I remember being in art school and thinking to myself, “I must not be an artist. This is way too painful.”
I worried that if anyone knew what was behind my paintings — how I really felt, they’d disown me; the secrets of how dark and confused my inner world was would be revealed.
Worse yet, I feared that if I spoke my own truth, others would be forced to acknowledge theirs.
For years I vacillated between making art and having a fair amount of success, to falling fallow – thinking that I should quit and do something else altogether. Maybe I’d be happier if I wasn’t making art?
Except that I wasn’t.
I was a total cliché of the starving artist but that didn’t stop me.
It’s not that things weren’t happening. They did. I got a Masters degree, exhibited my work, brought in grants and sold paintings. Most people saw me as confident and well adjusted. The problem was the constant tension I felt between knowing that I was here to do big things and the deep dives I took into darkness and confusion. That, and a deep-seated sense that I was just “too much” for people.
I used to lay awake at night wondering if there was a way to make art and make money — a way to have a big impact in the world but to also live well. I wanted the exquisite live-work space that I always envisioned. I wanted organic food and clothes that felt like me. I wanted to be invited to beautiful places to show my work.
The problem was that I didn’t see examples of the kind of artist that I wanted to be.
I was dazzled by the Abstract Expressionists, in love with the world of Social Practice, enamoured by spirituality and personal development, but didn’t see any place where these three converged.
It wasn’t until years later, face down in a foreign country, when my proverbial shit hit the fan that I decided, “Eff it.The only way that I’m going to be this artist is if I insist, RIGHT NOW, that I already am.”
I could no longer play small.
Back in grad school they taught us that before we could take our art into the world and share our gifts, we had to first find our own authentic voice. And that finding our voice required a head-first dive into the alchemical fire. Only then could we bring our art into community and bring healing to others.
They also admitted that they had no idea how our careers would look because they didn’t exist yet and because every single one of us was creating something unprecedented. Something the world had yet to see the likes of.
Now, eighteen years after this whole journey began, I'm living in the land of my ancestors, making my art, exhibiting internationally, traveling, lecturing, and doing the other thing that completely lights me up:
I help Visual Artists who have shit to say, learn to step up, speak their truth and make art that dazzles the world.
THE OFFICIAL BIO
Jessica Serran is an International Artist and the Leader of the Becoming Artist Movement. As a Visual Artist she uses drawing and painting to touch the forgotten and hidden parts of Self. When not making her own art she helps other Visual Artists who struggle with discovering their Calling to become Leaders of an International Creative Movement through the Power of Community.
Her ability to see the genius in others and give them permission to step into it, combined with a seamless blend of intuition and logic are the force that is ushering more authentic, full-bodied creativity into the world. Lit up by marketing as much as art making, her coaching programs are changing the limiting beliefs and starving artist paradigms that hold so many artists back.
Born in Ontario, Canada, she holds an MA in Transformative Art from John F Kennedy University in Berkeley, CA and a BFA in Illustration from the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, MI. Recently named a Leader of the New Cool in Prague, she has exhibited and published her work in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and across North America; been featured in Art 21, The Prague Post, The San Francisco Chronicle, Detroit MetroTimes, Holistic Fashionista Magazine and was a 2014 Creative Mornings guest speaker on the topic of Color.