Not Stella, But I Intend On Gettin’ My Groove Back

A Personal Experiment on Medium

Photo by Anna Kolosyuk on Unsplash

Sometimes, it can be difficult to be a multifaceted person in a world/ culture/society that expects you to be good at one thing. Furthermore, expects you to pick — one label, job title, career — one thing and stay in that lane. I am more than one thing. I am an artist. I am a writer. I am an entrepreneur with three non-art or writing-related businesses. I am a children’s book author and illustrator. I am sometimes, a clothing designer. It is the labeling that can get tricky.

I often dread when people ask, “What do you do?” I struggle to reply. It might be easier if they’d ask: “What don’t you do?” Nevertheless, that doesn’t stop me from pursuing all of these wonderful gifts. It has, however, impacted the way I approach my work — my practices. These identities exist concurrently but never in a cohesive or integrated way.

I detailed the issue in a piece I wrote on my other Medium account, Melissa A. Matthews, wherein I said this:

The conundrum that exists for me is that conventional wisdom teaches us that art and artists are born out of a mythical sort of inspiration that presents itself at whim. For many years, I let myself believe that this was true. I think because it absolved me of responsibility for maintaining my art practice.

Practice, practice, practice…

The one thing I have learned over my fifteen years as a professional mixed media artist and painter is that art is practice. Like any other worthwhile undertaking, it requires dedicated time and effort. This fact in conjunction with the conventional idea that it is impossible to draw pure inspiration and creative energy for two separate disciplines — simultaneously — from the same well has held me back. I have allowed myself to write more and draw less. I have given myself a pass but there is a toll taken when one neglects a gift.

I have found myself missing the spark — satisfaction — I get from creating with my hands. Thus, I have challenged myself to write my way back to my art practice.

Writing a wrong

Here, I will document my journey through daily drawings, collages, and musings. I’ll also look back/ chronicle the art and artists that inspired, spurred, and/or encouraged me on my journey to get a BFA in art all those years ago. I’ll look forward to what the next fifteen years of art will look like for me.

Mostly, though, I am going to play…

Big fun

Join me as I find some of the big fun and the art that has eluded my grasp until now.

@Diary of An Extra Black Art Chick is an experiment by Melissa A. Matthews to write her way back to her art practice. Follow this account to follow that journey and follow her other account to see what else she’s into.



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Diary of An Extra Black Art Chick

Artist and writer, chronicling the Black art and artists that made me love art as a way to find my way back to it.