“It all started with creating a Twitter account and wanting to stand out with my own unique cover photo. I downloaded a free imaging software and experimented with every single feature and option. Truth be told, most of the first images I created were messy, but eventually I started to learn what works and how to do it. I discovered that I could take any photo or graphic, manipulate it, and create something completely new. A couple months later, I had an entire collection stored on my desktop, and I decided it was time I show my friends this new hobby I had developed. I created an online portfolio, linked it on an Instagram post featuring some of my favorite pieces, and encouraged people to check it out. The day after I published it, my friend told me I should create an entire Instagram account featuring new work, and I did. A week later, I was contacted by a friend’s mom, and she offered to pay $100 for a logo. I accepted the offer, and with that money I managed to buy a professional imaging software. Once again, I had to go through the aforementioned process. I learned every single feature and tool, experimented to see what works and how, and continued to publish new artwork. That same year I became Editor-in-Chief of my high school’s yearbook, and the sole designer of my high school’s newspaper. Before this hobby I had not actively participated in a single extracurricular, and I was a senior. I decided I wanted to take on a more complex challenge, a visual media that moved and could be heard. I applied to university aspiring to be a film major, and I got accepted to every university that I was able to submit my portfolio to. Not only did I make narrative films and documentaries with other freshmen during my first year in film school, but I ambitiously created a podcast with a friend I had met only a month before. For all these projects it was the same process of learning, experimenting, and publishing. Moving forward I also want to make music, since I now have a familiarity with audio production. Back in high school, I always imagined how cool it would be, but never did I actually attempt it. Now that I have developed skills in other artistic mediums, learning an entirely new one doesn’t intimidate me like it used to. What was once a simple hobby with a temporary motivation ended up leading me to my long-term career path, and I am continuing to broaden my skillset through it.Titus Oldham, Student at Temple University
Share your journey and why this is important to you
Imagination can only take you halfway. In order to follow through with any artistic process, you must actually create. I used to live a life filled to the brim with “what if” and “wouldn’t it be nice.” I would complain about never having the opportunities or resources, all the while sitting around on my computer exploring the vast world wide web. If only I could go back and tell that earlier iteration of myself, “Look in front of you, that is the only tool you need!” We live in an era of digital convergence, meaning resources for any media project are at our fingertips. We just have to commit ourselves to learning and practicing. Even better, we can create our own opportunities and our own resources.
How would you like to inspire others?
If you want to make space in your life for art, it is very easy to get started. Look around for inspiration, it is everywhere. When I started out, I primarily was inspired by song lyrics and structured my art around them. Once you find something that inspires you, figure out what type of media you want to create. Whether it be visual, audial, or written, there are a variety of resources to assist you. You don’t have to spend money to get started. I certainly didn’t. By the time I spent a single cent on professional software, I was already profiting off of commissions. Be open-minded and experimental, and before you know it, you’ll be a master of any resource you spend time and energy on. It may all look very intimidating from an outside perspective, but once you get started you’ll realize just how accessible creating art is. For every project it is a rinse and repeat cycle, and with practice it ends up being second nature. Embrace the failures, as it is through failure that you learn how to succeed. If you want to make space in your life for anything other than art, I guarantee you that it is probably just as simple as well. Take chances and you’ll be surprised at the doors that open up because of them.
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