The path feels turbulent, but I continue through art


Meghan Kennedy

This is one of my paintings from my AP portfolio last year.

Art has always been the crux of my being. The hastily sketched curvatures of pencil markings and the bold colors spread around the canvas forming murals of my imagination have simply integrated into my inherent characteristics.

As I’ve grown, art has become more staunchly dignified in my whereabouts. It has surpassed my single-digits ages where I’d grab printer paper sheets and draw characters of my mindscape onto them. It has transformed into a current-me, meticulously crafting a work of watercolor for three weeks at a time for the second adjunct of my AP portfolio piece—it even has crossed over into the spot of my supposed fourth. From my canvases dripping in faces and color theory to my still lifes, strictly statuesque and methodical, art is cushioning me and simultaneously smothering me.

Art is the path I am headed down in regards to my career, but I’m not really sure what that entirely encompasses. I have visited countless museums and have toured art schools within colleges, conglomerating a perfect sense of what I feel like I want to do. But in the midst of my second year of taking AP Art, the otherworldly pieces cultivated by my peers and social media prospects make that future seem unreachable, intangible. My insecurities about my own artworks are suffocatingly toxic, but it is difficult for me to stray away from that mindset nonetheless. 

I have officially submitted my very first application and portfolio to my number one college, but the process was afflicting. That distressed, uncertain feeling that reigns over a majority of seniors during that pivotal moment of submission is common, but experiencing that firsthand was something that I had never thoroughly conceptualized. After transferring the JPEGS of my selected artworks to my Slideroom portfolio and providing over-embellished descriptions of each individual piece, I still feel incomplete.

And now, it all seems a little too real; art is not just a hobby anymore but now seemingly a staple of my abilities and value. If one piece I create is not a photocopy comparison of what I had imagined, I lean into that concern of feeling talentless and unworthy. And with the pressure of being accepted into my college of choice, that feeling is ever-present.

From my canvases dripping in faces and color theory to my still lifes, strictly statuesque and methodical, art is cushioning me and simultaneously smothering me.”

But with all of my burdens and uncertainties laid out on the table, I occasionally play with the thought that I am good enough to succeed in artistic realms. Art is subjective, therefore one opinion or grade or comment cannot determine the worth or quality of my art. My art is a form of my own personal self-expression, and I am the only one who can personify that specific, chosen expression of my character. If someone doesn’t agree or like my work, that is more than welcome—I can consider and move past that opinion and continue to flourish in my own ways and remain unencumbered.

In reality, art is simply everything; it’s the view from a bedroom window, the sound of conversations, the message conveyor behind the human experience. Every person on this planet has access to art in whatever way it means to them. It is visible from every angle, every perspective, every standing in life. When I get down on myself for feeling unfit for being an artist, a gentle reminder that art is everything and for everyone floats to the surface. 

Whether I get accepted into my sought colleges or not, it does not define my worth as an artist or person. And while I’m still struggling to keep up in my current art classes, I am not working for the grade or the number—I am reveling in the process all while bolstering my skills and fervor for this art form.

Hands working in swift, arcuate motions have become muscle memory at this point, and the differentiating hues and tones of colors combined on palettes have become the color scheme to my mind and being. I will never stop loving art and will continue with it through the turbulence of uncertainty.