The artist’s journey can seem like a lonely one, fraught with self-doubt. It involves introspective examination and sharing things that typically would remain hidden. We are discovering our own path and at the same time bearing our souls to the world. It helps when we have a more experienced companion guiding us along the way while imparting knowledge that will be valuable on the path ahead.
I interviewed two established artists to get their take on 10 things an artist should know. It was hard to narrow it down to 10 because there is so much more. But this is a great starting point. Here are 10 things every artist should know:
1. Do not look for anyone else to validate you. If you feel the need for confirmation then you have already lost.
2. Surround yourself with other Creatives who feed your creative spirit (not tell you what you want to hear but will tell you the truth).
3. Surround yourself with peers that are crucially honest with you and be that in return to them. And always keep respect in perspective.
4. Do not listen to the naysayers. Light reflects light and darkness does the same.
5. Trust Yourself
6. Make work that is so personal that it is universal
7. Being present in your journey is absolutely integral to your work. If you are not present, then how can your audience even expect to be?
8. The art you do today has very little to do with what you make in the future. Every creation has its moment
9. Experiment often. Failure is an opportunity to get it right or bend to the will of mastering another medium
10. The world is full of inspiration if you open your eyes and look AND keep an open mind!
“How to survive and prosper as an artist: Selling yourself without selling your soul”
By Caroll Michels
Neil Gaiman’s Harvard Commencement, “Make good art”
Did you notice what is different about this list compared to other lists in the same vain? There is nothing here about artistic technique, materials, submitting to galleries, etc. That is because if you truly desire to live the life of an artist, you will find a way to do these things. However, the practice of being an artist must be fed by being grounded in your purpose, drawing on the strength of your tribe of fellow Creatives and being a perpetual student.