September 18, 2014 WHEN NOBODY APPRECIATES YOUR TALENT Today’s Ask Nikki question comes from Fatimah, who writes: I’m an awesome artist. Parents, friends, and teachers say I’m really good. But my art never goes to art shows and no one appreciates my talent. It drives me crazy seeing that no one cares. Can you give me advice ASAP?! My Advice: Hi there, fellow artist! I’m so sorry to hear about what you’re going through. I totally get why you want to people to acknowledge your skills. I’d be super bummed if no one noticed I’m the best artist at WCD. But I’m a little confused. You wrote that lots of people tell you that you’re really good. People don’t usually do that when they don’t appreciate your talent! For example, there’s this guy that works at the Subway down the street from me. He likes to brag that he’s “the best sandwich artist in Subway history.” (They really call themselves that!) But I’ve seen Brianna make better sandwiches than him…using her grubby little hands to spread the peanut butter and jelly…after licking them. I NEVER tell him he’s really good, because he’s not! It seems to me that people DO care, and maybe the real problem is that you’re not getting the KIND of recognition you want. Compliments from friends and parents are great, but let’s face it: moms compliment their kids’ artwork all the time, right before they stick it to the fridge with a magnet. It seems like what you want is to be taken seriously as an artist, and I don’t blame you! There’s nothing more exciting than being part of an art show, or winning some kind of prize for your artwork, or even getting paid for it. I think you can ABSOLUTELY do these things if you keep working at your art and try not to get discouraged by what (you think) other people think. The important thing is that YOU know you’re awesome, because if you don’t know, you won’t keep doing your thing when other people don’t act impressed. And some people WON’T be! (They’ll be all like, “Nice drawing, dear. It looks a lot like this stick figure my toddler drew with ketchup on this napkin.”) But it won’t be because you’re not talented. It will be because THEIR EYES aren’t good at seeing it. The important thing to remember is that most people are rooting for you, even if they don’t yet realize you’re kind of a big deal! Keep doing your thing and they WILL know, because talent + hard work + confidence = success waiting to happen! What do you guys think? Do you have any advice for Fatimah?