Sunday, December 25, 2011

What was the best advice given to you as an artist? #3

"What was the best advice given to you as an artist?"

All of the responses are taken from the 100+ interviews archived on

"What was the best advice given to you as an artist?"

Laura Brown

In one of my first days of drawing classes at college, my professor, Ken Steinbach said, “everything I’ve gotten in my art career, I’ve gotten from working hard.” Of course, as a little, very nervous college freshman, this was the best news. I was probably doubting my talent at that moment, but I knew I could work hard, so I thought, “that’s what I’ll do then.” It’s been true.

Recently (or not so recently? Maybe last winter?), someone on twitter was referring to criticism with the reaction of “put your head down, get back to work.” That phrase has been really helpful to me as I have been applying to all kinds of opportunities in the last year. I think if you are going to succeed as an artist, you have to have a really thick skin, and you can’t let rejection get to you—because you will get rejected a LOT. But eventually, you’ll start getting accepted for things and build momentum. So, that wasn’t particularly advice, maybe just a phrase I co-opted to apply to my situation. But it helps!


Berry Holz

At SpotArt for a show, Ethan Arnold started talking to me about what paint I use, etc, etc, which led to a session starting with a field trip to Fifth Element to buy All Kinds of spray tips, none of whose existence I even knew about before then. [This is significant not only because of the fact that it happened, but also because spray tips Always Clog Up, and I was down to a very few per paint brand] Then we went & experimented around with all of them in the back (garage) of Intermedia Arts, where he’s working on (exterior & interior) murals.

It was intimidating – I’m a pretty tight worker who likes a certain amount of control over what I’m doing, and now I’m suddenly emptying out a paint can with the fattest-spraying tip you could imagine, without the aid of my pre-planned, sketched-up and cut with-a-fine-edge masks, in front of a painter whose work I really like and who I’d met only once before? That’s not really me, but I can tell you that I felt like a billion dollars after it happened. And even if my paintings aren’t showing it yet in the form of looking very different from how they usually look, it’s easier to get what I want out of the materials I love working with, and that’s really something. And someday they might look different. 


Joe Sinness

Many of my past art instructors and mentors have stressed taking the role of artist very seriously, and so I make sure that everything I make is done with sincerity, that I’m honest with myself as well as others. Drawing still lives, there’s an interest in allegory and 
concealment, but I’m also dedicated to making those lies add up to a truth.

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