Creative’s Depression

Having born and raised in a community that stigmatizes artists and have little comprehension to the
art industry causes great frustration which leads to depression. Personally, I have experienced this
in quite a number of times in my life.
In first grade, we had a drawing project. This was the first time I would be critiqued on an artwork by
people besides my family and friends, ever! I happened to do exceptionally well for a 7-year old. I
even got a golden star above all the other subjects which I wasn’t really good at then. From then
onwards this made me believe that I am a good artist. I mean, everyone would say how fantastic my
drawings were. But, that only got me that- complements to feel good about myself. I’d always
wonder where this great skill and talent would get me. I knew none from the circle of people I met
or known to have much insight about being an artist. This created a big resentment to aspiring
further to this gift I have. Especially when family asked what were dreams and you were later
rebuked because of this stigma behind being an artist.
Local artists used to sell their art in the streets and no parent wanted that for their child. “Become a
civil engineer or an architect. You could do whatever you want in life” I was told. Anything besides
being an artist. Even though I was so good with drawing, breaking toys apart and making new
gadgets to fit my mood. I remember my parents stopped buying me new toys to play with because I
would take them apart to replace new parts onto the old ones I had. This created so much anxiety
because this feeling is what I personally knew and felt. Wanting to create for myself. They bought
me books rather, but this urge in me did not stop. I would later trace the books’ fonts on blank paper
because they were much interesting than reading a book without pictures or draw from my mom’s
magazines. I think my greatest escape was figure-drawing my grandmother and her visitors in the
lounge while they were conversing. That gave me great joy. Drawing people and seeing how they
smile and laugh seeing themselves on paper. My 15 years old portfolio is still available somewhere in
my dad’s personal belongings. That makes me happy.
My great depression is this: as a young African child dreaming to be an artist; this dream gets
minusculed to what others see as struggling artists on the streets. Even during high-school days,
those who took art as a major were seen as less intelligent. Even today, having studied Civil
Engineering and now known to be an art student, you get to see how people’s reactions are once
you talk to them. Mostly will belittle the statements you share just because they’d sound creative
and nonsensical to them. I always say that not understanding something or someone only defines
the level of your imagination to comprehend the matter at-hand. Mostly forget that there is no
certain oneness to consciousness. It is only defined uniquely by one’s experiences in life. The
depression of being misunderstood and given a cold shoulder towards your support to achieving
your dreams is toxic. People give up on being what they dreamed to be. This is because of that
stigma attached with becoming something people do not comprehend. Forgetting that the dreamer
is you and the vision of where you would love to be lies within your mind.
People need to embrace their thoughts. Fulfilment is achieved by doing what the mind desires. Do it
unconditionally and unapologetically because that defines you and what better way to define
yourself by your aspirations.

“It’s like you come onto this planet with a crayon box. Now, you may get the 8-pack, you may
get the 16-pack. But it’s all in what you do with the crayons, the colors that you’re given. And
don’t worry about drawing within the lines or coloring outside the lines. I say color outside the
lines. You know what I mean? Color right off the page. Don’t box me in. We’re in motion to the
ocean. We are not landlocked, I’ll tell ya that” – Waking Life [2001]