Artists pursue their craft despite struggles

Pottery lines the shelves of the ceramics studio – Cole Peterson

Art is a passion that many share. For some, it’s a way to get away, to find peace of mind. For aspiring art students, the choice to pursue the dream of becoming a professional artist can be difficult.

Windward Community College offers various art courses in ceramics, drawing, painting, woodcarving, sculpting and more. WCC art students and instructors shared their thoughts on some of the struggles that artists face today.

“Inspiration–sometimes it can be very fleeting and the sketchpad or the clay will be right in front of you, and you just can’t do a thing with it,” said Tony Davis, a liberal arts major. “I’ve always been an artist. Even in class, during a session or free time, I’ve always been sketching. It helps me to concentrate.”

“Quite honestly, I’d like to say this is the struggles of life, the struggle to hold strong and nurture our vision,” said Emsey Takahashi, an art major. “The struggle of the artist is just to love yourself despite daily opposition and to express yourself through different mediums. And to just water it; water and love your true original magic.”

When asked what inspires him to become an artist, second-year student Ben Stevens said: “It’s just the expression, building to express yourself. Also you can create whatever you want. That’s pretty inspiring to me.”

His biggest struggle as an artist?

“I think overthinking it; you want it to be a certain way, but art doesn’t have to be a certain way.” He added that he overcomes this by “going with it but also being critical” but “not as critical, because it’s art.”

Ceramics professor Paul Nash offered this advice to students.

Ceramic sculptures are just many of the projects that students create in art courses – Nate Runion

“Just be true to yourself,” he said. “You’re going to be poor, you’re going to have to find a balance.”

Nash said he pulls inspiration through his spirituality. Pointing to past periods of depression and low self-esteem, Nash said he overcame these obstacles using art as a form of meditation. He received his master’s of arts in teaching degree from the Rhode Island School of Design where he noted that not everyone appreciated his art.

But he was told, “If you’re really going to be a fine artist, you have to find a part-time job.”

WCC arts instructor and alumnus Bryce Myers said his source of inspiration is “always some kind of gut response to something that happens around me or that I see. A lot of times, growing up, I sort of found myself face-to-face with the Hawaiian landscape, things popping up through the ground.”

Myers said the environment plays a big part in his artwork.

His advice to the struggling artist: “Stick to it, first of all. Just do it and keep doing it. Don’t turn away from any classes or experiences.”

He added, “Your deeper work comes from understanding our world and our place in it.”


by Cole Peterson and Nate Runion, Special to Ka ‘Ohana