Stephen Yavorski
3 min readJul 2, 2018

Yes, you suck at painting right now. You just started and your intimidated by your teachers’ and/or peer’s skills. Or maybe you’ve been doing this for a while and you just feel like you’re inferior to your fellow artists around you. Sometimes, you even feel like you struggle with rendering the most simple of form.
You look at your fellow contemporaries and say to yourself “Fuck. How am I supposed to do something as good as THAT???” And you discourage yourself and retreat.

Or…. maybe you just are (rightfully) setting the bar for yourself very high? Maybe you are more towards the beginning of your artistic endeavors, compared to the artists you look up to? No one talks about the struggles of their artistic career’s start, so why would you assume anything other than “This artist that I look up to was always a genius. They never made anything that was as ‘primitive’ as what I am making right now. It’s not possible that they had even less of a grasp of how to use a brush as I do at this point.” Why would anyone think that? No one talks about it. No one talks about their failures. Their struggles. Why would they want to? When people look at someone’s work, they think they’re more than just an artist that worked hard. It adds magic. Why would an artist want to not have that magic added to them?

Well, I don’t. I don’t like when someone looks at my work and gets discouraged. I don’t like when someone sees something I did and thinks it’s so… unattainable that they retreat and think they suck… or rather that it’s not “OK” to suck. It is “OK” to suck. It’s good to want to be much better than you are. It is OK to have peers that are ahead of you in skill. DO NOT let this discourage you. Let this inspire you. EVERYONE sucked at one point. EVERYONE. And if someone tells you otherwise, they’re either lying or an idiot.

A painting I did in my first year of art school, circa 2007/2008 *left* along side a painting I completed in 2016 *right* to show that everyone starts somewhere and everyone can be a great artist if they work hard and practice in a good way

I know this is a long post, but I hope it was a *sneakily* uplifting one. The picture I have in this post is a painting I did 10 years ago, during my first year in art college. It’s balls in more ways than one. I made some pretty “embarrassing” artwork that year, and especially in the year or so beforehand, in high-school. I fell in love with painting and drawing, though, and worked my ass off to get where I am today. AND I’m still not satisfied with what I’m producing. I constantly want to get better and make tweaks to “one-up” myself.

Please, if you read this all the way through, and feel that artists should be encouraged, rather than discouraged from things like this, do me a favor and share an old, embarrassing piece from your past. Just spread the gesture and inspire some artists that otherwise would be beating themselves up way too much over what should be nothing. Show our fellow aspiring artists that we all made bad art at one point and there isn’t anything to be ashamed of about it.

Practice makes better. Just have fun.

-Stephen Yavorski