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Meet Rebecca Northup

Today we’d like to introduce you to Rebecca Northup.

Hi Rebecca, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstory with our readers?
I have been writing and making art for as long as I can remember. My mom still finds short stories or unfinished art pieces around the house from when I could barely spell. I didn’t decide to pursue the arts until I was in high school, though. I hadn’t even considered the possibility of pursuing a creative career. I actually wanted to be a scientist for most of my life. My best friend Paige pulled me aside one day and said “you hate science, but you’re one of the most creatively driven friends I have. Why don’t you be a writer?” I decided then. I wanted to pursue the arts. I haven’t looked back since.

When I was 17, after years and years of writing late-night poetry in my phone’s notes app, I realized I could do something with it. I played around with compiling my poems and realized I had a full book’s worth! I got really excited at the prospect of self-publishing. Some of my favorite writers had launched their careers doing so. I vividly remember telling my parents “I think I am going to publish a book.” Their shocked faces told me that I had neglected to tell them I had written that much, but they were fully supportive of the idea. And so, with the help of Amazon’s self-publishing services, I ordered a proof of my book with the last of my summer job money. It was titled “He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not.” It wasn’t necessarily good poetry, but I was (and still am) proud of myself for having followed through with my plan.

Since then, I have published three more of those books, and I like to think I have gotten a little better at writing since my first high school compilation.

Currently, I am studying Literature and Visual Art at the University of California, Santa Cruz (online, of course). I’ve worked hard to develop a portfolio of work, both writing and art, that I am proud of, one that speaks to the artist that was writing alone in her room as a teenager. I have been working as an editor at an online publication and trying to kickstart my life as a creative when I am post-graduation.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I don’t think it has necessarily been a smooth ride. I have questioned myself as an artist. Even now, graduating soon, I have not fully “come into myself” as either a poet or a visual artist. I am still experimenting with different styles, mediums, and practices. I think every artist feels that way to a certain degree. Evolving and changing is a constant in my creative practice.

Finding my art style, or aesthetic, also hasn’t been a smooth ride. Only recently have I grown comfortable with certain mediums over others. I am proud of myself for my personal growth, but I also cannot deny I have more growing to do. Also, as most things in life, Covid hasn’t helped. As an art student, studio time is really important in both collaboration as well as having a space to create. I lost that when Covid happened. I also lost my father at the beginning of 2020, and grief stunted my art for a while. I am finally finding my voice as a poet again, and I am looking to self-publish again soon.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
As both a poet and an artist, I definitely like to involve the two. I have made several art pieces that include my own poetry or are inspired by poems that I write. I think what makes me unique as an artist is that I am someone who likes to experiment with blending my two media.

Artists tend to have their own personal flair to their work, but as a student, I feel that I am still learning and growing. I have a lot of self-discovery to do creatively, but that only motivates me to experiment more. I feel a certain pressure within the art world to create pieces that mingle and speak to one another. I wouldn’t say that that is what I have done, though (at least not yet). I want to keep discovering who I am and what I love. For example, I could make three different pieces and I don’t know if anyone would be able to tell they were made by the same artist. I change things up a lot. I have been experimenting lately with character design and digital art creation, but tomorrow I could make an oil painting or a sculpture.

If anything, I would like younger artists to feel comfortable with experimenting and evolving. Just because something doesn’t work for now, it may work later on. I had a hard time learning this, and I still have to remind myself sometimes.

Is there a quality that you most attribute to your success?
I think patience is most important in growing and learning as an artist. I have had to be patient in learning who I am creatively. I also have to be patient with my past work as I evolve as an artist. I have to be patient with things I was once interested in and respect my own growth.

I also have to be patient with myself. I am not going to wake up and be a successful artist or writer. I have to put in the work and be patient as I am building up my portfolio. Having grown up in the Valley, I have a lot of connections with people who seem to have built a platform for themselves overnight. I know that this isn’t the reality, but I know that I will achieve the success that I want if I have the patience to get there.

It is funny that I include patience as the quality that I view as the most important because anyone who knows me in real life knows I am extremely impatient. I like things to happen very quickly, but I know professionally that patience is something I need to strive for myself. I think it will prove helpful.

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Rebecca Northup

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