I by no means will ever claim to be the voice of the creatives, but I’m realizing that there isn’t enough encouragement in our community. Creating isn’t everyone’s full-time job, but for many of us, creating is how we eat and how we survive. This is the group I want to address specifically, not to say there won’t be something in here for those of you who are hobbyists, or those just starting out, by all means, this is for you as well. So let’s get into this…
I know that it’s hard to articulate why art is so important. Many times we run into individuals that believe that what we do is as simple as pressing a button, or just a stroke of a pen. The thing is, it’s much more than that. Every time we set out to create something, we are putting a piece of ourselves out into the world. Many think that our work is the most outward expression of who we are, but I’m here to say that you are not defined by the work you produce, nor should you ever be limited by that work. You are the creator and ultimately you are in control, not the work or your audience. Take things as far as you want, never let what you’ve created previously be greater than where you are headed.
I also realized recently that you are always much further along than you think. A lack of confidence can ultimately separate you from the greatness you are actually capable of. Just think of it this way, there have probably been projects, tasks, ideas, etc. you’ve set out to create that you weren’t sure how you were going to complete, and somehow, in the end, you achieved it. You know why that is? It’s because you always had the ability within you, but your doubt was so powerful that it could have stopped you. Aren’t you glad you didn’t allow that to happen?
I need to take a moment now to encourage a specific group of creatives that I know doesn’t get enough shine or attention: black female creatives. Let’s be real, the system is set up for you all not to make it. Recently, however, we’ve seen some amazing black creatives breakthrough like Ava D (film/tv), Issa Rae (YouTube, TV, and film), and Tasha Blue (photographer). It’s been amazing to not only see so much more representation of black women in the creative community but to see quality work that pushes everyone else to question how they can improve their own work. Black women, they lied to you, you all are great. You have a story and perspective that only you can share, and if no one told you today, I BELIEVE IN YOU and I KNOW YOU ARE GOING TO DO GREAT THINGS! I not only want to see you create, but I️ want to see you become successful. If you ever need a word of encouragement or a push in the right direction, I’m here. If you doubt whether or not anyone is feeling your work, know that I AM. Stop doubting yourself, your vision, or your idea and put that workout. Keep creating because you are valued, you are special, you are important and you are needed. We need your eye, your voice, and your perspective more than anything at this point in history. You are loved, creative black girl.
I believe that it’s important as creatives to take time to acknowledge the importance of taking a breather. The work will always be there, but your health will not. You can’t burn the candle at both ends and expect that there will be anything left of the candle when you need warmth later. You have to take time for you because your mental health is the most important part of creating. If you are not mentally whole, you may be able to create some things, but ultimately you will fall apart. You have to know when to say no, and when to say it’s time to rest. While it’s important to always be busy, it’s necessary to set aside time to recharge. You probably already know this, but recharging isn’t always sleep, many times it’s just taking a walk, hiding your work from your view, and just taking time to give your brain a break. This work no matter what it is (fine art, video, graphics, dance, acting, photography, etc.) will kill you if you allow it to take hold of you’re everything. You are great the way you are, but if you don’t slow down from time to time your greatness will be affected severely. Don’t be your own worst enemy, help yourself and be great by knowing when to stop and take care of yourself. You’ve got this. I believe in your vision, but you need to take care of you to bring it to fruition.
Ultimately all I wanted to say to each of you is this: the work you’ve put in is not worthless, it’s great. I believe in you and if you are in need of encouragement I hope this helped. If you need more specific encouragement tailored to something you’re going through, never hesitate to contact me directly because I’m here for you. You should never feel as though what you are creating lacks value because your perspective needs to be shared, the world needs it so don’t hold back. Also, for those of you who are in need of some sort of mentorship, or 1-on-1 training, feel free to contact me as well. I’m always willing to help and depending on what you need we can work something out. Don’t doubt yourself or your work. If no one has expressed that they want to see it, I DO! Send it to me, let’s talk art, and if I’m ever in your city, let’s link and talk art.