June 24, 2021 | Alyson Stanfield

Overcoming Imposter Syndrome with Christa Forrest

Imposter syndrome is the hairy beast that shows up when we're trying to take that next big step in our lives.

We know what we want to achieve. We know we want more for ourselves. And we know we have to embark on a new adventure in order for that to happen.

Christa Forrest painting of seated woman | on Art Biz Success
Christa Forrest, Imagine How High You Can Fly Goddess. Acrylic and mixed media on canvas, 30 x 24 inches.

There is scary stuff ahead. Stuff we don't know how to do. Stuff that doesn't come with a guarantee of success. This fear is real, and it's trying to keep us safe.

Danger ahead! Watch out!

In her book Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert writes:

Your fear will always be triggered by your creativity, because creativity asks you to enter into realms of uncertain outcome, and fear hates uncertain outcome.

When we allow that fear to be in charge, we give away our power, our hopes, and our dreams. We hear voices whispering …

Who do you think you are?

Most artists have battled these voices, which is why I was happy to discuss imposter syndrome on the Art Biz Podcast with corporate-world-turned-full-time-artist Christa Forrest.

Christa is a big advocate for fake it til you make it, but that doesn't mean that she doesn't have doubts and insecurities. In this episode, you'll hear how Christa developed thick skin by showing her work at art festivals, why she is laser focused on building her email list, and how she overcomes feelings of inadequacy in her art practice.

Music by Wildermiss

Highlights

  • Christa Forrest describes the process of turning women into goddesses, and leaving her corporate job. (2:20)

    artist Christa Forrest and sketchbook | on Art Biz Success
    Christa's sketchbook is where she makes space to journal, write, and explore her creative journey. It is where she works through her imposter syndrome and self doubt.
  • Building an art business while preparing to quit your full-time job. (6:05)
  • Christa shares the income streams that allowed her to focus solely on her art. (10:56)
  • The tipping point—pinpointing your focus and selling your work. (13:23)
  • How to develop the thick skin that is required of serious artists. (17:29)
  • Tips for creating an online presence that makes more money. (21:05)
  • Imposter syndrome—what it means and where it’s most likely to appear in an artist’s world. (24:08)
  • Tools that will help you find the courage to fake it til you make it. (30:05)
  • Is imposter syndrome keeping you from making—and meeting—your goals? (33:42)
  • Overcoming the moment when imposter syndrome takes over. (41:44)
  • The support system that helps Christa stay grounded amidst her weaknesses. (44:14)
  • A look at what is keeping Christa’s attention in the studio now. (45:51)

Quotes

  • “I had to figure out what I have to offer and what problem I have to solve before I started my actual business.” Christa Forrest
  • “It was really important to me at that time to be able to say ‘I’m an artist.’” — Christa Forrest
  • “If I can build my email list, I know I can build my income.” — Christa Forrest
  • “Failure is the only way we get better.” — Alyson Stanfield

About My Guest

artist Christa Forrest | on Art Biz Success

Christa Forrest works in pastel, oil, acrylic and mixed media art. After spending 20 years in a finance career, she decided to follow her true passion and become a full-time artist. Christa spends her time sharing her passion with others, teaching others to be creative and exploring the world's landscape, recreating it on canvas. Her art is a combination of realism, exploration, experimentation, and pure fun.

Follow Christa on Instagram: @christaforrestfineart

Music by Wildermiss

6 comments add a comment
  • Christa! I was so happy to see your face and your gorgeous artwork in my inbox here on Alyson’s podcast. Wow, what an amazing story. I remember meeting you in CT many years back and you were getting ready to quit your day job. This topic is so important too. As another non-art-school artist–there are so many ways to learn how to be an artist…I’m thrilled for you, it’s so inspiring and exciting to see what you’re doing. All the best.

    • Alyson Stanfield

      Yay! So cool that you two have met. Maybe someday I’ll get to meet you both in person–even if separately on different coasts.

  • Angie Stewart

    Christa, I am so proud of you! In the short time of following your journey online I have seen tremendous growth. I am enjoying your videos immensely and always will. It means more to me than you will ever know. This was an amazing interview. I really appreciate your transparency. I was deeply moved by every word you shared.

    As an African American artist I struggled with finding videos demonstrating how to paint black skin. I too am self taught. I started my journey as an artist in 2000 at the age of 47. After a few months I began purchasing tutorial videos. I have spent a lot of money trying to learn how to paint portraits, but I could never find anyone who specializes in painting portraits that looks like me . . . until you came on the scene. Thanks to you I have a better understanding on how to paint black skin. I got tired of always having to modify what instructors were teaching. I have purchased so may videos in the last 21 years I could open up a store.

    So keep doing what you’re doing, keep going where you’re going. As long as you don’t stop, you will make it to where you want to be. ( Angie Stewart )

    • Alyson Stanfield

      Angie: This is so great! Dummy me had no idea this was even an issue. I continue to learn from artists like you and Christa. Thanks for listening.

  • very interesting interview, beautiful woman, gorgeous paintings >> here’s my ‘but’ – don’t advertise this topic as imposter syndrome. Crista Forrest is way too self-assured, and could barely come up with an example. I’d love to hear a conversation with someone who actually does struggle with that. Thanks, though, for describing a wonderful journey.

    • Alyson Stanfield

      Dorrie: That’s what imposter syndrome is all about. It’s a facade of being self-assured, but deep down inside thinking you aren’t deserving. I did not name it for Christa. She named it herself, and I honor her feelings.

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