When an art college challenged me with the prompt:
Taking a risk comes more easily to some than to others, but for most it will be an important part of becoming an artist or designer. Explain a risk you’ve taken in your life that has paid off- exploring something new, confronting a fear or problem, or taking a stand on an issue.
my mind scanned my memory for any teenage risks that resulted in valuable lessons learned, but not many met the needs of this cause. While discussing my college plans with a handful of people, I found myself irritated with the lack of optimism my closest family and friends had for my future as an artist. It was in this moment that my frustration stimulated me to justify our unparalleled expectations.
“Majoring in art is risky... Especially the way the economy looks today. Artists will be in the streets by the time you graduate”.
These words are what I constantly hear from the brother I used to hold so dearly. He is currently majoring in Real Estate in the busiest city of the United States at New York University, now so far away from his family with completely different priorities: money being one of them, family not being another. Choosing a career is one of the biggest decisions that few people have the privilege of making. I know this because as a first generation kid, I’ve been fueled with ambition to push myself forward with all I’ve got. I’m the child who was born with “talent”- the gift of art- yet I’m constantly advised on not taking it too seriously because it won’t give me the stability I need to live a happy life. But when I think of the amount of people who don’t live the American Dream, I get tangled up in my own thoughts. This past summer, I’ve witnessed the back to back tragedies innocent people face while thinking they were living an abundant life. Sunday- a shooting in Orlando, Monday- a backpack bomber in Syria, Tuesday- a suicide bomber in Baghdad, Wednesday- a massacre in Munich, Thursday- a truck plowed over a crowd in Nice, Friday- a shooting in my own city-Dallas. I think of the environments children are born into, not having a choice in matter. These things used to happen solely in third world countries but now, everyone seems to be living at the risk of death. No matter where you come from, how safe your neighborhood is, or how much melanin your skin is pigmented with, you will experience these horrors on some level. I can’t help but wish for a better world, pray for those who persecute us, and hope for a better future, while I continue taking the risks my daily life consists of: meeting new people, bearing in mind they might not like me… sharing my faith in the view of other religions… juggling my IB diploma, prepping for AP exams, volunteering, sports, work, and my art portfolio, hoping it will be worth it in the end. Consequently these risks are where my greatest inspirations have been conceived and they have built me into the confident, open-minded, accepting person I am today. Taking on an artistic career is one more risk I’ll have to take as a young adult as I’m certain it will someday help my community and me grow.
I don’t think I’ve met the people I know and been given the opportunities I have for nothing. I believe God has granted me this talent to do something with it. So, when my best friend asks me if I’ve “considered not majoring in art at all and just doing something else more promising?” Yes, but I’ll take the risk.