In 2012 (my final year of studying Visual Arts), I hopped on the social media train and uploaded my first image to Instagram. It was something completely bland and unexciting. It went something like:

luke-warm cup of coffee

earlybird filter

gawd-awful border

...I know, please don’t judge me.

I scanned the entire hashtag history of anything to do with art, painting and realism. It was here that I discovered the work of painting wizard and artistic powerhouse, Maria Teicher. 

Maria was in the middle of studying her Masters in Fine Art at the New York Academy of Art. My jaw literally dropped as I scrolled through her feed. I was completely in awe of her ability to capture people with a paintbrush. 

To me, Maria’s skills were out of this WORLD. I had to let her know. So I found her Art Page on Facebook and wrote to her introducing myself, asking her a couple questions on painting and on ways to become an artist.

Like any young person, I was terrified at the thought of writing to someone so good at what they do- the fear of disappointment and rejection close to my thoughts. In that moment I mustered up enough courage to hit ‘Enter’ and send it through- almost forgetting to breathe in the process!

One thing that is SO important to remember is that no matter how recognised someone is for their profession, people are people! Those artists, musicians, designers, doctors, sport stars, all got to the place they’re in because they aspired to walk in the footsteps of someone else before them, put themselves out there, asked a lot of questions, and mustered up enough COURAGE to meet people who could ensure their questions were answered! 

In the end, Maria didn’t just reply to my questions- but wrote a whopper essay in her reply. Maria gave me tools and tips that were practical for my career, but she also gave me more questions that I should be asking myself as an emerging young artist! Her insight was invaluable to me and my progress that year.

So if there’s someone you aspire to be like, break through the fear of intimidation you might have, and write them!  Remember, people are people- and YOU have the COURAGE to step out, be confident, and ask the questions to get to where you want to go!

Rachelle Dusting

Pracitisng Artist