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  • Writer's pictureElina Meilarde

Five massive fuck-ups in my early art journey

I wanted to start my first blog post with a significant quote about art... But it was impossible to choose one because they are all true to me. And I believe that every artist will agree, that the importance of art is invaluable. In this blog, I will share the beginning of my journey in the art world and, despite the bunch of f*-ups, the reasons why I have chosen to keep myself here.

I've always been fond of art. Especially fairytale book illustrations. Forest fairies, Disney princesses and other wonderful creatures were my favourite. But it all seriously started with my obsession with fashion illustration, when I was about 14. I was in music school, playing piano, and my best friend was in a ballet school, but we both shared a passion for fashion illustration. I remember that I created a template of a fashion figure with a huge colorful Leonardo di Caprio portrait on the other side (my mom didn't have a clue where all the ink from our color printer went). We were both top students, so, whenever the lesson material was not interesting enough, we created new looks and passed them around the class for our classmates (yeah, boys, too) to evaluate. We dreamed big and I made a huge portfolio folder with all our sketches and brought it to a local modeling school. They promised to take a look, but when I returned to collect it sometime later, nobody knew anything about it. As it had sublimated in thin air... And that was the last time those sketches were seen. (fckup1)

If I have to mention one thing I regret, it's possibly not going to art school (fckup2) or taking up preparation courses in the Art Academy of Latvia (fckup3), when I was 16. Why? I was good enough in other "more important" subjects, so art was never considered a career path for me. But the love of it never died.

I got entangled again with art when I took up Material Technology (more technical title for Fashion Design/Apparel Construction) studies at Riga Technical University. In the summer before enrolling in RTU I went to the study courses in an art school with a private teacher to pass the entrance examination in RTU. My assignment was to draw a Greek capital (architecture detail). At first, I started with some simple figures and compositions, but soon I moved forward with capital drawing. It's pure math! And although I struggled a lot, I made it! I got in!

We also had drawing lessons in RTU, which were quite hardcore for me (OK, what we had to do wasn't half as hardcore as the things architects and students in the Art Academy draw), but I felt excited about every challenge, about every criticism I get. I felt proud of being there and doing what I do. But, unfortunately, the rest of the subjects were too technical for me. And I am BAD at sewing. And combining two universities and a "Devil wears Prada"-like internship with an overly demanding fashion designer was too much. So, I left... (fckup4)

I have no idea where I got the inspiration to do my first artwork on canvas. It just happened. But it was a hobby. A childish game for me. I built dream-castles in my head about becoming a great artist one day but did nothing to make it happen (fckup5). I had tried to make an Instagram account for my art before, but I did not have a vision of my further actions. It was a grey zone. But the lust never died. I got a kick on my butt when my marketing professor in the Academy of Culture asked us to do a digital marketing campaign on something we care about. I care about art. So there were no second thoughts - I had to prepare a digital marketing campaign for myself and my art. I did not have any content, I did not have a logo, a website, an email, and a plan. But a high-school assignment is a strong motivation to keep doing. After a bunch of mental breakdowns and countless cups of chicory coffee - voilà, you can see the result!

I have a lot of plans and expectations about this. And I have finally found the motivation to keep hustlin' and work on my dreams because no one else will. Nothing will happen if you live your dream life only in your head and do not take any actions to make it real. You cannot succeed if you do not fail. At least - a little. P.S. All drawings here are from my time in Riga Technical University.

Maybe you have any advice or comments you would like to share? Let's have a talk in the comment section!


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