In honor of last night’s celebration stream for my 2 year anniversary of streaming on Twitch, I decided I wanted to share a little about what it means to me. I try to express it verbally during my streams, but it’s difficult! I get really emotional.
I’ve touched on a lot of this during the last Twitch Story post, but I’ll try to sum it up here.
Streaming on Twitch has forced me outside of my comfort zone. As someone with severe social anxiety, I never imagined myself doing something like this! However there’s a huge difference between being in the same room with 100 people, and streaming with 100 viewers. During stream, the wall of technology between us provides a buffer, almost like a safety blanket. I’m in complete control, I can step away if needed, and that is hugely important for remaining calm.
Flashback to 2014. The thought of selling my artwork in a gallery or networking in person in order to grow my art business was nearly paralyzing. It was always my far off dream to make a living as an artist. Because of my anxiety, I was barely able to handle my photography business (which heavily relied on social interaction), but it was giving me some financial freedom, which gave me hope of someday having artistic freedom. Again… being a full time artist was a distant daydream.
When I started streaming on Twitch in January 2015, I started out in gaming, because that’s all there was. It was just a fun way to connect with other gamers. Once the Creative community was established, I never looked back. I loved the constantly inspiring, supportive, and diverse community that was growing. Creating artwork in front of people was very nerve-wracking at first. I was terrified of messing up. It took a very long time to realize that messing up is just a natural part of the learning process, and viewers enjoy seeing the truth in process. Every artist goes through it!
A specific example: I started out as an abstract painter, using a palette knife to create active works of color. When I started streaming my artwork, I wanted to paint fanart of video game characters and my favorite scenes from movies or games. I had never tried this before, so before each stream I would try to visualize how the painting should look, and I’d almost puke with nerves when beginning the painting.
After a few months of this, I began becoming more comfortable with my technique, and I learned to trust my vision. I realized, time and again, my mind’s eye was more powerful than I thought, and translating what was in my mind to the canvas was just a matter of practicing technique. Painting on a daily basis led to rapid growth, which meant I could share my vision more easily. I felt like I was fitting 10 years of study into a year (now 2 years).
As my skill progressed I began selling more artwork, and that in addition to the Twitch and Patreon support meant I gained the financial freedom to quit my day job and pursue art full-time.
In retrospect I can see my progression as a person and an artist over the years. I owe so much of my growth to the self discovery that happened while I was pushing myself past outside of my comfort zone. Whether it was simply trying a new painting technique or singing in front of strangers for the first time, when you face your fears, you come out stronger!
Something magical happens when you open yourself up to others in a genuine way. Artwork is so personal, and the creative process sometimes feels sacred. To share that energy with others who feel the same way is such a wonderful experience.
This is a clip from yesterday’s celebration stream, where I attempted to convey some of these feelings:
Again, words are hard.
By sharing this story, it is my hope that my viewers or anyone reading this finds inspiration in my journey, and you learn to believe in yourself. It IS possible to live your dream!