Sometimes we read articles and stories from people and we simply accept that they are THE resource or the expert in the topic. Lots of times we really have no basis for this belief other than we are conditioned to believe things as presented and not ask too many of those pesky questions about it. This week I have decided to let you have a peek at my inner world, the Who Am I for those who are paying attention. This isn’t something I do often, but I think that it is possible that it can help all of you to understand your own creative journey.
My name is Jen Hernandez. I am an Artist and Photographer, but I didn’t always consider myself to be this. I was born and raised in the small town of Springfield, Ohio. I have lived lots of other places and in many different states…and I like to travel. Every since I can remember I have loved drawing, painting, taking pictures, and just….creating. I used to paint and hang up my work in my house…but never thought that I had the skills to become an ARTIST. I grew up kinda poor and we didn’t have money to invest in art supplies and all of the ‘fancy’ stuff, so I created with whatever I could get ahold of. Sometimes that was more than others. I learned to paint with literally THE cheapest paints and papers etc…and I learned to alter photographs without using the photo editing software that everyone seemingly has access to now.
Long story short. I started creating when it was ‘harder’ to create and with little access to the neat new technology and tools we have now. I still like to go back to the basics from time to time….though I am not giving up all of my bells and whistles now. I feel like I have put in enough that I have earned some of the more coveted items. Regardless, I am a strong believer in the “Use what you’ve got” mindset. I am also of the belief that there is no real Elite when it comes to ART. Some people have talent while others don’t….some people have training and others do not. Just because you have training it doesn’t mean that you will have the talent and vice versa.
I know that the burning question that everyone always asks me is “Do you have an art degree?” The simple answer is no. I don’t. I learned a lot from my art teachers through grade school, but I am mainly self-taught. GASP!!! I know, it is awful right? I am a 30+ year art ‘student’ but I still don’t have that 4 year degree that SAYS that I know what I’m doing. I will say for the record though….ANYONE WHO IS AN ARTIST IS NEVER DONE WITH LEARNING AND BEING A STUDENT. IF YOU DON’T WANT TO CONTINUE LIFELONG LEARNING, (THOUGH NO CLASSROOM IS NEEDED) THEN YOU SHOULD NOT BE AN ARTIST. I truly mean that…you should NEVER stop learning, but your value as an artist should not lie in a piece of paper.
Regardless, it took me a long time to understand that my work was of value and that I was skilled, knowledgeable, and that I was an ARTIST. I guess I am not sure what I thought I was early on. I thought that everyone could do what I did. I thought that what I did and the skills that I had weren’t special…but they were. They are. For years I denied that I knew what I knew. I bought right into the Elite smokescreen that made things look like those who didn’t have money or those who didn’t have certain types of backing, or even those with an Art degree were better than me. To the point where I actually attempted to go to Art school for a while. I went through the entire process but ended up not going because I didn’t have the money to attend, and the program I was going into didn’t accept traditional financial aid. I chalked it up to not being good enough and got degrees in Psychology and Law instead. Looking back though I wish that I had believed in myself more at that time, but I am glad that I finally got to a place where I could. Now I’m $138,000 in debt and I don’t practice as a Psychologist….and I certainly don’t practice Law. Instead I am here working one day job and then my other as an Artist and Photographer. Funny how things work out isn’t it?
Over the years I have learned a lot…both in general and specifically about Art, Creative Endeavors, Photography, and Marketing. It is because of that and the struggles that I encountered while trying to get my footing in the Art business that I decided to write this blog. I spent precious time doubting myself and my art….I will probably always have that small part of me that wonders ‘what if?’ At least I HAVE finally found my way and I now have the skills and experience to be here answering questions for all of you…so you can maybe find your way sooner. So you can have someone that will be there with you to answer questions that I just had to take the time and ‘figure out’. Never stop experimenting though, even if I tell you it won’t work. Be CURIOUS. Be filled with PASSION. Be EDGY!
So…that is me (in a nutshell) hundreds of paintings later, many failed attempts, many great successes, some events, and lots of awesome Art Shows scattered in between. I’ve been here in this space for a long time now, and I evolve daily into the Artist that I am meant to be in the future. I’m just getting started, so I plan to be here for the long haul. I am here for you in solidarity. I want to share in your successes and your failures….I want to see the attempts…I want to help you to develop your ideas. So, stay tuned! There is a LOT more to see!
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