One frustrating part of art education are the tacit assumptions made about the way art should be made. Now, these assumptions should not be gotten rid of. Rather, I mean they are frustrating in the sense that they provide a resistance which helps artists grow strong. One such assumption I encountered early on was the idea that the artist should draw what he sees. Well, I found that, even when looking at art, I did not see what was in front of me. Instead, an imaginary image would captivate me. These images seemed to arise in response to what I was observing, though they seemed to have only indirect, analogous relationships to the real world. Often, rather than a static image, I would see a film of sorts, or hear a sound, or experience the sensation of motion or time. So, I realized early that my perceptions didn't line up with those of other people, even of other artists. My imagination overruled my direct experience of the outer world, brining an inherent subjectivism that was profoundly personal to my practice.
Over time, I learned that psychology called this quality of internal subjectivism introversion. Rather than implying an attitude of meekness or shyness, this attitude meant that inspiration came from my response to the world rather than the world itself. It's obvious that our culture at the moment favors extroversion - the rise of facebook, twitter, and blogging along with our economic emphasis on services leaves few of us with any true private life. Immediately, I realized I would be breaking with social norms.
But, a deep sense of individuality inspired me to resist conformity and find out for myself the extent of my potential. I resolved to have a profound and lasting affect on the world around me. Of course, this influence would not come from direct social interaction. Instead, I found that by sharing my internal reactions externally through visual art, I could connect with others in a very deep way. This shared humanity has brought me much joy and has given me courage again and again to assert my individuality within a culture that, often unknowingly, prefers homogeneity.