Get to know the artist.
Hi I’m Hailey, and I’d like you to understand that I consider myself an artist and you probably do too being that you’re on my website, or maybe you’re Thelda, in which case, hi grandma! Nevertheless, I’m writing this to introduce myself, I’m currently 19 and although I’d love to say I know what my motivations are and what the true meaning or art is to myself and those around me, I truly don’t. To me, part of the adventure and a big part of my life is discovering what exactly that is through my personal studies and my various drabbles and doodles. The best way for me to express that to you is by explaining that I had a big resentment for art. Up until the eighth grade you couldn’t get me to sit in that class room unless you paid me…or maybe with Mrs. Dinneweth’s failed attempts at banana bread that she shared with the art club. In short, as far as I was concerned I was destined to be the best marine biologist of our generation. My first memory of my dislike for the visual arts was in kindergarten, I had to draw a big circle and a little circle with two triangles to make cat ears. This cat also had to be orange, I wanted a purple cat so badly, my little 5-year-old heart was set on it. Mr. Lange only handed me an orange crayon and the apricot colored Crayola crayon and I begged him to give me purple. “No Hailey, this cat is orange with stripes" Fine. I begrudgingly and halfheartedly colored this, now, stupid, cat.
“Hailey, you have too many white spots, color them in so it looks nice.” I no longer wanted this cat to look nice but there weren’t any white spots when I turned it in.
“Miss Campbell, you can’t color outside the lines” I Internally screamed my lungs out as any kindergartener would. So, as fate would have it, it wasn’t until my first high school art class that I learned why I loathed that cat so much.
“You have to learn the rules before you break them,” My teacher had quoted Pablo Picasso and this line struck such a chord within me. I couldn’t stand art class all throughout elementary school because there were way too many rules and guidelines and every single solitary students’ work looked exactly the same. Art. was so. Boring. Until I couldn’t take notes without doodling. Doodles grew into copying pictures from children’s books, copying pictures grew into making my own characters, which grew into drawing, which grew into the absolute need to get better, which turned into art. Art became my comfort and my surrounding, to the point that every other class felt useless. Once my friends had noticed and got excited, I thought my joy would leap out of myself. That I could maybe do this for a living.
Things after that got very difficult but I was raised to have the strongest work ethic around and I was determined. When my school counsellor drilled it into my head that I had no future in art I didn’t care, That just meant I would have to go out on my own to find my path. Thus, an ungodly amount of portfolio reviews ensued. Interlochen arts camp alone had five reviews and all of them criticized my work to the bone. I worked harder with each review because, of course, I’m stubborn and I had to ‘win’. National Portfolio Day came around and I was so ready. At the end of the day I felt like the five-year-old Hailey stuck drawing that orange tabby. I waited three and a half hours to be told, “You belong drawing the logo on Doritos bags the rest of your life,” My world had officially crashed...Then I thought to myself, what’s wrong with drawing the Dorito triangle for the rest of my life? I get paid for it, I’m drawing, I can buy whatever paint, pen, or colored pencil I want with a job like that and keep surrounding my life with what I love. The constant terrible weight of the competitiveness in my art classes suddenly didn’t matter, my mom, being the wonderful woman she is, said
“you’re not that great,” That meant I could get better, and if I still wasn’t that great, who cares? I’m doing what I intend to do with my life and I’m making sure I’m happy living it. Yet, I get in a lot of trouble in my portfolio reviews for not having ‘the stuff that makes me happy,’ because it’s not a true reflection of myself, but I love making other people happy so all of that ‘stuff’ is either things that my friends and family request or things that have made me closer to the people I hold so close to my heart.
In a nutshell, you have to learn all the rules before you break them so that one day if someone tells you how “un-great” you are you have the ability to learn and make yourself happy with the life you’re living and the people you are living it with.
So dear art-viewer, help me learn what I like, because it's hard to identify. I can speak all day about the personal studies I've taken with facial expression, color theory, and why you can’t pin point the time of day in Monet’s impressionist oil painting of the Rouen Cathedral, but I can't tell you why I love to study it so much or why it ignites my interest so fervently. If you are ever my client, I want you to teach me how I’m supposed to show what I've learned about life in just 19 short years in my art that will last so much longer beyond that. I want to make my impact with what has impacted me.