Franz Kafka, frustrated with his living quarters and day job, wrote in a letter to Felice Bauer in 1912, “time is short, my strength is limited, the office is a horror, the apartment is noisy, and if a pleasant, straightforward life is not possible then one must try to wriggle through by subtle maneuvers.”
“Let us not kid ourselves,” Professor Vladimir Nabokov reminds us. “Let us remember that literature is of no practical value whatsoever. … ” But practical value isn’t the only kind of value. Ours is a mixed economy, with the gift economy of the arts existing (if not exactly flourishing) within the inhospitable conditions of a market economy, like the fragile black market in human decency that keeps civilization going despite the pitiless dictates of self-interest.
From the time she was young, she knew that writers didn’t make very much money, so she sat down and made a list of all the things in life she would never be able to have — a nice car, fancy clothes, and eating out at expensive restaurants were all on the list. But young Mary decided she wanted to be a poet anyway.
“I was very careful never to take an interesting job. Not an interesting one. I took lots of jobs. But if you have an interesting job you get interested in it. I also began in those years to keep early hours. […] If anybody has a job and starts at 9, there’s no reason why they can’t get up at 4:30 or five and write for a couple of hours, and give their employers their second-best effort of the day — which is what I did.”
Do what you love, it is going to lead to where you want to go.
1. Stop hurrying, quantity is nothing, well, something, but not the be all end all.
2. Be true to yourself.
3. Don’t take no for an answer.
4. The one. the only, Patti Smith Laying it down:
5. artists are mercenaries
6. We need to not look out to the corporatists for validation.
7. Have Fun!
8. No one wants to hear it but, get a job. Then quit it real soon, repeat. Just do’t get to “good” of a job that it takes you away from your real work.
9. This article should be required reading for art student http://www.theverge.com/2012/10/9/3408030/mark-pauline-spine-robot-machines-robots-terrorism-as-art
10. Chris Hedges
We may feel, in the face of the ruthless corporate destruction of our nation, our culture, and our ecosystem, powerless and weak. But we are not. We have a power that terrifies the corporate state. Any act of rebellion, no matter how few people show up or how heavily it is censored by a media that caters to the needs and profits of corporations, chips away at corporate power. Any act of rebellion keeps alive the embers for larger movements that follow us. It passes on another narrative. It will, as the rot of the state consumes itself, attract wider and wider numbers. Perhaps this will not happen in our lifetimes. But if we persist we will keep this possibility alive. If we do not, it will die.
11. You know you are on the right path when you will pay to do your work. To make your art. Write your prose.
12. Do you think those Banksters would have worked at a coffee shop, construction work or waiter so that at night and on weekends they could destroy the world economy for free? That is what makes art so powerful, threatening and confusing to non artists and especially politicians. We have found our passion and will pay to do it. The only reason most people”work” is for money. Period.
13. Know thyself and Persevere, for it is a marathon, not a sprint.
14. Be at peace not having a day job. It is ok, you don’t need insurance or “security”. Part of becoming an artist is to be free, not a slave. A half full glass is just fine.
15. Educate yourself in all the arts, for the rest of your life. Know your history or you are destined to repeat it.
16. Look for art, be proactive, the really mind-blowing stuff you have to root out.
It is just like politics, you have to engage for something to happen. Just like
exhibiting your work: engage with the public.
Work on YOUR work everysingle day, even if it is just a sketch or reading
17. Practice your practice, experiment. Over and over.
18. D.I.Y. no one is going to do it for you.
19.Don’t expect to get in the Whitney Biennial, it most likely isn’t going to happen.
20. So now what? Book your own shows, open your own space. Noonewas giving
the Dadaists or Surrealists shows either.
21. 3 people are a movement. Show with your friends. Start your own scene.
Show your work in your kitchen and basement and back yard. Buy some food
and drinks. Share.
