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Melissa Ng

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February 10, 2014

Believing in yourself when you feel like a fraud. . .plus a special event announcement

February 10, 2014 | By | 30 Comments

Ever feel like you don’t belong or wonder if you’re worthy of attention?

Have you questioned whether you deserved or have the right to do what you’re doing?

Perhaps you’ve doubted the reality of when good things actually happen to you?

Or do you ever simply feel like a fraud?

It’s no secret that feeling like a fraud, fake, loser, etc. has always been a problem of mine. In some ways, I’ve overcome these anxieties but they always strike in new forms.

A while ago, I wrote about my struggle with believing in myself as an artist and as an entrepreneur. I always wonder why I can’t just believe.

I mean, I survived building a business, built this pretty decent blog along the way, brought art back into my life, and even got to experience my work in a gallery. I always carry out my ambitions and seek new levels even if I’m not entirely certain about my path.

In fact, four months ago (October 2013), I got tired of selling my illustrations in the form of posters, pillows, and the occasional iphone/ipad decal. So, I decided to learn 3D modeling and and pursue 3D printed art.

Dreamer Mask: Illumination

My first official 3D model and print. Dreamer Mask: Illumination render.

 

I immediately fell deeply in love with 3D modeling and printing. The learning curve was steep, I crashed my computer more times than I can remember, I occasionally forgot to go to sleep, and I mostly stumbled around blindly.

And I loved every second of it. I knew this was my art’s next evolutionary step, which brings me to…

THE AWESOME NEWS: I’ve been selected to showcase alongside some amazing 3D artists in the prestigious Adobe & Shapeways artist exhibition in the 3D Printshow in NYC from February 12-15 (more details below).

And you know what my first thought was when I was emailed about this news?

They must have made a mistake. Maybe this email was supposed to go to someone else. Maybe they’re pitying me.

So, what did I do? Instead of joyfully replying back, I actually waited for this imaginary email that would inform me of their careless error. I waited for nearly three hours…but no amendment email came.

Talk about a serious case of impostor syndrome

Even worse, I looked up all the other exhibition artists and found architects, designers, sculptors, senior modeler…10 years experience, 20 years experience…fine arts and architecture degrees here and there… My insecurity increasingly chiseled away my confidence.

They’re the real artists. They’re the pros. I don’t belong there. They’ll see me as a joke. A wannabe.

Maybe you think I’m ridiculous. Or perhaps you’ve felt this way too—the constant inadequacy and feeling like you’re entering territory you don’t belong in. As if at any moment, someone’s going to discover you in all your shameful ineptitude.

I’ve never done anything remotely related to 3D modeling until four months ago and I don’t have a fine arts degree (or MBA), and I don’t have years or decades of experience in any industry.

Nightmare Mask: Fear

3D printed. Nightmare Mask: Fear

 

All I had/have is the desire to pursue something because I want to. Because I’m hungry to explore something amazing and new.

And that’s when it hit me. I’m not drawing and 3D modeling to seek fame and accolades or whatever. I draw and 3D model because I think it’s fucking awesome and I can’t get enough of it. My work electrifies me when I’m truly focused on myself (and not comparing myself to others).

A good friend and mentor once told me (and I’m paraphrasing):

“Everyone lives in their own movie. Some people spend their whole lives trying to star in someone else’s film or role. It’s up to you to wake up and decide if you want to star in your own.”

I’m choosing to play my part in my own movie. I have every right to call myself an artist, blogger, entrepreneur. This is my journey.

I have every right to be here, to pursue what I want in my own way.

What do you think? I know it’s always easier said than done but perhaps these thoughts can help:

Pay attention to when you’re feeling like a fraud or coming under your own fire and acknowledge it.

Recognize your own successes (journaling about it seriously helps me lots).

Occasionally reflect on what you’ve already achieved instead of constantly focusing on what you haven’t accomplished.

When your negative self-talk becomes unmanageable, talk to someone you trust and who can offer more than just showerings of empty praise.

Your fears and insecurities are your feelings, not necessarily your reality.

Feeling insecure doesn’t make you weak, it makes you human.

You’re not the only one who feels this way.

You are who you choose to be.

And if none of the above helps even a little, try this one out:

“Accept that everyone everywhere—no matter how successful—experiences the self-doubt that underlies impostor syndrome. It is part and parcel of becoming accomplished and successful. There is nothing unusual or wrong about feeling these things. Leave no cognitive space for them to grow, and regain control of your life and your future.” — Denise Cummins, Ph.D.

