, etc. When I was compiling the ideas and deciding what I wanted the concept to be, then staging, and finally shooting… the whole process took a lot longer than expected but when I first had the idea I was thinking there was no way I would be able to do it.

Now as I’m compiling what the final result is going to be, it’s helped me uncover so much about my own self-identity and not only who I want to become as a person but what I want to portray in my art. I think no matter what type of art you’re creating, whether it’s visual, music fashion, anything where you’re in a space making creative decisions on what you want to portray and what you want the audience to feel, that connection is where you find your artistic voice.

I think you need to know who you are as a person before you can figure out who you are as an artist. That’s sort of where I am in my own artistic journey so I hope that this has made you guys excited for next week, which will finally reveal the self-identity project. Thank you guys for tuning in, and get excited for what’s coming up in the future!