Why am I an artist?

I’ve always been “artsy.” When I was a kid, my drawings—along with those of my twin sister—completely covered my parents’ refrigerator. When we were really little, my grandpa sent us home with an enormous roll of newsprint-like paper that we couldn’t even lift on our own. I think we went through all of it before we turned five. We did the whole coloring-book thing, like most kids, but mostly we went to town with markers and the newsprint, and any other blank paper we could find in the house (like the lovely computer paper seen below). Markers ran dry well before inspiration did.

Drawing by Christy, 3.5 yrs old

My all-time favorite drawing, done when I was 3 1/2. My mom often wrote down the details of the drawings, verbatim, from what I would tell her. Hilarious.

My sister and I cranked out so much art, and were we were pretty good for such little tykes. My dad’s coworker even bought several pieces from us when we were around 8-9 years old. We had lemonade-type stands at the end of our driveway in suburbia, where we’d sell our drawings. (Ha! My first art shows.)

Drawing of girl, by Christy, age 9

A typical "fashion-y" drawing I did when I was 9 years old.

My love for drawing continued I guess until I got interested in sports, and therefore became way too busy (or at least not interested enough to make time for it). In addition to taking a full load of classes in college, I also played softball and had a part-time job. I graduated with a degree in mass communications (with a photojournalism emphasis) and worked as a writer/editor for several years at a local regional magazine. After being at the magazine for about 2.5 years, it hit me—hard—one day that I needed a creative outlet again.

In about a week I was applying for art school, and three weeks after that my butt was in a seat in a classroom at The Art Institutes International Minnesota.

In my first drawing class, we were asked to draw a still life of an object of our choice. I stared at my blank sheet of paper for 30 minutes before my teacher goaded me into beginning. I was terrified. I didn’t know if I still had “it.” I was afraid to put the pencil to the paper.

But once I started…. You know the story.

Fast forward seven years, and I’m a full-time graphic designer. I worked for companies for 5.5 years, and now I’m on my own. I don’t draw by hand much anymore; mostly via design software. But I’ve gotten more into hand lettering lately, and I love that.

But no matter how I choose to draw these days, I’ve never been happier in my field, felt more fulfilled with my work, or been more creative.

That’s why I have been, and always will be, an artist.

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2 Comments on “Why am I an artist?”

  1. Wendy says:

    Awesome! That was one of my favorite pictures. The mustard part cracks me up. I love mom’s written words to the story… so great!


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