Gem Praise Romano
Illustration and Visual Media
When producing and creating art work, it’s so easy to get lost in your own world and just make, make, make until you’re out of breathe and can’t do it anymore; it’s easy to isolate yourself in the creative world as most if not all artists want to create work for themselves without having to rely on other people’s suggestions hovering their visions.
The longer you work in the creative industry, the more you see group projects will arise and feedback sessions with peers you may not want to hear from. We start to get bombarded by other voices and ideas we don’t want to listen to and work with but there’s no escape.
As artists they’ll also be days where we feel so alone due to reasons like; creative block, comparing ourselves to others, imposter syndrome, thoughts of ‘no one can understand me’ etc. (you guys can probably write a whole list yourselves). There are days when we just want to stay in bed and forget about creating because it’s too difficult or we’re just not feeling it.
Having been through these phases and sometimes occasionally still, it’s so easy to feel distant from the creative community and feel like an outsider with everyone having their own discipline and style resulting in feelings of ‘not being good enough’ but in reality, these are just moments in our lives where we can quit or grow from.
With the global season we are in now, it’s really easy to just give up and think this is the end of the world but it’s not; this will pass. Just like with everything else, the world will continue to spin and the sun will continue to shine - we just need to make the most of what we have now and work as hard as we can.
Earlier this year, I signed up for a program in university which would teach me leadership skills alongside completing a live brief which was to produce an article for CEOs and managers of companies focused on diversity and inclusion in the workplace but as soon as I found this out, I wanted to quit. Going into it, I thought I would be able to produce work I could add to my portfolio but as a filmmaker and visual artist, journalism was not what I wanted to spend my time on.
I stuck it out another week before making my final decision and during this session, we had to present our ideas but my group was shorthanded as there was only two of us compared to the other groups who had 4/5 members. Although I was in the smaller group, (not to brag) we ended up having the best presentation and my team mate even said to me “I probably would not have done as good as I did if I wasn’t with you, I just caught onto your vibe and I felt more at ease.” That one comment changed my whole perspective about the project, it encouraged me to stay and work hard not just for myself but for the sake of my team as I didn’t want to let them down.
When my group finally finished the project, it was a weight off my shoulders, as the weeks went by I felt less enthusiastic about the project and just wanted to get it over with but when seeing all the work me and my team mates did together, it felt so empowering as it’s been a while since I finished a project.
In our last session, (on Zoom), we had to share our experiences and literally, I kid you not, started my speech with “Guys, I suck” and I shared how I realised my productivity and resilience levels were really low, I explained everything that was wrong with me and what I didn’t like about myself. We then had to share feedback and I was flooded with comments of reassurance and understanding from my peers; it didn’t feel like I was being babied but I felt heard and understood - I’ve never felt this much love from my creative peers before.
It was so refreshing and heartwarming showing me that I truly am not alone and there are other artists who feel exactly the way I do. I finally understood the meaning of ‘showing your weaknesses is a sign of strength’ because you aren’t afraid to show what you’re lacking in and you’re willing to put the effort to be better.
Although I didn’t come out with the creative results I wanted out from this project, I learnt so much about what it means to be a good leader and the attributes they have. Looking back I now love this project, not because of what I did during it but what I learnt coming out of it as it changed my whole perspective on my position in the creative industry.
By now we all have our fair share of experiences and stories to share about our year in the industry but one thing that we shouldn’t forget about and expand is our community. We should all be able to have people we trust who we surround ourselves with whom we can find inspiration and help from. Not only should we think of innovation when it comes to finding people but we should also build a healthy body of creatives around us that will encourage us when we’re not feeling so great. Like I said previously, we’ve had days that have been worse than others and they will continue to come (as that is the nature of life) but let’s not let that stop us from being the best creatives we know we are.
During this pandemic, I feel the art community has come together all the more and made an effort to be united so if you haven’t yet, I would suggest to start following more creatives and reach out to them if you’re inspired by their work to start building networks and connections.
I hope I speak for the rest of the DPS class of 2020 when I say this, if anyone here needs anyone to talk to about their work or just need an ear to vent to; I’m here for you, just drop me an email/DM :)