You are art History
22. Make the art you want to see.
23. You are a foundation block of culture. It takes a lot of blocks. Every block holds
up the wall. At some point you MAY get to be a block on top of
the wall and get a great view, but it probably will not last. That is OK, there
are 2nd acts.
24. It takes all of the blocks so the one person gets the show at MOMA.
25. Stop with the excuses, if you have no money make art from whatever you
can scavenge. No time? work nights and weekends, don’t go out so much,
at least until you get that next project finished.
26. We should be taught not to wait for inspiration to start a thing. Action
always generates inspiration. Inspiration seldom generates action.
– Frank Tibolt
27. Art Makes You Think, Redefine, Recategorize, Reassess,
Recontextualize, & Reevaluate. Art Changes the Way You Look
at the World. Art Changes the Way you Draw Boundaries, the
way you Frame “Reality.” So does WikiLeaks.
28. Playing for a bigger cause.
29. Genius or talent, most of us have talent, use it.
30. Art is our own private languages we make up, like buzzing cicada’s or tweeting
31. Save things and save them for later. Carry around a sketchpad. Write in your
books. Tear things out of magazines and collage them in your scrapbook.
32. As Burroughs said, the old wily power-and-control addicts live by the principle of “Whatever you’re forced to give, snatch it back as quickly as you can…
Don’t play the victim and don’t be passive with culture.
33. Nobody can contribute to the best of humanity who does not make the best out of himself. – Johann Gottfried Herder
34. Birds may be the only vertebrates that continue to produce new brain cells after they are mature. Experts think that’s why a canary has to learn a new mating song every year.
35. “In science one tries to tell people, in such a way as to be understood by everyone, something that no one ever knew before. In poetry, it’s the exact opposite.” – Paul Dirac
36. Madeleine L’Engle said, “You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.”
Robert Barnes: There’s no suffering involved in a work of art. But maybe realizing that you’re stupid is suffering.
38. “When painting becomes so low that laymen talk about it, it doesn’t interest me. Do we dare to talk about mathematics? No! Painting shouldn’t become a fashionable thing. And money, money, money comes in and it becomes a Wall Street affair.” – Marcel Duchamp, The New Yorker, 1957
39. “I don’t believe in the sacred mission of the painter. My attitude toward art is that of an atheist toward religion. I would rather be shot, kill myself, or kill somebody else, than paint again. Anyway, I quit long ago, and took up chess. – Marcel Duchamp, The New Yorker, 1942
40. The price one pays for pursuing any profession or calling is an intimate knowledge of its ugly side.
– James Baldwin
41. what would you do for free?
is it art?
if it isn’t, you are in the wrong field.
42. I always thought if we could choose where our tax dollars go, little to none would go to the military and a lot lot more would go to the arts. A proposal like this works that way in a sense. A society gets what it invests in. Investing in art is proven to get up to 10 times more than what you put into it; artists are used to stretching out a dollar, we make a little bit go a long way.
43. In The $12 Million Stuffed Shark, Dan Thompson gives a thumbnail sketch of the art world by the numbers: He estimates there are 80,000 artists in the art capitals of New York and London; of these, about 75 are “superstar artists with seven-figure incomes”; about 300 more are “mature, successful artists who show with major galleries and earn six-figure incomes from art.” Below that, even artists who are showing are not really making a living off their artwork.
The notion that the commercial art world stands on its own is just another myth bequeathed to us by the art bubble. For the vast majority of artists, small nonprofits, government grants, teaching positions and encouraging curators at regional and local museums form part of the indispensible support network that allows them to sustain a creative practice. Without these, some will drop out, or will not find space to do things that aren’t already market-tested, and the pool of talent that the commercial section feeds on will contract. Robust public support is part of what makes a vibrant arts scene.
