Advice to young and old artists…but mostly the young ones.

  1. All art is an experiment. If you believe this then you are less likely to be afraid to change course in mid stream. Experimenting means taking chances, trying new things, letting go of what you know to find out what you don’t know. In other words, don’t love your art until it is done. Which leads me to the next point…
  2. Some artists create with a preconceived finished project. Some have a general idea and then allow the process to dictate exactly where it should go. Don’t be afraid to change your mind mid stroke. You can always go back and make the first idea again, but there is a certain magic that happens when you let the mind take a day off and just go with your gut. (This one comes from my amazing sister-in-law who just got her BFA and whose final project was voted Winner of ISC ‘s 2015 Outstanding Student Achievement In Contemporary Sculpture.
  3. Live. Just live life. Art comes from experience, from reading and thinking and loving and grieving and…
  4. Find your gang. (This comes from art critic Jerry Saltz) I would rephrase this slightly and tell you to find your tribe of mentors. Art is by definition a very insular activity. Most artists create by themselves. Balance this with connections that are meaningful.Which leads me to the next point…
  5. You will be different than most people in this country. Get used to it. Artists tend to see differently, hear differently, think differently. Most people have no frame of reference for this. But remember…they are your audience, the ones who may buy/watch/listen to what you have lovingly created. Find a way to connect with them somehow. Educate people when you can, love them always, then go back to creating.
  6. Being an artist is fun, being a good artist is work. (This comes from an amazing sculptor friend, Bart Walter). Yes, you can paint, write music/poetry/act/etc. Now you have to do the work to make your art better and put it out into the world. Write a CV, create a website, a portfolio, get headshots, go to auditions, take art/dance/acting/singing lessons, talk to the right people, research galleries, send letters of intent, reply to calls for entries (that all want different sized photographs or written samples), write a blog post, put yourself out onto social media, read about art, go to galleries/plays/concerts, get therapy, get a part-time job to pay the bills until you become famous…oh, wait, there is no guarantee you will be famous. The truth is the world does not owe you anything just because you are a talented artist. Some of the most talented artists don’t become successful. The ones who do, are willing to do the work after they shut the studio door. So do the work, and then do it again and again and again. It can take some time to build up a career but it also takes time to continue it. Don’t stop.

Okay, this is enough for now, I know there is more but my brain hurts. I leave you with another picture of the rust paintings that I have been playing with. (Here’s me doing my work…) These are from the “Oxidation Happens, Chaos” Series #1-3. You can see them at the open studio this weekend (December 5 and 6, 2015 from 10 to 5) along with all of my great outdoor sculptures. Go to for more info and a map of all the other participating artists in the Carroll County (MD) Artists’ Studio Tour.


2 thoughts on “advice

  1. What wonderful advice! I will return to this as I have set aside time in the new year for more creativity which I have missed very much in the past few months. What is key for me, and you stress it here, is allowing myself to experiment and play. I will share this on twitter.

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