Tia Sunshine Dye is an artist living in Ann Arbor, MI. This is her third installment in a 4-part series as Artist Strong’s Artist in Residence. You see the art as she creates on Instagram @tia.sunshine.studio. Visit her website and subscribe to monthly, quarterly, or annual Studio Updates at www.tiasunshine.art

This month I am encouraging you to Practice Giving Yourself Permission, and we are looking at my artistic confidence.

In my first post, I mentioned one goal of my residency would be finding my focus. In my second post, I mentioned being a self-taught artist means doing and learning ALL the things. This means that at some point, I have to let go of some of the things to focus on the right things for me.

But, who am I to call myself an artist? Not only am I having to manage imposter syndrome just like everyone else, but if I want to belong to this group called Artists, who am I to do things my own way?

It sounds ridiculous when I write it out, right? I mean, of course, artists do things their own way. But that doesn’t change the fact that a dichotomy exists between the desire to be part of something and the passion to do my own thing while the whole time wondering if I am qualified for either.

Take a minute with me and think about it.
My big question is, and has always been, “How can I be part of that?” And that isn’t just art, that is life.
Usually, this means giving myself permission to be uncomfortable.
And, right now it means I am creating something new and inviting others to be part of it. 

Your big question might not be the same as mine, but I guess it is just as big and it influences your art life just as much.

This is practicing giving myself permission. I’m reimagining what I want my artistic life to be, on my terms. I’m building my confidence one uncomfortable step at a time. 

Exploring my One Big Question came from a branding masterclass with Kaye Putnam.

6 different sketches. Different subjects, media and style by Tia Sunshine

Exploring a variety of media, styles, and subject is just what happens when I sit down and follow what inspires me.


Every month, 1-3 artists show up in our Artist Strong community to share their artistic process, journey, explorations with us over the course of a month.

The goal is to normalize the MANY, VARIED experiences of being an artist.

And if YOU  want to apply to be an Artist Strong Artist Resident, subscribe to our weekly updates to hear about the next time applications are open.