I've been thinking about what the heck I'll do with my life once I'm done living in Prague. I see myself pursuing my art and other creative passions although I'm not exactly sure how I'll do it. BUT I know I will. In the last few months, I've made some serious strides getting involved in the creative community here in St. Louis and I can't wait to continue staying connected and eventually come back and be a part of it.
There is one thing I know I'll do though.
Without a doubt, no matter what - I have to be a mentor to younger artists.
I was watching a TED Talk the other day (surprise) by Jarrett J. Krosoczka about how he became a Children's book author and illustrator. He talks about a moment he had when he was young and an author he liked told him he had drawn a nice cat.
It might not seem like a defining moment or a pivotal point but it mattered. I thought about moments like this in my life. When someone I admired encouraged me or complimented me and gave me a little "oomph" to keep moving forward.
For me it was a teacher, a few teachers actually after a few rough years of art classes in grade school. I can't quite remember when I decided I wanted to paint but in 5th or 6th grade I asked for an easel and paints for Christmas. I checked out Georgia O'Keeffe books and tried to duplicate them at home but in art class it was a different story. I didn't think my art teacher liked me. Moreover, I definitely thought that she thought I really sucked (I'm sure that's how I said it to my mom as an angsty pre-teen). Jokes aside, I was pretty discouraged. It continued through 8th grade and I didn't think about art again until I decided that was my only option to fulfill my fine arts mode as a sophomore in high school. Shoutout to my high school art teacher Mr. Friggle who actually taught me to paint. He gave us freedom to explore what we enjoyed but also let us know if he thought we were selling ourselves short. By senior year, I was applying to colleges for art scholarships thanks to Mr. Friggle and ALL the art classes I took at Helias.
There were more teachers in college and other people in my life who kept the encouragement going and acted as mentors but I think without a combination of encouragement, praise, and critique from my high school art teacher I wouldn't call myself an artist today. It was a critical point when I was ready to give up before I even really tried.
That being said, I'm almost embarrassed that I haven't been involved in any sort of art outreach or art school program yet. I want more than anything to be that person for young artists. I've been researching ways that I can get involved in children's fine art programs in Prague and it looks promising! In preparation, I learned how to say "nice cat" (pěkná kočka).
Hoping this will be a great opportunity to give back and learn about the Czech art scene.
Let's pray my encouragement isn't stifled by my limited Czech vocabulary.