Obviously, I was a fountain of ideas, but when I had to do something that required technical skills, I always seemed to fail miserably. When I was in eighth grade, my teacher had us recreate a picture of a tiger by drawing it square by square. It was a super simple assignment, right? I thought I understood it. But at some point, I got really off track and ended up creating a tiger that looked more abstract than intended. In AP Art 4 when my teacher asked us to paint a still life of a pyramid of toilet-paper rolls, my final painting was hilariously bad.
When my classmates and I went to Mississippi State to show the art department staff our portfolios, I vividly remember one of them telling me that my portfolio was fine, but it didn't have a direction. It was disheartening to hear that, and I think that was what finally made me decide against studying art in college. Things turned out for the best, of course.
Had I focused on art in college, my life would probably be quite different, and I wouldn't be typing this editor's note. But over the last few months, I've discovered that art isn't just about the technical. I've met plenty of people, who, like, have no technical skill, but they're good at something, and they have a creative voice.
The fact that you can literally be any kind of artist you want is what makes art great. There are artists out there who are ridiculously good at creating photo-like paintings of still-lifes. One of my favorite artists, Alexa Meade, takes the three-dimensional world and turns it into beautiful paintings by literally painting on people, furniture, animals, whatever is in her setup at that moment, and then photographing them. Half the time, you can't even tell that it's real life until you see her behind-the-scenes process. But I also follow artists who work in the abstract-, and who are amazing at creating ethereal pieces.
Jackson is a hodgepodge of people from all walks of life, and our arts scene reflects that. There isn't one single movement of people doing the exact same type of art. Some of us may have similar styles or use similar mediums, but we all approach it in slightly different ways.
Over the last few years at BOOM Jackson, I've met so many different kinds of artists—ones who are incredible at difficult mediums such as watercolors like Wyatt Waters; abstract artists who use beautiful colors and shapes like Elizabeth Fowler; artists like Jonathan Faulkner, whose quirky drawings evoke depths of the subconscious; artists like Scott Allen, who painted the "Welcome to Jackson" mural that's on this cover of BOOM Jackson; artists like Kira Cummings and Ginger Williams-Cook, who tackle pop culture and social commentary in fun and interesting ways; and so many more. What makes Jackson great is the fact that we can all be different, but we're all different together.
Managing Editor Amber Helsel is a Gemini, feminist, writer, artist and otaku. She loves her cat, eating, hoarding craft supplies and more. Email story ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.