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‘What art-MAKING advice would your older-self give your younger-self?’

Senior Art Critic for New York Magazine Jerry Saltz posed an interesting question to fellow creators on Instagram:

What art-MAKING advice would your older-self give your younger-self? I’ll start with three.
1. Let go of being smart; don’t dismiss any idea as too dumb.
2. Bring the crazy.
3. Change the ways you use of making the same thing.

The advice in the replies blew me away. The common sentiment seems to be to push through CRAP (criticism, rejection, assholes, and pressure) and to keep making pieces true to the artist themselves. After all, the [easyazon_link identifier=”1936891026″ locale=”US” tag=”wells01-20″ cart=”y” popups=”y”]War of Art[/easyazon_link] is a war with your own inner dialogue.

  • 1) master the core skills and time honored rules of the old world painters. It will be boring but worth it. 2) Promptly forget the rules and routinely misuse the tools.3) Make YOUR art. Straight and unfiltered. 4) Don’t push so hard to sell. Let the art lead the way: it’ll find its own audience or not. 5) Stay curious about everything not just art and be bold. 6) Have a personal standard: make paintings that can stand on their own in the time honored tradition of painting. Many won’t know, you will.
  • mandelau 1. Be brave and fearless 2. Generously share what you’ve created with anyone who’s interested.
    3. Don’t listen to (or read) criticism about your own work…negative or positive
  • johandeckmann Trust your gut. But before that be able to feel your gut in the first place. Then act accordingly
  • the_lynne_avril Talk with the painting – it will tell you what to do.
  • didihoffman4 As Auguste Rodin told his protege Malvina Hoffman, the reason for art is to show truth in nature – to express in whatever form the universal truth He believed one should first be a master of technique and drawing – from there the artist would then have the ability to express in their own way. He didn’t really believe in a specific style. He wanted the artist to be true to self and to express only truth. He saw art as a very serious craft that should not be trivialized.
  • studiollondon 1 – you can’t trust your eyes if you’re imagination is out of focus – mark twain 2- comparing yourself to others and not trusting your ideas leads to unnecessary paralysis and creating crap because you’re not being true to yourself. 3- go with your initial instinct and work it out. You’ll know what feels right to you and what doesn’t to work out in the end.
  • wanderlustyes You don’t need more space. You can work in your closet. You need time alone. Don’t spend your time trying to get money to get more space. Allow yourself the luxury of being bored. Allow yourself the freedom of restriction. Do it over and over and over again.
  • rosettihnw 1. Get a good well paying job. 2.Raise a family and save your money for retirement. 3.Retire and paint your heart out.

That last comment reminds me of what Brian Eno said about art: “Art is everything you don’t have to do.” It also reminds me of Hugh Macleod’s ‘[easyazon_link identifier=”159184259X” locale=”US” tag=”wells01-20″ cart=”y” popups=”y”]sex and cash theory[/easyazon_link]’ which encourages artists not to leave their day job.

By Wells Baum

Wells Baum is a daily blogger who writes about Life & Arts. He's also the author of and four books.