I am an artist. It sounds so grandiose to say, but it’s true. I’m sort of the cliché type: emotional, sensitive, maybe a little difficult to get along with... skills not exactly ideal for the real world.
Luckily for me, I haven’t had to live too much in that “Real World.” Though still a struggling artist indeed, I have managed to make a living as one for several years now. My father always said you can be an artist if you’re willing to be poor, and I have definitely had PLENTY of those days – and still, it is always worth it.
As a child, I loved to draw. My mom claims that I could stand and paint for 45-minutes straight as a 15-month old baby. I’m not so sure, but she swears by it. At three, I can attest that I drew non-stop, going through reams of paper, filling them with my then fascination—sharks.
As words entered my world, I fell in love with reading and writing. I competed in poetry contests at nine years old, At eleven, I wrote a full- 169-page murder mystery novel, The Smell of Murder was the name, which still makes me giggle. Words led to more words, which ultimately led me to talking (too much, said my teachers), which changed my direction from the silent internal world of painting and writing, to the extroverted world of performing. And perform I did! I performed in musicals, in my mom’s “band,” and later alongside artists’ like Kanye West and Maceo Parker.
As I grew as a performer, I learned to emote, to ride and feed off the energy of a crowd. I realized that the real world I tried so hard to avoid, I actually needed, and that this so-called Real World didn’t reward generalists? (do you mean like a jack of all trades master at none?) like myself. I realized, with a sinking heart, that I may be good at many things, but I wasn’t great at one thing (or maybe the mere admittance of greatness guarantees mediocrity). Either way, I still yearned to be great – even if it was my own version of greatness, which usually meant just getting out of my own way.
Art has been my teacher. It has humbled me, taught me self-discipline, and forced me to take care of my body and my mind, as your problems in life are your problems in art. In pursuit of specializing, I have taught myself the basics in recording, engineering, mixing and mastering music, graphic design and video editing, HTML and web design, and even promotion and marketing.
Ironically, as the music industry collapsed, artists’ were forced to wear more and more hats, and my jack of all trade ways started to become an asset. Now, in full circle fashion, as art will often lead you, I find myself back to being the skinny scraggily-haired girl I once was. One that wants nothing more than to sit and draw, hoping the Real World gets me, but grateful for the refuge of my inner world, content to know that no matter the level of success, I will always be an artist and no one can take that from me.
Lara Karuna is a singer/songwriter living in Los Angeles. She has written with such heavy-weight producers as: DJ Khalil (Dr. Dre, P!nk Eminem), 1500 or Nothin’ (Cee lo, Jay- Z, Rihanna) and J.U.S.T.I.C.E league (Drake, Lil Wayne). She has performed with Kanye West, and opened for Ben Harper and De La Soul, and has toured through Asia and the Middle East. Currently she is the lead singer for the Classic Rock Burlesque Show CORSET. www.CorsetMusic.com