Any Dream Killers Around?

Melissa Llarena
Creative Enlightenment
5 min readApr 8, 2021

If every child is an artist as per Picasso then why isn’t every adult still enmeshed in their form preferred of artistry?

It seems that as kids we may have had a direct plug into divine inspiration. Several of us started out thinking we could be painters and then some jerk or a loving person scooped us off our dream cloud. As a mom to three sons, I witnessed such a loving person try to rain on my eldest son’s creative parade when he was just five! Do you know how I handled that moment? I met her cynicism with the same shield a mom would use to protect her child from a physical attack. To me guarding a young artist’s talents and creativity is that important and as such when I visited the New South Wales Gallery in Sydney, Australia several thoughts popped up in my mind.

The main thoughts being: When is someone going to tell them? When will someone tell one of these featured young artists that they should swap their divinely inspired artistry for a more “practical” commercially viable way to express their talents? You know, like creating print ads to sell toilet paper?

So despite seeing this exhibit done by high schoolers displayed amongst priceless works of art at the gallery let’s just wait and see which one of these artists continues to bring life to their artistry ten years from today.

Take Skye’s vision below. Can you see this perspective on how technology is adulterating our minds? I see it and you can read Skye’s thoughts on tech for yourself but I can’t help but hope that Skye continues to be courageous enough to share such open artistic opinions. I hope when Skye hears critics (and there are always naysayers) that Skye stands firm and has a deepened desire to stay an artist.

Credit: Skye Jessett

Skye Jessett — My body of work explores the chaotic and disrupted world we live in and its varying effects on individuals. The constant integration of new technologies and innovations into our lives can be both negative and positive. However, with the use of technology, so much more information is available. Our brains find it difficult to interpret and need a means of escape.

Opinions about climate change, political issues, social structures, natural disasters, pollution and war overload our brain’s capacity to absorb and process information. The way we deal with it differs from person to person.

My broad and colourful use of fluorescent markers as well as fine tip pens, crayons and etching, create commotion and movement. The physical attributes in each work mirror the emotions and thoughts inside.

Then there is Bethany. Her artistry is deep, personal, and a fierce reflection of her creative gifts. It’s honest! How many of us have had to dilute or hide our honest emotions as adults? Am I the only one who has felt embarrassed to tell strangers or some friends about one key member in my family who has a highly stigmatized illness? Not Bethany. Not right now. My hope is that for Bethany even when she is part of those “be more practical” conversations is that she is steadfast in her raw and honest artistry. You can read her artist description and see for yourself how loving and pure her images truly are.

Credit: Bethany Dewhurst

Bethany Dewhurst — My body of work represents the highly personal nature of my relationship with my brother, who has Down Syndrome. Through a series of subtle, multilayered images I explore how we both benefit from our symbiotic relationship. My intent is for the audience to have an emotional response from witnessing intimate moments between us. I incorporate definition associations to illustrate that we cannot exist without the other. The work questions the stereotypes associated with Down Syndrome, revealing a far more complex reality. I reference elements of Magritte’s practice to visually provoke conversations in society around disability.

So when will it happen? When is someone going to tell them to stop, get serious, commercialize, or get a real job?

Then I saw Jaeyoon’s work and for me, I saw incredible irony. He speaks of the trappings of pursuing money as per the description below. I couldn’t help but think that this piece was a bit rebellious. Is it possible that this depiction that money fixes everything is his reaction to being told to get top marks to get a high-paying job? Clearly, I wasn’t a fly on his wall however I wonder if Jaeyoon will hold on to this opinion years from now?

Credit: Jaeyoon Kim

Jaeyoon Kim — My body of work explores the reality of wealth in order to challenge the traditional notion that the wealthy are totally free from the discontents and troubles of this world. This misconception and the worship of money are ubiquitous in the media, which promotes wealth as a solution to all the troubles in life. My work uses dark colours to represent the places where the wealthy sit, trapped in their busy lives, in the discontent and despondency that come from being wealthy. In contrast, the world around them is vibrant and colourful, representing the joyous life they cannot enjoy.

Seeing these three young artists made me wonder. So who will stay their creative course? What’s the difference between those who put away their paintbrushes vs. those who continue to create art? Through the years, I’ve spoken to several creative humans (as a career coach and now as a podcaster) and this is what I’ve noticed.

Those who live their career dreams are not always the best at their craft. Turns out, oftentimes they were simply the most stubborn. They didn't let other people influence their choices. They decided to be unwavering in their pursuits. Alternatively, many even used any negative feedback as the kerosene they needed to overcome the many obstacles experienced in the pursuit of a creative career.

I repeat: The people who make it are not necessarily the best. They do tend to be the most stubborn.

Skye, Bethany, and Jaewoon my hope is that you each continue to be stubborn. Thank you for sharing your vision with us. Meanwhile, my question to you the reader is what will it take for you to be a little stubborn about your own pursuits?

Lover of probing questions,

Melissa Llarena

P.S. Make sure to check out my podcast for when you need an audio jolt of creative inspiration, a dose of courage, or a spark to ignite your curiosities. These episodes are my listeners’ favorites.



Melissa Llarena
Creative Enlightenment

I coach executives on how to dissect & deliver a perfect #jobinterview @TuckSchool Author of №1 #HR interview @Forbes @LinkedIn #mom