Since the casting call would bring so many people to this new art space, we were asked to have our studios open. I complied. And spent the day bursting dreams.
Well, I probably didn't, but that's what it felt like.
First, let me say that I am a believer in sharing information and encouraging people. There are so many people who helped me -- are STILL helping me -- and I want to return the favor.
What I cannot do is give someone a short cut. Sometimes folks don't want to hear the truth.
There were no fewer than two dozen young people -- under 30 -- who walked into my studio on Saturday and wanted a job, wanted an intership, wanted to know the secret of success, wanted to know why they couldn't sell their art, wanted to know --- well, you get the idea.
Don't be mistaken -- I'm not a art guru and I certainly don't look like I know the secrets of life. I was just there -- and apparently approachable. I was certainly happy to stop what I was doing to talk to them.
I was shocked by a number of things:
- Not one of these people was prepared with any information about themselves. A couple seemed put off when I suggested that they email me their resume and samples of their work.
- There was a lot of negativity in their attitudes: it's hard to break in, I don't have any money, no one will give me a chance. Did they mistake me for their mother or their girlfriend?
- They really didn't want to hear my answers.
- They wanted quick fixes.
Here's what I told each one of them:
- There is no quick way to life as an artist. You have to work at it. All the time.
- Get the education you can afford. Learn from everyone. Learn from everything.
- Teach what you know.
- Be willing to take chances.
- Show only your BEST work.
- Enter your best work in juried exhibits. Find out if you're really as good as you think you are.
- Don't be afraid of competition. There's always somebody who's better than you. Learn from them.
- Achieve the excellence you admire.
- You might not be able to have everything right now. There are decisions to make: cable or art supplies?
- Don't copy somebody's else's work or style. Find your own vision. Find your own voice.
- Come to grips with the fact that you might have to support yourself with other work while your art evolves.
- Don't assume you the world owes you any recognition. There are LOTS of talented people out there.
- Be responsible for your own success.
- Be grateful to people who help you.
- Be generous to people who need your help.
- It's ok to complain and gripe about how hard this is. My friends hear it from me all the time. But stop it there-- with friends. That's what they're for! To the rest of the world, show your confidence, and your willingness to work hard and take risks.
- Failure looks like failure. Success looks like success.