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  • Writer's pictureAllison Stratton

Breadcrumbs to Unlocking My Creative Confidence, Pt 1 of 3

Updated: Dec 19, 2022

Last post I shared my story of a creative scar halting my growth as an artist. Today we'll celebrate overcoming the slump! I'm going to break it down into the 3 most pivotal boosts that lifted me out of the fog. Each of the next posts will be dedicated to one of those moments.

Boost One: Instagram

I know, I know, eye roll. I'm serious though. The early days of Instagram brought me back to the days with my disposable cameras, just playing around with capturing how I see the world. The concise square parameter and gritty filters helped me distance myself from the pressure of creating great work.

Also, Instagram led to Instameets! This was a phenomenon that had its heyday probably 10 or so years ago. One could follow their local Instameet account (the biggest one in the Twin Cities was Minnstameets) and wait for the invite - MEET HERE AT THIS TIME. 40+ Instagrammers met at a landmark in the area with one common goal: take pictures and post them on Insta with a common hashtag.

This taught me so much about art and connected me to a community that created for the sake of creating and sharing, nothing else. The biggest lesson is imposter syndrome in art is so, so unnecessary. I often had a mini freak out when I was one of four people photographing the same thing and worried that I wouldn't create anything unique. Yet looking back at the posts with the hashtag, yes - there were 3-4 photos of the same thing. But no one captured it the exact same as another. We are all coming from difference perspectives, literally (someone may be 6 foot tall to my 5 foot 3!) and figuratively. This is probably my favorite thing about art. Maybe I'll write about it in another post!

The clincher that inched me closer to claiming my right to the title Artist was embarrassingly, yet oh so humanely, recognition. My manager at the time came up to my desk and said something like "ALLISON. Why have you been hiding that you are an awesome photographer?!"


She saw my post of this photo composition I made while anxiously steadying myself on the top diving board at a new gymnasium complex we were touring at an Instameet. I squared my lens on what was directly below me: a patchwork of color and texture - water, tile, diving board, deck. Said manager exclaimed, "This is so badass, I would put this on my wall." When I came down from the dopamine rush, I looked back at my portfolio of Insta work and realized, this layering of 90-degree angle shapes and textures had become my signature style! Until that day, the idea of creating a collection eluded me as something THEY could do, but not ME.

Stay tuned for Part Two...


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