I shudder writing this. *Warning* This post contains old artwork! I include photos (sorry for the bad quality, but this was before proper digital photography) of my massive (think the size of a person with outstretched arms) oil paintings from back when I was studying painting at Art School. It was the first time we were challenged with ‘conceptualising’ our art and everything had to have layers of meaning…i.e. be weird. In this case it was Neo Victorianism and goats…

Whilst I don’t shudder at the quirkiness of it all, because every creative loves a bit of whimsy, I do shudder at my skill level. Particularly at the ego that accompanied that skill level. The challenge of accepting criticism at that age was really hard when you believed you were God’s gift to the art world. An undiscovered genius that just needed to be left alone to create her masterpieces! Youth does lend itself though to a sense of being ‘bulletproof’, so I forgive myself now. Also, it did not take long for my various teachers and instructors (and the world) to beat me into a healthier self-perception.

There is a moment that you realise that there is always someone out there in the world who is better than you, and subsequently someone even better than your victor…and so on and so on. The real moment of maturity kicks in when you realise that there is only one version of you and only one individual that has your thoughts and ideas. It’s real wisdom when you start competing with yourself. When you feel like your next concept will be even better than the last. You practice your skills of execution, you question your decision making and most importantly you listen. You listen to how you are perceived and you listen to those who are more skilled and are willing to impart those skills into your life. You learn.

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