It’s a strange moment, when your greatest passion becomes your greatest predicament. I have called myself an artist since pre-school, a writer since first grade. Back then, my creative projects only gave me pleasure because they were the bridges between myself and my imagination. By tenth grade my inner critic, like Hydra, emerged, full-blown, an invisible arbiter between the author and her art: I began to compare my work to others, to get disheartened at flaws, and worst of all, to struggle with enjoying the act of invention. I was forced to ask: Why do I want to be an artist if it causes so much pain? It’s a question I still ponder when I write a superficial poem or waste paint on an innocent and it’s a question my least wasted words and pictures still momentarily answer; momentarily, because after one disappointing the hunger for another attempt flares, brightly.
Not long after my inner critic was born, I visited the art department at Brown University, lugging what I considered to be my three best paintings into the office of Professor Feldman, hoping for praise. Instead I got constructive criticism, not just on my work, but on my assumptions about reality: in less than fifteen minutes I learned about the various planes in a...
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