Without art, some people lose meaning

I’m an artist because I’ve always enjoyed books, movies, and art of all kinds. Some
people in my life would say writing isn’t an art but I don’t agree. I believe anything creative that involves someone creating a product or end piece is an artist whether it be a movie, book, article, painting or music. I write because I think it’s fun to do. Watching movies, playing video games, and reading books always gives me ideas. If I really like something and a book doesn’t include it, I write it into mine. I think writing is a good opportunity to put one’s own thoughts and ideas for others to read.

I started doing art at a young age, I drew silly comics of a superhero and filled tons of notebooks of the adventures. I didn’t do art as much in my beginning years of high school but seeing some of my close friends drawing and animating and doing music I began to try it too. I loved music and still do. I then started to try art classes and drawing and reading some more books.

Being an artist is a way to express oneself through different media. To me it’s writing books and stories about things I enjoy reading myself. I love fantasy video games and movies and books and that’s what I like to write about. Without writing, I feel like I wouldn’t have a good drive to continue being productive.

I’m not a professional writer but I do hope to be someday soon. On a normal day I write for a few hours on my book and my online blog. When I write, the story or topics flow out from me and I usually can write quite a lot in one sitting. I apply to writing jobs every day, to hopefully find somewhere that I can show my art and fulfill one of my dreams.

Writing brings me a lot of motivation. I hope to have a book published, seeing my own writing in a store is one of my biggest dreams. I think being an artist isn’t just about professional work, but more importantly it’s about doing something you love regardless of recognition or the expectation of money in return. Sharing something for the world is one of my favorite things about writing. Hearing feedback from others may be difficult sometimes but I think it always makes for good criticism to improve writing.

I posted a writing online and there were quite a few responses to it. Some of the feedback was negative but regardless, I learned a little more about the writing style I have and my writing flow. Even though it doesn’t feel great to see negative things about my own writing, I used that and tried to improve my writing in the future.

All in all, if you love to write or draw or whatever your art may be, I think it’s always a good idea to try it and share it with the world. Without art, some people lose meaning and need it to inspire them. One of my favorite quotes is “a professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit” by Richard Bach. I believe that quote because I think everyone can be a professional regardless of their age or years of experience. It can take just one writing piece to have someone realize they have talent. Sometimes people are overlooked for lack of experience or their age but I believe some younger people with less experience may have more talent than most others.

School of Hard Knocks

I’d been thinking a lot about how to start my first column and introduce myself to you. I’d pitched this column as a fly-on-the-wall account of my career transition from full time employment to freelancing building on the Beginnings article you might have read in Issue 1. I was going to talk about my wins, fails, and how I was navigating the creative and freelance arena.

What I didn’t expect was for my first column to reflect on mistakes already. And some big ones. Enter the reminder that you’re still very much a novice at this Claire.

Mistake number 1:  if you’re going to write about someone, ask for their permission first even if you truly believe what you’ve written isn’t going to be an issue.

Mistake number 2:  have someone read your work to check whether it makes sense and for grammar, punctuation etc. before publishing.

My first mistake is painful and personal; the second mistake grates me the most because I know it.  In my day job I check other people’s work and others check mine. We all know that we’re often too close to our own work and can’t see the wood for the trees so I don’t know why I thought it was any different this time.

I’m going to blame a behavior, a trait that is a positive and a negative.  The in-the-moment behaviour that has me rushing headlong into things without thinking of the consequences. The ‘jump before I leap’ attitude that I talked about in my Beginnings article. It’s not helped many times and certainly hasn’t helped on this occasion. Being told about and seeing my mistakes felt like a slap in the face and the euphoria of seeing my article in MyBestZine.com disappeared instantly. It’s also left me doubting myself. I’ve read many a freelancer talk about the need to have a thick skin in this industry but I attribute that need for when you receive criticism of your work in relation to topic, argument or style, not to mistakes that have been my own doing.

