How I Became an Artist by Accident

How I Became an Artist by Accident

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Much of my life I have been searching to find myself - as I was never quite sure what was "my thing."  What do I enjoy doing more than anything else? Where can I leave my mark on the world? There were always many things I was interested in learning and capable of doing well - but I never knew what I should focus on. I felt like I was passionate about everything!

When I was a child, my dad taught me how to draw. He would buy me sketchbooks, and art supplies to feed my passion and I would sketch things that interested me - mostly comic book heroes and the human body. Most of all I really liked drawing because it was a fun activity I could do with my dad - but over time that skill blossomed and became a part of my identify.

However I wasn't necessarily interested in making real "art." I think I just didn't know it was something I could actually do. And then in high school I started learning more about art history. I did a 4,000 word research paper for my IB Diploma on Picasso and how African art influenced his work. My research changed my perspective on what it meant to make art.

Fast forward 4 years, and I had my first ever solo art show during my senior year at MIT, called "A Noble Savage." It was exciting to embrace my identity as an artist. I felt like I had found myself in the work I was creating. But I was really just beginning.

After graduating college and entering the working world, my art took a backseat - I knew I had found a passion for the business world, technology and entrepreneurship. So I focused on shortening my learning curve, developing technical domain expertise, and learning what it takes to build great products. 

And for the past 3+ years, my creative energy has largely been directed toward bringing my vision for YouNow to fruition. I found myself most passionate when developing a product that brings real value to people’s lives, and I realized “visual art” alone would not satisfy me. Building magical consumer products became my medium.

I recently read a great post by James Clear on the importance of "making things." He explained that the world belongs to people that make things: 

"One person created a computer - thousands of people use it. Someone started a business - and thousands of people became customers. One person designed a blazer - and thousands of people bought it and wore it."

That was inspiring to me as a maker, because I knew that I want to make beautiful things that benefit real people and share them with the world. I can answer the question "who am I?" with conviction, knowing that I am an artist and technologist. My medium and focus may change, but my sensibilities will not.

When I look at myself as an artist, everything in my life, past and present, makes sense - it's all connected. My convictions. My professional work. My personal style. My studies.

And with this frame of mind, I am able to look at myself for who I am, and not wonder where I am supposed to fit in. I am just supposed to be myself - Dorian. An artist.

And that feels really good.