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  • Writer's pictureHannah Blackmore

Finding Your Artistic Voice: The Struggles and Triumphs of High School Art Classes

High school art classes were a critical period in my journey to becoming an artist, filled with both challenges and triumphs that ultimately helped me find my unique artistic voice. These years were marked by intense learning, self-discovery, and the development of a creative resilience that continues to shape my work today.

A New World of Possibilities

Entering high school, I was both excited and intimidated by the art room. It was a space brimming with potential, filled with the intoxicating smells of oil paint and white spirit. My mother, an established artist, introduced me to my new art teacher, setting the stage for an inspiring yet demanding journey. Despite the initial intimidation, I was eager to prove myself and carve out my path in the art world.

Embracing the Challenges

High school art classes were far from easy. I was surrounded by talented peers, and the competition was fierce. We were exposed to a variety of mediums and techniques, from drawing and painting to sculpture and mixed media. I often struggled, particularly with drawing and oil painting. My work felt clumsy and uninspired compared to the impressive pieces created by older students.

These struggles, however, were a necessary part of my growth. They pushed me to persevere and find my strengths. I learned that art is not just about natural talent but about dedication, practice, and the willingness to experiment and fail. Each challenge I faced taught me valuable lessons about technique, composition, and the importance of patience.

Discovering My Unique Style

The turning point came when I discovered pen and ink drawing and photography. These mediums resonated with me in a way that others hadn’t. I was drawn to the intricate details and the stark contrast that pen and ink offered, and photography allowed me to capture and manipulate light and shadow in a new and exciting way. My attention to detail and love of text became central to my art projects, helping me develop a style that was distinctly my own.

Even though my work was still evolving, it began to reflect my unique perspective and interests. This period of experimentation and discovery was crucial in finding my artistic voice. It taught me that authenticity comes from embracing what truly inspires and excites you, rather than trying to emulate others.

Support and Encouragement

Throughout this journey, the support of my teachers and peers played a vital role. My art teacher, who initially seemed sceptical of my aspirations, became one of my biggest supporters. Her constructive feedback and encouragement helped me refine my skills and build confidence in my abilities. My peers, too, provided a sense of camaraderie and inspiration. We learned from each other’s strengths and weaknesses, fostering a collaborative and motivating environment.

The Importance of Persistence

The journey to finding my artistic voice in high school was marked by many ups and downs. There were moments of frustration and self-doubt, but also moments of clarity and triumph. These experiences taught me the importance of persistence and the value of every struggle. Each challenge overcame and every piece of art created, no matter how imperfect, was a step forward in my artistic development.

High school art classes were a formative period in my journey as an artist. The challenges I faced and the triumphs I experienced were instrumental in helping me find my unique artistic voice. They taught me that art is a journey of continuous learning and self-discovery, where struggles are as important as successes. For aspiring artists, embracing these experiences and learning from them is crucial. It’s through this process that we develop the resilience, skill, and authenticity needed to create art that truly reflects who we are.

Finding your artistic voice is not about being the best or most talented; it is about being true to yourself and your creative passions. Reflect on your journey, embrace your struggles, and celebrate your triumphs. Every step, no matter how small, brings you closer to discovering the artist you are meant to be.

Adapted from This Business of Art: How To Become A Professional Artist. Available from Amazon, Fullers and The Hobart Bookshop.


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