Dreamer Mask: Illumination

3D printed. Dreamer Mask: Illumination 3D printed.

 

AND if you’re in NYC and love 3D printing, art, tech and fashion, come check out the NYC 3D Printshow, February 12-15.

Maybe we’ll bump into each other 🙂 Here are the details:

WHERE: Metropolitan Pavilion
125 West 18th Street New York, NY 10011
WHEN: February 12-15, 2014. See timetable.
TICKETS: Click here.
DESCRIPTION: 3D Printshow New York will be our most exciting show to date; a combined business, arts, design, education and consumer event with cutting-edge technology, world exclusive features and some of the sharpest minds in the world of future-tech.

Our NYC show will include some of the most incredible new content that we’ve found around the globe, combined with incredible new exclusives created specifically for our US audience.

Your turn. Have you ever suffered from impostor syndrome? What do you think of the new Lumecluster 3D printed art? 🙂

<3 Melissa

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Comments

  1. Emily

    Congratulations, Melissa!!! This is wonderful. (And it was also wonderful to see a message from you in my inbox, again.) Keep it up, on all accounts! Your talents and compassion are inspiring.

    • Thank you, Emily! I really appreciate it! After a few months of immersing myself in 3D modeling, I’m slowly re-adjusting my brain for blogging again, hehe 🙂

  2. Patricia

    One look at your work and I see why you part of this show. Congratulations! A beautiful obsession indeed. Patricia

    • Patricia, is it silly for me to say that your comment made me tear up a little bit? :’) Really appreciate your kind words <3

  3. Congrats on getting into the show and thank you for sharing your open and honest thoughts about the impostor syndrome. It’s something we all deal with, but think no one else feels.

    Thanks for reminding us that we’re all in this together.
    😉

    Have a great show! (Your work is beautiful, btw).

    • Thank you, Jamie 🙂 I didn’t realize I was suffering from impostor syndrome until my lovely sister pointed out my mini anxiety attack. It’s great to know that I can share my thoughts with you. Let’s keep fighting the good fight! <3

  4. This is a great post. The imposter syndrome has been something I’ve worked with my whole life. As I step up and play a bigger game in my business I find it’s still there just as strong. Thanks for this wonderful reminder that I don’t need to like to the voice that tells me I’m a fraud and than I can tap into and create a whole new story based on the fact of how awesome I am and how much value I have to offer 🙂

    • I’m glad it resonated with you. I’m sure the impostor syndrome will remain with us for the remainder of our life, but hopefully it doesn’t have to be as painful if we learn to recognize when we’re being unfair to ourselves <3 Best wishes, Tabi(tha)!

  5. Evie

    Congratulations Melissa! These are amazing! I love the way your 2D patterns and lines translated across into 3D form. So exciting. I hope the exhibition’s going well – it’d be great to see photos – given I’m so far away from NY : ) Did you ever see the making of the stop motion Paranorman – there was some incredible 3D printing in that, for the characters faces. So many possibilities! Keep having fun exploring this new found medium!

    • Thank Evie! No, I never saw the making of Paranorman (or the movie itself)…but now I will! I had no idea there was 3D printing involved! Thanks for the tip 😉 Can’t wait to share the next steps 😀

  6. Great work. I am amazed by all the deltas you managed to capture.

  7. I loved this post Melissa! Thank you for your open honesty! I think we all often feel like this as artists. Loving your 3D work! (also loved your 2D!) 🙂 Will share this post with my people…

    • Thank you, Nicola, for your kind and comforting words <3 artists unite!

  8. Carlos

    Thank you for your openness and honesty on impractical self judgement.

    Your examples reflected moments in my life when I was more valuable than I gave myself credit for. It’s easy to look at others position in life without seeing their journey. Also, without seeing the journey can be taken by anyone that sets toward that path.

    All of your artwork is breathtaking and moving. You might have just started in 3D printing but the years of devotion express themselves effortlessly in your projects. I hope you continue to grace us with your art.

    Accept the praise, you deserve it…

    • Carlos, thank you for your gracious and thoughtful comments. I’m grateful for the encouragement and appreciate knowing that what I’m doing can inspire a little in some way 🙂 See you around and hope to learn more about your work as well! 😀

  9. thank you for your honesty 🙂 What an incredible read…
    <3.
    M.

  10. JN

    hi melissa ur article and words are helpful
    thankyou💪🏻

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