44. nobody ever changed doing what they always do
45. trying to win is the best way to lose
46. Part of it has to do with the fact that we are product driven society, a one layered society in terms of consciousness. That people value the product but not the dignity of the work is indicative of alot of our other problems. It’s a kind of vanity, and a miopic disconnection to where things come from, which we are all painfully and helplessly … Also, it was proven along time ago that there is a powerful connection between art and learning, which has been the corner stone of the argument for why art should be taught from the very beginning. If art history was required, it would be a no brainer that actual human beings who need to eat and have a roof over their head labored to bring it into being, but Americans, on the whole are rather blunt at the edges.
47. Exorcism is necessary when the guilt has come in and you want to forget about it. You want to forget about certain experiences because they are forbidden. Sculpture needs so much physical involvement that you can rid yourself of demons through your sculpting. Drawing doesn’t have that pretension. Drawing is just a little help.
SOME RANDOM QUOTES I HAVE STUMBLED UPON:
48. “Now you will be virtually unemployable…, you have an art degree.”
49. The big names that always get mentioned are just the ones who hit it big, however, they must have tapped into some zeitgeist in order for their work to get traction.
50. “The art market is not really a market; it’s too small to qualify as one. If it is a market, it’s… More a of market of uniques. Therefore, there is no true comparability between prices. Finally, it’s a market of Geffen goods which is what gives it such strange characteristics.
Geffen was an economist who said that there are certain goods that will disobey the basic laws of supply and demand, that when the price drops to a certain level, instead of demand rising, demand will suddenly drop. As the price drops demand will drop, so there is a cliff in the supply and demand curve at some critical price level.”
51. “Art is less a market than it is a by-product of human consciousness; it’s linked to the general prosperity of the society or civilization as a whole. (Any good economist) will tell you that this little market is driven by basic economic prosperity.”
52. One comes to the conclusion that one’s a compulsive creator.
53. Try hard, then try harder, and then try again.
54. artists are mercenaries
55. If you’re not enjoying it, you’re doing something wrong.
56. You can’t really teach this shit.
57. “At the beginning of the life of an artist,” he said, “there is often a trauma, and for me the trauma was hearing always that everything was very dangerous.”
“The only way to fight dying is through legacy,”
58. Most artists don’t hit their stride until their mid-30’s, you just aren’t that good until then. It takes years of practice, honing your skill set, building up support and a community, proving that you will follow through. working through a lot of problems, issues, ideas and bodies of work.
59. Share your knowledge. It’s a way to achieve immortality.
60. To teach is to learn twice. – Joseph Joubert
61. The educated person is someone who knows how to find out what he doesn’t know. – Georg Simmel
62. He who waits to do a great deal of good at once, will never do anything. – Johnson, 1709-1784
63. We should be taught not to wait for inspiration to start a thing. Action always generates inspiration. Inspiration seldom generates action. – Frank Tibolt
64. Teachers open the door… You enter by yourself.- unknown
65. You cease to be afraid when you cease to hope; for hope is accompanied by fear. – Lucius Annaeus Seneca
66. The shrewd guess, the fertile hypothesis, the courageous leap to a tentative conclusion – these are the most valuable coin of the thinker at work. But in most schools guessing is heavily penalized and is associated somehow with laziness. – Jerome S. Bruner
67. I submit to you that what we now call education in the arts is not an ornament, or a decoration, or a beauty, or a nice thing to do with learning, but that it resides at the center of the process of learning. Biologically, genetically, at the basis of our capacity to learn is our instinct to make art. Arts is deeply at the root of our intelligence and our capacity to learn. -Robert Pinksy
68. We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time. -T.S. Eliot
69. Against the ruin of the world, there is only one defense the creative act. -Kenneth Rexroth
70. In the dark times will there also be singing? Yes, there will be singing about the dark times. -Bertolt Brecht
71. We see things not as they are, we see things the way we are. -Anais Nin
72. Art is nothing if not teaching, for it teaches us, in various ways on various levels, about nature, about ideas, about ourselves, and about itself. -Robert Grudin
73. If you asked me what I came into this world to do, I will tell you, I came to live out loud. -Emile Zola
74. I firmly believe in experimental art is the most relevant artform in 2005.
75. Technology is the infinite medium, forever infinitely evolving.
76. You have to at least trying to be inventive when making art.
77. You never know where something will take you. -Kal Spelletich
78. It takes tens of thousands of artists all toiling away, then, BAM!
One gets picked.
