A change is not a break. It is refinement.
From the day I was born, I knew I was an artist. At the age of 8 or 9, I wanted to teach art and have students around me. For many years, I thought teaching was a very practical way to make a living as an artist, even though my soul wanted to be so much more. I longed to be famous and have my art hanging in museums around the world, like Van Gogh, Rembrandt, and Picasso. I feel as though this desire will never change. I am attracted to creativity the way hummingbirds are drawn to red and deep pink flowers.
In high school, while studying artists like Salvador Dali, I would imagine a long life of painting and experimenting with life. I visualized the stockpile of art that one might collect after 73 years of living as an artist. How many pieces of art did Dali create in his life? Thousands? Hundreds of thousands? Millions? The freakishly large number inspired me! I longed for my own life to unfold this way, with a stockpile of canvas and collections distributed around the planet in different estates and museums.
But, in college, I was introduced to computers and the virtual world. I know, I’m aging myself by admitting this… I was taught using Photoshop 4.0 (which was released in 1996). The reason I’m pointing this out is because, at the time, this software, and the computer it was on, were top of the line and almost sci-fi. Remember how beautiful that turquoise Mac G3 was? Cell phones were just becoming mainstream at the time.
I was scared of this new thing. I believed that computers were evil. I cursed them and swore I would not let this metallic tool into my daily life. My fear was that the computer world would eventually be obsolete. Even if it wasn’t for 1,000 years, it seemed inevitable. And that meant that whatever artwork I created on a computer, would disappear and be gone forever. I thought “how can I ever be like Salvador Dali, (with hundreds of thousands of pieces of art created after 73 years of experimenting with life as an artist), if my art exists only virtually?”
But did this new change really mean that? The oldest art known to man was created in a cave over 40,000 years ago. At some point, humans stopped painting on rocks and started using paper, then canvas. How funny would it be if people chose not to evolve from rock to paper? Salvador Dali and other artists would have painted on empty cave walls, in the name of tradition. It really was silly for me to hold on to an old thought pattern (my art must physically hang in a museum) and block any new (virtual) creativity from happening.
Looking back, I’m proud that I was able to see that computers weren’t evil. In fact, they have become quite the blessing in my life. I look forward to standing one day in a virtual art gallery, or however it is in the future. I am not tied to one specific way of unfolding. Who knows, one day, 40,000 years from now, a being may find my hard drive with 80GB of graphic design files, figure out how to interpret the digital language, and expose an ancient civilization to a world that didn’t know we exist. I know, that last bit was a little deep.
The point of this memoir is that change is to be embraced, not rejected. Hanging on to old thought patterns and demanding that things should be only one way, creates failure in an opportunity to grow into a more evolved, mature being. Even Van Gogh has his own website… something he would probably enjoy knowing, but could have never imagined.