Deep Thought Thursday: Advice to a young artist

Since Monday's Art Marketing Action newsletter was about continuing your education, let's stick with that theme.

What is your best piece of advice (just one thing, please) to a new art school graduate?

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28 thoughts on “Deep Thought Thursday: Advice to a young artist”

  1. It’s not going to happen for you immediately. You might need to waitress, or apprentice, or do some other pay-the-bills job just to support your need to make art. But don’t let that discourage you. Successful artists are persistant artists. Just keep at it and never stop learning and trying new techniques and ideas.

  2. Develop a series. Your work will evolve as you explore the them. Your work will show purpose. You will create a cohesive body of work that is more marketable.

  3. Make Art! This is first and formost. If you don’t have an idea of what to paint yet then your head may have been muddle up by bad teachers. Good teachers help you find what is unique about you. But if you don’t know, don’t worry. Make art about what is important to you. It could be a concept such as love and hate or things like flowers or car tires. Just make art. The very process will help you grow. Additionally, constantly feed your heart and mind on art and life.

  4. Take at least one basic accounting or budgeting course; there are even some specifically for artists and craftspeople. Sounds awful but trust me – having even a basic grasp of your own figures, knowing how to budget your supplies and studio, being able to calculate a gallery commission rate – it will be hugely beneficial in the long run.

  5. See the world. I’m amazed and thankful how some image from some other place and time will pop into my head and influence my art or my attitude or my direction. This doesn’t have to mean backpacking through Europe for a year… start with the trees in the park down the street or the 1960’s lithographs hanging in the living-room-where-time-has-stopped of the neighbors across the street.

  6. Go West you whipper-snapper! Go East. Go South. Go North. Get out of town. See The World, as the poster above wisely suggested. You probably won’t be able to do it as you get older. Today’s bizarre encounter might be your geezer masterwork. Who knows?

  7. Study other artists. Study artists that operate in the city you’d like to show your work in; artists that are where YOU would like to be someday. Check out their CVs. What were they doing their first year out of school? Where were they showing? What stage was their art in at the time? What about their second year out of school? Etc.. It’s an easy way to get a feel for the art community you want to plug into. 🙂

  8. I throw a variation in here: do not worry about making art everyday. Do not worry about always feeling passionate about your art-making. Just follow your own rhythms, and don’t worry about what level of output is “correct”.

  9. This is a very timely question for me, as I just had an interview last night by a young art student. This was how I ended the interview: “Most of all, I get to do what I love to do! I think that’s so important! Do what you love, and everything else will fall into place. As they say, follow your bliss…”

  10. “You have to know when to kill your babies.” I’m not sure if it is truly one of the best pieces of advice I ever got but it sure has stuck with me. It came form the sweetest lady that I ever had the chance to study with Elsa Warnick. She was as much like a mother as an illustration teacher, and what she meant by it was that it is often easier to start over then to try to continue to fix a bad painting.

  11. You can do your art in your spare time, making a living doing something else, but if you wanna make a living as an artist, you have 2 choices: 1) work for somebody else, doing what THEY want you to do (commercial art), or 2) Go into business for yourself. Do your own art, but always remember that you are in business – learn what you have to learn to be successful AS A BUSINESS. Then you can support yourself doing what you love to do. Learn to love every aspect of your business, even if mastering it means hiring a professional to do it for you (accounting, etc.) Just remember that all the “hats” of a business have to be worn, or they will wear YOU! (meaning they will take your attention away from what you love)

  12. Alyson B. Stanfield

    Gosh, these are great. I am going to have to contact each and every one of you and put these into some sort of booklet.

  13. Learn the business side of being an Artist ASAP! Take classes and read anything and everything that covers running a business. And never ever ever STOP making your Art!

  14. listen to everyone if you’re so inclined but take every bit of advice with a grain of salt to see if it applies to you. throw out everything that doesn’t gel with you. don’t bend yourself to anyone else’s rules or experience. follow no one. follow your own inner voice. for everything someone else tells you won’t work….someone else walks right in and does exactly that and gets the job done…. be brave.

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