I have Dyslexia, I am a child of an alcoholic, and I was one of those kids who was picked on and bullied. I have dealt with all kinds of self-esteem issues over the years. As I experienced much pain growing up I also found pleasure and ways to escape and connect through my art. Ever since I was five years old I knew that I wanted to be an artist. For me being an artist isn't just a career, it is who I am, it is how I function, and it is how I survive and enjoy the world.
Thinking back I recall feeling I was not good at much, but my artwork was always something I knew I was good at and could turn to while I was experiencing a lot of pain. My mother was under a lot of stress due to the alcoholism; she was unhappy and dealt with that by yelling and screaming, being impatient and critical of me. Still there is a lot about our relationship I am grateful for. She passed away when I was 18 and it took me a few years but I was able to forgive her for the anger towards me and I was able to embrace the goodness that she left with me. My dad also passed away about 20 years ago. They both gave me a gift by paying for me to go to art school and they shared kind words about my artwork all the time. My mom bought me craft kits, I always looked forward to those kits and if it was not for that encouragement I got about my artwork from my parents, I have no idea what I would be doing today. Just a little seed of support can heal so much pain.
I still struggle with dyslexia. Luckily, though, I have been able to compensate with my artwork and build a businesses for myself. I think I was extremely fortunate that I was so driven with my artwork and have always been so passionate about it; I just keep on going in a very challenging market. Currently I have a blog and I still struggle with the written word. I mostly use that to feature my artwork and share things that inspire me such as photographs I take. I type with two fingers or I use my Dragon dictation program for the Mac . Currently I juggle doing artwork and handling the business end of my work.
Everyone tells me that my artwork is very happy and playful. When I was in art school, right after I lost my mom, I created some heavy duty surrealistic fantasy artwork. At the time it was definitely something I needed to do. I would escape into a little details and create strange creatures; it helped me cope with losing my mother when I was so young, and living with my father who was still drinking heavily. At some point i learned that in order to earn a living from my art I would need to paint happy things actually it was natural for me to do and I started really enjoying it.
At this time in my life I cannot even imagine painting anything else but happy artwork. One of the things that makes my career so rewarding is hearing how my artwork has brought joy to other people and has been therapy for them. I have designed dinnerware over the years and people become very attached to their designs and some have shared really touching stories with me about their dinnerware.
I am so grateful to everyone who connects with and buys my artwork, they also have helped me heal the little sad girl who always wanted to be liked. I am blessed to be able to earn a living
from what has helped heal me.
This is a thought for everyone and especially those who might not be doing art for a living, if you are afraid to create out of fear that what you create will not be good enough, I want to share that most of the artists I know have dealt with all kinds of rejection in there careers. I have learned it is important to find balance in creating what I think the market might want and what I enjoy creating. No matter if your trying to do this to earn a living or just for your own inner healing, I think it is important your artwork comes from your HEART and you find your own unique voice.
Everyone has one...it is already inside you, play and have fun....creativity is for all of us to enjoy.
My art can be found on many products including greeting cards, stationery, home décor, paper party goods, scrapbook pages, fabric, and more, I am most recognized for my top selling dinnerware and fabric designs. You can find more of my artwork at http://suezipkin.typepad.com/