I try to be an artist

I was always so hesitant to call myself an “artist.”

I don’t dabble (nor am I good at) the traditional ways you do art — singing, dancing, painting, illustrating, all that. The most “artistic” thing I constantly do would be events hosting, which I guess could be considered as performance art in some way. Besides that, making TikToks is my only other outlet to express myself in a creative manner, and I’m okay with that. We all have our own gifts.

Art is such a subjective thing, and the discussion of what constitutes it and what doesn’t has been going on for eons. I suppose the same can be said about being an artist. When and how can you call yourself one?

In my junior year, I joined my school’s literary and art publication to prove to myself that I had what it took to be part of that realm. I wanted to be able to tell myself that I am an artist among artists, and if I’m not, well, I’m going to learn how to be one. My entry point was the journalistic arm of the org, which was more my speed at the time. For me, all that mattered was that I was there, and that I had opportunities to “earn” calling myself an artist. I covered workshops and talks, and I got to pick up so much terminologies and nuances that were so alien to me prior. I gained insights on how to critique, make and see art. What was so endearing about it all was that aesthetics was never the priority — it was always about what the craft can say and do. More than that, it all focused on what art does for people, even those who don’t or can’t immediately understand it (like me).

Enter “art isn’t supposed to be beautiful, it’s supposed to make you feel something” Tumblr quote. In that sense, as long as we make something that makes ourselves and other people feel something, can we already be considered artists? Have we “earned” that title?

I’ve come to realize that placing being an artist on a pedestal is actually countering what it actually is all about. My ten months in that publication introduced me to the term “ivory tower.” It speaks about how at times, art can only service those who can comprehend it. Art is meant to be perceived and enjoyed by anyone and everyone. I’ve come into terms with that fact that I am part of that population, no matter how much I feel that I don’t “deserve” to be. I may not be able to throw out any thorough or profound insights about a piece when you flash it at me, but I can, and should be able to flesh out original thoughts about it. How I perceive it is affected by my experiences and views, and no one else can root from those. In the same vein, the things I create, no matter how plain or conventional, are distinctly mine. No one can take that away from me, so why should I deprive myself of that?

I love seeing plays and musicals, so much so that I joined a theater org in my senior year. Even if I focused my efforts on doing promotions work, being there taught me so much about creating with a purpose. Though, if ever I had a regret in college, it would be that I never dove into acting in any way. I mean, I was already literally part of an org that has opportunities for its members to do just that! I think hosting is like acting’s cousin, and I sigh a bit that I didn’t get to at least try it out (save for that play I had a supporting role in in my freshman year Literature class). Though, such is life. Who says I can’t give it a shot anytime soon, right? We’ll see. The stage is a comfortable place, and I want to see how much more there is of it to explore.

I’m taking it easy for now. I’m certain that I’m geared towards a commitment to contribute to the entertainment and arts industries somehow. I’m interning at a local show business and lifestyle magazine, and I feel a certain fulfillment whenever I write pieces about films, fashion or any other form of art. It’s broadening my perspective on what art is, and it’s making me realize how splendidly ubiquitous it actually is. I’ve come to acknowledge a dedication to only keep spreading it.

Maybe find a marketing or content creation role in a production company? Maybe write stories for the screen that’ll make people feel all the things they need to? Maybe take the leap and even become the artist in front of the camera? Who knows. All I’m sure of is that I’ll continue trying to make the best art I can (in any form), and that I totally deserve to call myself an artist.



A kid navigating their way through the 20-somethings, trying to document it through words along the way.

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EM ENRIQUEZ (he/she/they)

A kid navigating their way through the 20-somethings, trying to document it through words along the way.