When I was a kid and people asked me what I wanted to be, I always said ‘artist’ or ‘writer’. I was going to travel and paint beautiful landscape paintings. I was going to write a series of novels that was at least as successful as Harry Potter. My parents encouraged creative pursuits as a form of relaxation and fun, but gently nudged me away from the idea of the arts as a career. (“Painters only get famous once they’re dead,” my mother told me once, only half joking.) I’ve since done the conventional uni-degree-as-a-backup-plan thing, and while I enjoy learning about my field, the desire to be an artist of some kind has always fizzed away in the back of my mind. As my forcible ejection from the cocoon of higher education and entry into the ‘real world’ of work draws ever closer, I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to be an artist.
I thought I’d share some articles, books and videos that I’ve been saving up: things that have helped me think more deeply about inspiration, the creative process, overcoming your own roadblocks, art as a business and all that good stuff. Whether or not you’re thinking about getting serious with your art, I hope these ideas will benefit you in some way.
- An ace motivational pep talk from Danielle Krysa (aka The Jealous Curator) on ignoring your inner critic and getting motivated:: here
- Ira Glass explains ‘the gap’ and why you feel like your art isn’t good enough:: here
- Illustrator Holly Exley responds to that age old question: should I work for free? :: here (check out the rest of Holly’s videos too – she is lovely and full of good advice)
- Fran Meneses is another good egg with good advice. I like her video about creativity and motivation:: here (have a poke around her other videos too!)
- 50 things every creative should know:: here
- Some young artists at Rookie have an eye-opening conversation about digital promotion, money vs passion, and more:: here
- Justin Heazlewood’s book Funemployed is the ultimate resource if you’re an Australian creative-type looking to go pro. It covers all sorts of things like getting a manager, promoting yourself, dealing with setbacks, and all the highs and lows you might experience in your career. It’s also very, very funny in a self-deprecating kind of way.
- And finally – I really love Brodie Lancaster‘s Rule of Three for taking on freelance work:: here (near the bottom, but read the whole thing!)
What do you reckon? Good advice, no?
If you’ve read or watched anything cool/useful on a similar topic I’d love to see it! Let me know!