When Did You First Embrace Your Creativity?

There were many commonalities I found among the creatives I interviewed during my 2010 cross-country U.S. trip. One was that my interview subjects all discovered their own creative side at a very early age. Fortunately for them–and for us–they held on to that creativity, and didn’t let the “I can’t” and “I don’t” forces of life turn them away from an art-committed life.

Two years ago I assembled a five-minute film (above) featuring eleven of those artists sharing their earliest memories of when they knew they were an artist. I’d like to ask you the same question. When did YOU know you were an artist?

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About Patrick Ross

I'm the author of Committed: A Memoir of the Artist's Road.

27 Responses to “When Did You First Embrace Your Creativity?”

  1. Hi Patrick! Great question. I always knew in some fashion that art was a part of me, but I didn’t really fully embrace it until I was a young adult and placed in an art competition… it was something about not just hearing it from my heart and seeing other recognize it that made me go, yeah, this is it. This is real.

  2. charlotterainsdixon Reply April 9, 2013 at 10:05 am

    I was just writing about this very thing yesterday! I embraced my creativity at an early age–writing poems and illustrating them, for instance. I grew up writing in my journal and dabbling in various kinds of writing. It took me a lot longer to get the confidence to claim myself as a writer to the world, though, which I think is true for a lot of us. Sometimes, it is an ongoing process.

  3. As an eight year old I would lie on the living room floor creating “cartoon strips”… the ongoing adventures of a pair of bank robbers named Ace and Joe. Well, what were these comics but storyboards? Telling a story in pictures. I became a screenwriter, of course.~ PJ Reece

    • How about that, PJ! I love it. You know, my daughter did some comic strips growing up. As it turns out, I did too, a character named Super Doxen (yes, I spelled dachshund phonetically), a flying dog complete with cape. Pretty awful stuff. I did not become a screenwriter!🙂

    • Of course!

  4. For me, I’ve always thought of myself as an artist, however, the real shock came to me when I noticed in the third grade that other kids around me didn’t think of themselves as artists. From the earliest age, anything I did that was original or different was always encouraged by my parents.

    great question and I enjoyed your video Patrick!

    • Hi David! That’s a really interesting take on the story, realizing that what you thought was inherent to everyone was in fact not. I suspect all of those kids at some point shared your viewpoint, but did not necessarily have the encouragement that your parents gave you. That is so critical.

      Glad you liked the video!

  5. First, love the video! Nice job editing it. I was dubbed “an artist” in kindergarten based on drawing skill. I’m sure I employed creativity with intention prior to that. By 5th grade, I wrote a “book” (bound between sheets of laminated construction paper) — pictures and poems about the seasons. In 8th grade, I wrote a short story that my teacher wanted me to submit for publication. In general, while the rest of the family just sat and watched TV, I had to be making something. I envy those who were encouraged at a young age. Post 18 or 19, it took me awhile to reclaim this part of myself.

    • Thanks, Terri! I actually know a bit of your story thanks to your touching blog, and this fills in some holes nicely. Thank you for sharing it. I hear you on envying those who were encouraged. As I told David above, it is so important. But you know, some of us had that encouragement and still drifted away from it as adults. All that matters is where we are now, and where we want to go.

  6. I had the same experience as David above. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been writing and drawing or taking photographs, playing piano… The surprise came when I learned that not all people did this. I suppose that’s when I began to take it a bit more seriously and not take it for granted.

  7. At a VERY young ago. I used to really be into crafting things – there was a show on our local PBS station called “Art Corner” that I never missed, even before I went to kindergarten. That love of creativity continued until one day I decided I wanted to try and write a story (I still have that story, typed on my mom’s manual typewriter). I didn’t give much thought to being a writer at that age – probably around 8 or 9 – but continued in the creative vein, branching out to drawing and painting and anything else “crafty.” Finally, in sixth grade, I decided to write a novel. Haven’t stopped writing since that day.

    • What a great story, Melissa! You really are one of those artists who started young! And how great that you still have that story. I still have a picture book I made in 2nd grade about a bunny who ran away because he didn’t want to have to grow up to be the Easter Bunny. Now I have stopped writing at times–the conceit of this blog is my return to it–but I’m thrilled for you that you stuck with it!

  8. ‘The conceit of this blog’ ha ha, love that viewpoint, Patrick. ‘Making up stories’ was a game I played with my brother from the age of three. I did notice even then, that he didn’t seem to want to play the game for as long as I did. I did notice I could make up stories and still conjure more. There was nothing that gave me more joy. I still to this day, enjoy the ‘genesis project’ part of writing a book the most, when one gives oneself over body and soul to the imagination🙂

    • Hi Yvette! Glad you love my use of ‘conceit.’ I very much like your use of ‘genesis project’ as it truly is building something from nothing in an otherworldly way.

  9. I recall playing with action figures with a friend when I was in grade school, making up stories together as we played. I was around eight years old then. I have written stories and poems off and on since, as well as a bit of drawing and music. I also did some journals before I started blogging.

  10. Sigh. Some of us do know our Muse but know it’s not the most reliable way to earn some money regularily.

    Part of embracing my creativity was to come forward to the world with my blog. But there’s a whole journey long before that. The blog only highlights certain creative impulses.

    • A blog needs to have a story theme, just like a novel or essay or poem, so you’re on the right track. And yes, it’s probably wise to start your creative writing with a notion of expressing yourself and learning, but there is nothing wrong with trying to be one of those few who supports him or herself (I certainly would like to be that person).

  11. That’s exactly what I wanted to know about my Sabahan musicians! I always asked them how they came across their music, and when did they know that this was the path for them. I love and play music, but I never had the courage to choose the artist’s life. I suppose I wanted to know what they had which I didn’t. Sometimes the musicians said there was no choice, they had never considered a different life. Sometimes the choice was made at the despair of parents and relatives. They have a phrase “Boleh cari makan kah?” which means, “Can find food or not?” I also think this is an issue of options, some people have more options than others. Maybe the options get in the way! One guy on a talent show here in Australia left his advertising job to follow his loves – surfing and playing the guitar. Ten years later he’s on a talent show. To me — it’s such a rocky road and I take my hat off to every person who chooses it.

    • Yes to taking your hat off to them! I believe I did so with every artist I interviewed on my U.S. road trip by telling their story in a five minute video. I wanted to celebrate their bravery and their commitment to living an art-committed life. Thank you for sharing your story and that of the musicians.


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