There have been a couple of magazine articles recently about self doubt and the feeling of being an imposter in your life role. These articles were both in women’s magazines (Elle and Red) and focused on how doubt holds women back from achieving their goals or from reaching the upper echelons in their chosen career.
I think I am not alone in having felt overwhelming doubt as an artist and as a teacher. It is sometimes incredibly difficult to stand in front of others and act as an authority in your field when you feel like nothing more than an amateur. I think I believed that getting my degrees would give my mind a chance to catch up with my expectations. If I am honest, it just increased the pressure. Just like I often still feel like a child in an adult’s body, I also feel like an amateur pretending to be a professional.
I often use amateurness in my work. I am interested in the skills I failed to learn or chose not to develop. I have embraced crafts that I refused to take up as a child and try to apply this lack of knowledge to create interesting forms. My forms retain the detail of craftsmanship but defy the expectations of perfection. I try to imbue them with doubt and memory and chance. Our memories of missed opportunities always seem to live the longest and are intricately connected to particular times and places in our lives.
It is not only in my choice of materials that faking it plays a role. My drawings (created from photographs of a private performative act) often represent the embodying of a role or character that I feel I am unable to be. It is an act of dress up, a gesture of pretend. I am not sure where this pretend ends and real life begins. Am I acting the role of artist or becoming one? Is it all in the title applied to myself by another?