The Art Kid Who Hated Art
By Shazana Davis
A high school junior relearns their love of art.
When I was a very young kid I didn’t have many hobbies. I would see my peers around me talking about things they loved to do; dancing, sports, acting, things of that sort. However, I could never relate. The only thing I had going for me was reading, which I considered to be “boring,” even if I enjoyed it. Though, there was one particular hobby I never heard many people talk about: drawing. I’ve always had this odd, excessive urge to be different from my peers. Saying I liked owls because no one ever did, saying my favorite color was green since everyone else always chose blue or pink, and this time, saying I liked to draw because no one else had.
I put my foot in my mouth when I realized it wasn’t as simple as I thought it would be. The first time I drew with purpose, it turned out awful. The feeling of putting a pencil to paper felt like a chore, as if it was something I had to do. I hated to draw, but continued doing it just so I could be different from everyone else. I was eventually known as “the art kid”, but I never felt like I lived up to the title. All through middle school, I continued to hate my art and cursed myself for wanting to be different. I would draw things that I thought people would like, such as “cute” animals and horrible attempts at anime characters. All of it looked terrible. I tried to enjoy drawing, but somehow I just never could. I took breaks more often than I would actually draw.
That was until the end of eighth grade. I was having a tough time mentally, and my mom was in and out of the hospital the whole year. Not to mention, there was a lot of stress about growing up and going to high school. I realized that I was trying to please the people around me too much, and that I should focus on myself. I decided to give art a try again, and found myself still unable to enjoy it. But, I realized that art isn’t something you do to please everyone; it’s something you do to please yourself. So, that’s what I did. I drew things that made me happy. I made characters that were specifically for a story I’m working on to this day. I would draw those characters and characters from other media that I liked. Through this, I learned to love art. Art began to feel less like a chore, and more like a luxury.
All those years I wondered why I wasn’t improving, but I realize now that it’s because I wasn’t putting my heart into it. Something as simple as changing the reason one does something makes a huge difference in their improvement. I’m now able to tie my art into other things that I do. If I ever find myself struggling or feel like I’m not improving, I stop and ask myself: why am I really doing this? I find that reevaluating the reason I’m doing something helps in motivating myself to get better.
I began writing this to submit for the Meredith contest but decided not to submit it. When I first sat down during the Zoom meeting, I thought about all that I’ve realized throughout my life. The very first thing that came to mind was my hate-love relationship with art. This piece started off as a simple draft, and I wasn’t really expecting to go anywhere with it. However, during school I couldn’t stop thinking about it. One day I went home and polished up the piece. After reviewing it with my mentor, I learned something new about editing pieces: the best way to expand upon an idea is to ask questions about it. Because of my mentor’s advice, I found myself doing this with other pieces that I’ve written for school.
Shazana Davis is a junior in high school. They are a member of Justice League, a restorative justice program, Alliance Club and Illustrated Story Telling club. They love drawing, writing and reading. After high school, they hope to become an author that younger kids can look up to and to add some much-needed diverse representation to publishing.