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Behind the intentions of Joel Crowder’s “Naming It Makes It a Thing”

Get to know the student artist behind the comic.

By Wendy Rosales, Staff Writer

Joel Crowder is a comic strip artist and student, who was featured in Valley’s LAUNCH21, a virtual art gallery hosted by the art department. The virtual gallery serves as an online continuation of the college’s annual in-person art exhibitions. (Photo by Jeremy Ruiz / The Valley Star)

Joel Crowder uses art to confront his imposter syndrome in his comic, “Naming It Makes It a Thing,” published in Valley College’s online art gallery.

Crowder is a former U.S. Air Force airman who is currently studying studio art. Crowder shared his struggles with imposter syndrome and gave insight on the battles he faces because of the syndrome in his new comic. Crowder’s imposter syndrome extends throughout his life, even outside of his creative field.

“Throughout the years, whether it was being an artist, creative or sometimes with work, I felt as if my contributions weren’t really worth any recognition or mention,” said Crowder.

Imposter syndrome disproportionately affects high-achieving people who find it difficult to accept their accomplishments. Crowder does not let this define him. Instead, he used his weakness as inspiration for his latest comic “Naming It Makes It a Thing.”

“Dealing with imposter syndrome is, you are your worst critic,” said the Valley student. “You can either let imposter syndrome stop you from becoming the best creative you can be or you can use it to fuel you to be better.”

Crowder portrays what goes on in his head when he starts to experience symptoms of imposter syndrome and uses those emotions to characterize the villain in the comic. The intention of Crowder’s comic is to make people resonate since it is a topic that most creatives do not show.

“I wanted to make a comic that resonates with all creative people,” said Crowder. “Let them know that they are not alone in sometimes feeling like a fraud. Why not be open about this? Why not spark up a conversation that can help other creatives?”

The best advice that Crowder can give to other creatives going through a similar experience is to remember that the work of every artist is different and people should not compare their work to others. His story reminds those who are struggling to remember they are just as worthy as everyone else and can overcome their internal battles.

“The best thing I can tell anyone is if you feel like your work isn’t as good as someone else’s that you admire, they’re not you,” said Crowder. “They don’t think like you, they don’t create like you. Take a minute and meditate without any outside creative influences and then go create something that will make you happy. It doesn’t have to make sense to anyone but you.”

The student illustrator wants people to know that it is okay to have these negative feelings against their work. He plans to continue this conversation about imposter syndrome to help others feel less alone.

“I want people to feel like they are not alone in feeling like an imposter when they shouldn’t,” said Crowder. “True art is mostly a one-person job, but I feel like talking about our weaknesses will make us all stronger artists and creatives. You don’t know who you’re helping by talking about such controversial things.”

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