Ever feel like you are faking it….trying to be something you’re not?
Well, you are not alone. It’s called “Imposter Syndrome” defined as a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their skills, talents or accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a fraud.
But there is nothing wrong with trying on different hats, especially when you are considering a new challenge in your life.
Ask anyone who has started a business. The first thing they do is order business cards…at a stage when they are just optimistically pretending. When I began sculpting 14 years ago, there was a huge learning curve. I made a lot of crummy art and just enjoyed the creative process. But as I improved, I began to wonder who makes the decision that you are an artist. Without going to art school and having spent my entire adult life in healthcare, this question lingered. When would I be comfortable calling myself an artist?
In medicine it took me 5 years before I was comfortable introducing myself as Dr. Jordan. Last year I completed my first commission and brought to life someone else’s dream. Crossing this threshold made me feel like a real artist. Previously, my subject matter came directly from my own heart. In this case, I was entrusted with somebody else’s heart.
I learned that the secret was to turn this dream into my own dream, research intensively, immerse myself in the subject matter by repeatedly going to Wonders of Wildlife and tuning into the travel channel.
“Family Tree” tells the story of a Hawksbill Sea Turtle who lays her eggs in the sand and returns to the sea. When the eggs hatch on the seashore, the babies race to the water to escape the talons of predators, birds who have been patiently waiting for their feast. See the Discovery Channel to see the babies in their race to survival, cheer them on and hope for the best.
Scientists claim the mother never meets her babies. I find this hard to accept because the birthing process is so miraculous that a mother never doubts her motherhood. (Doubling back to Imposter Syndrome) “Family Tree” reunites mother with her prodigy, as they pile on one another to climb up her fin.
This piece had many challenges. First, how do I express emotion in an animal that has no facial expressions, with an exoskeleton. The Hawksbill species intrinsically has character in her bird-like face. Her upper shell (carapace) is bright and segmented, with rays of gold bursting on each pane (sculte). These are actually fused bones, like our skull. The tower of turtles made from her babies is actually supporting half of the weight of this heavy bronze, or here in heavy clay and wax.
I believe this project made me earn my namesake, “artist.” We each put forth our own hoops, through which we must jump, before we legitimize our new role. Please visit my website for more pictures of “Family Tree.”
Lastly, Frodo does not have a problem with imposter syndrome. He knows he is king-of-the-jungle in my studio.