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Did I Always Want to Be an Artist?

This is a question artist get asked a lot. The short answer is … yes.

At least I was always interested in creating things. I liked working with my hands and had a vivid imagination. I loved crafting, drawing, coloring, etc. In fact, even as a little kid, I loved shapes and colors. At age five, I remember my older sister Debbie brought home a school assignment. It was a piece of paper with a diagram on it. The assignment was to cut and shape the piece of paper into a tetrahedron. I went and grabbed a blank paper, copied the image myself and then cut and made my own tetrahedron.

Often, when others were doing an activity together, you could find me off in an area on my own making something. When I was about seven, I went fishing at a lake with my dad and Debbie. We hadn’t had any bites; and while my family walked up and down the bank casting, I squatted down on the bank and stayed put. Eventually they wandered back and asked what I was doing. I joyously proclaimed, “Look guys I made clay pots!” Yep. I found some clay along the bank of the lake and made three pinch pots. My sister still has one of them on her dresser today.

I always practiced drawing, working from images drawn by others, or from real life. In particular, I loved to draw flowers. I would pick the wildflowers and bring them inside to sketch. And of course, I signed up for art and craft classes every chance I could. So, I’ve always had the instincts and interests of an artist. But artist as a career?

There were lots of things I wanted to be when I grew up, and one of them was an artist. Not that I’m sure I even knew what that meant beyond creating art. I didn’t know any artists or people making a living from art or working in the arts when I was young. In high school, I took as many art classes as the school allowed. That’s when I began to see my art teachers as real-life artists. And they inspired me to pursue an arts degree in college.

I loved making art in college. As a student, I was surrounded by studio space, resources, and input from professors. I spent so many hours in my coveralls, arms deep in plaster or with a welding mask on and sparks flying! The digital arts, however, were not for me. I wanted to get dirty and work up a sweat. I have always loved manipulating materials to make what I imagine come into existence, but it was hard to know how to turn my talents and ideas into a career. After all, the artists I knew were teachers – but I wasn’t interested in teaching.

After college I had other passions that I wanted to explore but I never stopped creating or engaging with the arts. A day at the beach with friends, and I was still nowhere near the waves because I was enthralled in making a sand sculpture. So, the artist was still there, spilling out of me even when I hadn’t figured out what being an artist means.

You see, the idea of an artist is complex. It can be a job title or profession, but it also can mean someone who creates as a hobby. It’s also more than what you do. Truthfully, it is hard to separate the doing out from who you are; because an artist is often someone who is creative, visual, original, and full of ideas. Artists express themselves and their viewpoints by making things as I have always done.

So the long answer to the question we started with is this: From a young age, I have displayed the attributes of an artist; and that was coupled with an interest in the visual arts. Now, in my late 30s I have come to a point where I am ready to be an artist by profession. The ability and inclination have always been there. Now it’s finally time to give it my full attention.

Yours truly,

Amanda Porter



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