I’ve learnt my lesson the hard way both personally and professionally but a lesson it is and I shall dust myself off, chin up and move on. After all the deliberating and agonising over the last few weeks about what to write in this column, I’ve inadvertently given myself a topic to talk about. It’s a very, very thin silver lining and I’ll take it.

Not enough hours in the day

Something I’ve been struggling with and thinking about this month is how I am going to do my full time job, writing and turn it into something sustainable. It’s well documented that building up your own business or changing career takes time, years in some cases, and invariably you have to continue to do a full time job on top of working all the other hours and weekends to build a new business up.

Working from home, and with a slightly less hectic role due to changes in business priorities has certainly allowed me to start exploring but since I started looking, connecting with people and talking about projects it has felt all consuming already. I’m only one month in!  I’m trying to snatch time to look at links, articles, respond to people but crucially I need time to think about the areas I want to focus on. I might be missing out on an exciting opportunity but I really need to be honest with myself about what I can take on with a full time job and what I really should be saying yes to. I also spend a lot more time in front of my laptop, a disadvantage of working from home that means I don’t want to look at a screen in the evenings. I want to go outside and have my one hour of exercise, relax or simply just do nothing. But I could miss out on an opportunity, I have FOMO!

Do you ever feel torn? How do you find a balance or do you struggle? I’d love to know.

An Introduction To Queer Art

Hello! So, I thought I would use this first blog post to introduce myself and this column properly before I fill this little bit of the blog with art, poetry, and other gay stuff!
So, first things first, my name is Cerri (Seh-Ree), I am a 22 year old Queer writer, poet, and artist – or at least, I like to think I am!

I graduated July 2019 with a degree in English Literature and Creative Writing from (you guessed it) the University of Brighton! Since then my creativity has consisted of making art and writing poems about everything from #self- love, to gender identity, to politics, to sex, and a bunch of other topics (most of which you can find over on my IG). I like to think my work is quite diverse however, I think it’s also quite easy to see that my identity as a queer person always manages to squeeze its way into all my work in some way. Even managing to wriggle it’s way into this zine when I asked if my column could be all about Queerness in Art. Plus, another – slightly more conceptual – theme that I have found in my work is the use of colour purple in my work (and a lot of other parts of my life!). The course of borderline obsession with purple is hard to pin down, because there are so many things that
have contributed to it! I’ll keep it brief for you and say that the two main causes for this are: my birthstone being Amethyst – I know, I’m one of those people! And the second reason being my gender identity, flickering between masculine one day and femme the next, to me, is best represented for me by equating it to red + blue = purple.

Gender is a personal subject for every body, and for me, thinking about it in this way just helps me process all the feelings that come with it, and has massively influenced how I condense these feelings into my art and poetry.

Although some people may get tired of reading poems and looking at art that all have such similar messages and themes, I feel that (and this may be a little bit of a heavy topic) in today’s world of social and political turmoil, a person being unapologetically themselves in the face of so many trying to stop you from doing exactly that is one of the most powerful forms of political rebellion! And that’s what I – try – to do in my own art and writing!

That idea continues with this column, which I will tell you about now, because I feel like I have told you enough about myself
So! Welcome to Queer Art!

This column will – try to – cover all the aspects of Queerness in art, from the sexy, the sad, the fun, and the political! I’ve got some ideas for where I think I want this column to go, and I hope you’ll enjoy them as much as I think you will!
I’ll be talking about Queer creativity in Quarantine with some of my art to go along with it, and the Act of Queering art itself (I would try and give a brief rundown of what that means but I think that topic needs a whole article to make it clear!) as well as some other interesting Queer topics!
Some pieces may be more personal, some may be a little more ‘think- piecey’, all depending on the topic of the piece! But, more than anything, I want to have fun with it, and for you to have fun reading it!

So, please feel free to leave any comments, either below or by DMing me on IG, letting me know what you liked about a post, or what you’d love to see me talk about next week, or if you want to have a chat about a subject!

Anyway, that’s for reading, I hope you liked it!