INSECURITY AS AN ARTIST
A LITTLE ABOUT ME
Hello there! My name is Abigail Dorn and I am the second daughter of Andy and Corie Dorn. We've lived in rural Minnesota my whole life in a tiny little town right on the edge of several big cities. In short, I'm not a city girl but not a full country girl either. Since I'm right in the middle, I'm able to adapt to hard work or big urban areas if need be. I'm so thankful for the experiences that 4-H and livestock have taught me and I'm equally grateful for all the theater, speech, and metro college experiences. Through the years, I've had the opportunity to learn, grow, be stretched, and even fail. And I'm grateful for all of these. Here, I'd like to share with you a specific journey in perspective that I went through in order to bring me here today.
Interestingly, I didn't want anything to do with art several years ago. Due to several bad experiences in an art class and my own comparison to other artists, I felt that I simply wasn't good enough and that art wasn't worth pursuing anymore. This was a very unhealthy mindset to be in. By seeing only the flaws in my pieces and the beauty in other's, I was set up for disappointment, no matter how wonderful my artwork was.
Recently, we were cleaning our garage and I actually saw one of my paintings that I made while in this class (6-8 years ago). I was a little taken-aback to be honest. It was good! I did a really good job with proportion, colors, and dimension. Yes, I could see where the shadows needed more color and the elements could use more overlay. But now, I was seeing the whole picture, not just the beauty and not just the faults.
So, what changed so drastically over the past years that brought me to this new perspective? Well, it was a combination of a lot of things. At this time I was also going through a change in my personal and spiritual journey in regards to perspective of myself. However, if I could pinpoint one, specific moment when things began to change in my art journey, it would be in my Junior year of high school when I decided to take an art course at IHCC through PSEO. If I'm perfectly honest, it was rather intimidating to be the youngest, not at all familiar with the studio, and shy on top of it all. But, I'll never forget one of the first things my professor told us on the first day of class. Before we started painting he said, "Even if you create something that you don't thing is "perfect," it's still beautiful and a work of art. It is one-of-a-kind and lovely because only YOU can make something just like that." Wow, that's what I'd been missing all these years. There's beauty in imperfection too. Through this simple art class, I was able to let go of expectations and perfection, and I was able to open myself up to learning again in this area. By doing this, I regained a passion and joy for art that had been lost in comparison.
I just have to laugh when I look back at this change in perspective. Who would've though that the thing I disliked most would have become one of my passions? Only God can take all the broken pieces in my life and make them whole. And that is just what He did.
Now, when I find an old piece of artwork in the garage, I can appreciate it and see it for what it really is versus looking at it through the lens of comparison.
I hope that my journey will help you to avoid the same mistakes I did. Just like anything, this healing was a process and took time. But it was worth all of the time invested to come out on the other side. If I could offer a little nugget of wisdom to artists, especially young ones, it would be to be kind to yourself when looking at your pieces. It's easy to compare and only see shortcomings but it's hard to see value in the imperfection. One way to value your piece as a whole (no matter how awful you might think it is), is to find at least two aspects you love about your artwork. Just two. Start there and each time, find a little more beauty than fault in your work. Remember, there is so much beauty in imperfection. Strive for progress, not perfection. Slowly, you'll start to see beauty in other areas of life that you wrote off as hopeless, too.
The real game-changer for me was also in my relationship with Jesus Christ. He showed me that He saw me as whole, lovely, wonderful, chosen, and redeemed whereas I only saw myself as imperfect, less-than, and not worthy. I figured if I saw myself as a mess, wouldn't He? But that's truly not the case. He isn't looking through the lens of comparison like we often are. He sees us and loves us uniquely. Just because. It's nothing we've done or said that can make Him love us more or less. He calls us by name, not by our failures. It's truly the most wonderful thing to know Him and be known by Him. God's perspective of and love for me changed everything. I hope you know of His transforming love too and have had the opportunity to hear of His heart towards you.
Hopefully, you were able to learn something from my story; there's so many layers to it! Please let me know if you're an artist and have gone through this comparison spiral or if you can relate to the insecurity I went through. Have a blessed day! Love you AWL fam!
6/9/2021 07:19:46 am
Abby, what an amazing story! Thank you so much for sharing! As I was reading your story, I was thinking how much comparing artwork can relate to our lives in general and you wrapped that up perfectly at the end with Jesus's love for us. I went to college for graphic design and struggled with similar doubts and comparisons all throughout my schooling and career. It was so crippling at times! I love what your art teacher told you, if only everyone had a mentor like that! I remember one of my professors once said "Mistakes are GOOD, sometimes it makes your piece even better", and that is so true! That also, lines up with life in general. You are a great inspiration so so many by sharing your story and experiences ❤
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Hi, I'm Abigail Dorn, the founder and director of Arts With Love.
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