This one person get the shows, the sales, the attention.
Does this discredit the other 99,000?
Of course not.
I would even argue it takes all 99,000 to produce the 1 who “makes it”.
79. It is a cumulative effect thing.
We are all climbing the mountain together, trying to reach/communicate some higher state.
None of us work in a vacuum. It all builds on each other.
All art needs support and respect. More support and respect, more people who “make it”.
80. Look at Herman Melville, who wrote arguably the greatest piece of American literature ever, Moby Dick.
It got no real recognition until almost 90 years after it was first published.
81. Never compare yourself to other artists.
82. never expect your family to understand you or give you support
83. Do not base the success of your entire career on one project.
84. Experiment and try new things, work with new people.
85. Value your experience and expertise.
86. Do not let money dictate what you do.
87. DO not let society pressure you
88. Do not be afraid to make work that would scare, shame or humiliate your family
89. Do not do whatever people with money are asking.
90. Do not let your goals be unachievable,
91. Re-asses goals regularly,
92. Someone else’s accomplishments are not yours to accomplish
94. “Becoming a writer is not a ‘career decision’ like becoming a doctor or a policeman. You don’t choose it so much as get chosen, and once you accept the fact that you’re not fit for anything else, you have to be prepared to walk a long, hard road for the rest of your days.” Paul Auster,
95. Don’t get the credit cards/go in debt.
96. Wait to have kids
97. Wait to get married, 3 things easy to get into, VERY hard to get out of. Since most artists are crazy you kiddin yourself you are going to have some ideal marriage from the suburbs.
98. Follow your heart..
99. Find a good job or skill away from your art
100. Book your own shows, don’t count on the galleries or museums for validation or income.
101. Get involved in a group/community-do group shows.
102. Accept change in your work and life
103. Enjoy the journey!
104. Work on several pieces at once so when you get stuck you can jump over to the next hence less down time.
Ask for help.
Learn to collaborate.
Each piece you make, make it like it is the last piece you are going to build, your final statement.
CAREFUL OF DRUGS AND ALCOHOL.
Keep a studio or workspace, Think about or do art every single day. In your basement, closet, your bedroom, keep a table just for art.
Art is the perfect field as an example for people who are determined to follow their own paths, regardless, and you do it at the risk of your life, against all suggestions and ridicule from society
“The secret to being a artist is that you have to make. It’s not enough to think about making or to study or plan a future life as an artist. You really have to lock yourself away, alone, and get to work.”
What would I like about this work if I were someone who liked it?
Life is short, art long, opportunity fleeting, experience treacherous, judgment difficult
If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.
– Eldridge Cleaver
We all know it isn’t human to be perfect, and too many of us take advantage of it.
Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.
|A LETTER EXCHANGE WITH A WRITER ON AND ABOUT THE SAN FRANCISCO SCENE AND THE MISSION SCHOOL;Sure you can quote me on the record.ha ha!”schools”
a posse that feeds off of each other or has a common philosophy or goalscott williams
are two spectacular mission artists who have been around for over 25
years each but were never allowed into the gang/school/club.It was the ones who could sell their work that got in no?
Hell, i dunno, i always tell the youngsters and my students, 2 or 3
people are a movement, get your posse together, you will need them! So
The skull and bones club?
I am sometimes included in the San Francisco machine art/robot scene
All in all i suppose it is good to try and identify movements and
“I don’t care to belong to any club that will have me as a member”
hell, try anything, jerry seinfeld is productive and creative!;
ALL THE BEST