Saturday, August 21, 2010

one million things to bare in mind

i must admit that as of late i seem to be suffering from a kind of mental paralysis. unlike many, i have no guide, guru, manifesto, or plan i can refer to in times like these. we've all heard more rules of thumb and pearls of wisdom than we can handle, but they are helpful and generally rooted in truth. So I've combed a certain source up and down, made a list and checked it twice. Here is the most relevant bits of information that I've chosen to bare in mind.

Do Not :

Constantly compare yourself to other artists.

Base the success of your entire career on one project.

Stick with what you know.

Undervalue your expertise.

Let money dictate what you do.

Only do work that your family/friends would love.

Set unachievable/overwhelming goals. To be accomplished by tomorrow.

Taken from 'Art & Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking', David Bayles and Ted Orland.

A ceramics teacher, at the beginning of the semester, split the class in two. One half was told they would be graded on the quantity of work: the more a student produced, the higher the grade. The second group would be graded on quality: to get an A, a student only needed to produce one pot, but it had to be perfect.

It turned out that at the end of the semester, the works of highest quality were all produced by the students in the 'quantity' group. That group was constantly learning and improving, while the other group 'sat theorizing about perfection' and did not progress in their actual work.

"I don't believe in total freedom for the artist. Left on his own, free to do anything he likes, the artist ends up doing nothing at all. If there's one thing that's dangerous for an artist, it's precisely this question of total freedom, waiting for inspiration and all the rest of it." -Fellini

An idea on the page is worth 100x more than an idea in the mind. You can only judge and be judged by work that’s executed. Eventually, we all realize that most of the ideas that look great in our mind look dumb once they’re real. But, at least you now know.

Voice is about what you say. It’s content. Style is about what you’re wearing. It’s aesthetics. The prior informs the latter, not the other way around. Clothes don’t make the man. They don’t make your work either.

"The price of being a sheep is boredom. The price of being a wolf is loneliness. Choose one or the other with great care." - Hugh Mcleod

Other One Liners That Made The Cut :

If your biz plan depends on you suddenly being "discovered" by some big shot, your plan will probably fail.

Keep your day job.

If you accept the pain, it cannot hurt you.

Never compare your inside with somebody else's outside.

Sing in your own voice.

Merit can be bought. Passion can't.


painting by christopher duncan

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